Remember last year’s “Great Resignation,” when many employees optimistically left their jobs in search of greener pastures?
Times have changed a bit, and fewer employees are willing to take the risk of quitting a stable job outright. However, they may be engaging in a trend known as “quiet quitting.” This passive attitude toward work can damage your business, and you want to be able to recognize and address it before it becomes a big problem.
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting is an idea that has spread on social media that encourages employees to put in a bare minimum of time and effort to get their jobs done and fulfill their “on paper” job description. Quiet quitters are said to be “psychologically detached” from their jobs and likely looking for other work.
Employers suffer the effects because most jobs do require some level of extra effort in order to meet business and customer demands. Employers bear the costs of lower productivity. Some estimates put the cost of a single disengaged employee at 34% of their salary — meaning a disengaged employee earning $50,000 could cost their employer $17,000.
Signs of quiet quitting
While overall apathy and disconnection are the common threads among quiet quitters, experts suggest keeping an eye out for:
- Disengagement during meetings, including lack of interest or participation in virtual meetings
- Acting withdrawn and not sharing ideas and opinions with others
- Productivity or performance that is lower than past achievements or benchmarks
- Unexplained absences
Taking an active role
Quiet quitting can result from isolation, which often occurs in remote work. Experts note that every organization needs a culture in which people feel engaged and appreciated and like they belong.
Here are a few ideas for improving employee engagement and getting ahead of quiet quitting:
- Have one-on-one conversations with employees regularly. Having at least one conversation per week with each team member puts managers in a unique position to know employees as individuals and what matters to them.
- Define and recognize responsibilities and duties. Employees who have taken on significant new responsibilities without additional compensation, recognition or a defined path for promotion may feel demoralized.
- Help employees envision a future with the company. Ask them what they need and embrace tough conversations. Experts have noted that Generation Z has different motivating factors than prior generations. The concepts of ‘hustle culture’ and ‘daily grind’ are losing appeal with the next generation of workers.
- Emphasize purpose and enjoyment. Consider creating a company mission or values statement that creates a sense of community among employees.