Until recently, many of us had never heard the words quiet and quitting used concurrently. However, while the term “quiet quitting” may be relatively new, the actions and attitudes of employees engaging in this newly coined buzzword are not.
So, what exactly is quiet quitting? That depends on who you ask. But at its core, quiet quitting is used to describe employees who are only engaging in what is absolutely necessary. This means they are doing the minimum requirements of their specific job description, no longer putting in extra time, effort, or enthusiasm. In brief, quiet quitting is the general refusal to go above and beyond.
And right now, there appears to be a whole lot of quiet quitting going on in the workforce. In fact, a Gallup survey found that half of the U.S. workforce met the polling company’s description of quiet quitting – meaning they identified as being “not engaged” at work. And having a workforce that is disengaged and unenthusiastic about the work that they’re doing does not bode well for employers.
Following are steps employers can take to ensure they’re doing everything in their power to get ahead of quiet quitting within their organizations – and how 24 Seven can help.
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QUIET QUITTING AND BURNOUT
When we dig deeper into the quiet quitting phenomenon and why some workers say they’re engaging in this behavior, we quickly see a common thread, and that thread is intertwined with what we know about employee burnout. This includes heavy workloads, a lack of clarity around one’s role, poor communication, feeling unappreciated, and a lack of adequate support from management.
But is quiet quitting just a sign of employee burnout or a result of it? Either way, it’s highly problematic for a company’s productivity, morale, and overall organizational culture.
Managers should look for the following signs of potential quiet quitting:
Isolation from other team members
Withdrawn or absent from any voluntary conversations, activities, or tasks
Attends meetings but doesn’t engage or speak up
No longer willing to help with extra work not explicitly detailed in their job description or contract
HOW TO DEAL WITH QUIET QUITTING
If you sense that quiet quitting may be something already playing out or looming within your teams, it’s important to act sooner than later.
Employers should be on the lookout for clues that employees are unhappy, unsatisfied, or on the road to burnout. And if and when they begin to notice any potential warning signs, they should commit to creating an open dialogue with the employee to get to the root of the dissatisfaction, discord, or disengagement, and brainstorm potential adjustments or solutions.
However, it should be noted that employers should avoid rewarding a bad attitude. If an employee’s disengagement is putting an unfair burden on other team members, that may merit a different conversation altogether.
But if what you’re seeing is still in the early stages, consider the following strategies to help re-engage your employees.
Encourage communication by listening (and then taking action): Creating an environment where your employees feel safe speaking up will help ensure that they voice concerns before small challenges and frustrations turn into larger problems. Listen to your team members, understand their motivations, and what drives engagement. And use those insights to make changes where possible, whether it be providing training and advancement opportunities or working with a specialized freelance recruitment agency like 24 Seven to bring aboard temporary professionals during crunch times and busy seasons.
Redefine core job tasks when possible: Some gradual expansion of an employee’s core duties over time is common, but managers should periodically reexamine workloads and clearly communicate which work is necessary and what qualifies as “extra.” And from there, consider if a title change and/or salary bump is reasonable.
Establish boundaries that prioritize work-life balance: One idea around quiet quitting was about employees setting firm boundaries to establish clear breaks between their workday and their lives outside of work. Managers should take an active role in establishing those workplace boundaries and ensuring that hours and schedules set are honored.
According to our 2022 Talent Retention Report, 92% of those surveyed said they wanted more control over when and where they work, so employers who extend more flexible working arrangements to employees might find that they’re earning higher marks for prioritizing that work-life balance.
While going above and beyond may come at some cost to employees at times, in a positive work environment, those costs can be balanced by receiving other benefits and perks that meaningfully aid and enhance overall work-life balance. And don’t underestimate the power of regular communication and frequent appreciation.
The bottom line: Employers committed to prioritizing retention and preventing burnout are one step ahead in the battle against quiet quitting.
HOW 24 SEVEN CAN HELP
While we can’t help you directly manage your teams, the specialized recruiters at 24 Seven can help you with your staffing or productivity pain points. Whether you need temporary or short-term freelancers to help lighten your internal teams' load or you need full-time staff to fill specific gaps, our team has access to a wide array of highly skilled professionals in the marketing, creative, digital, fashion, beauty, and retail sectors.
Contact a recruiter today to see how we can help you with your staffing needs.