By now we have all heard of the latest trend sweeping across social media platforms – ‘quiet quitting’; a movement that encourages one to simply meet the expectations of their job without going above and beyond. It is a concept that encourages people to rethink how they show up to work and why they subscribe to the hustle culture mentality that work creates. Quiet quitting means you can take back your power in the workplace, by doing what is required of you and no more. Turning up to work on time, leaving on time, and in some respects doing the bare minimum.
Like most things, there’s pros and cons to embracing this concept. In effect, you can minimise the physical and mental load work has on your life and maximize or enrich your life outside of work. It’s a good reminder that we are humans first, and employees second. And in the pressure cooker environment of covid and lockdown over the last few years, people are, rightly so, breaking out of the shackles. There’s more travel on the agenda, more focus on living life, catching up with loved ones. The time is right for work to take a back seat and for people to turn down the constant hustle of work demands. Gone are the days when people are made to feel grateful for being in a job, there’s plenty of jobs around and the power has shifted with employers feeling grateful for good talent.
It could be argued that those hit with the negative implications of quiet quitting are the employers or the businesses themselves. With a workforce of people doing bare minimum, the business itself will simply tick along, rather than thrive and flourish. But what about the individuals within the business? What happens to their overall fulfilment of a job well done if they are treating work purely as a transactional arrangement, and just doing what needs to be done? Without going above and beyond, is there any sense of accomplishment? Does quiet quitting allow room for really throwing yourself into a job, thinking outside the box, thinking of new ideas, creating new opportunities. How does creativity and idea generation fit into the mix if someone doesn’t want to offer anything more of themselves than what is outlined in their work contract? And how fulfilled are employees going to be with such a limited perspective on work and what can they get out of work?
How are leaders meant to deal with staff who may be embracing quiet quitting?
Having overperformers suddenly taking a step back can have a big impact on leaders trying to effectively manage a team and keep morale and productivity high. Now, more so than ever leaders need to be aware that staff, particularly younger generations, don’t see working overtime as a badge of honour. They don’t want to feel burned out. They don’t see the workplace as defining who they are in the world. If they put in extra time they want compensation, and they want to live their lives to the max outside of the workplace. Here are a few things leaders can do to manage quiet quitting, in an effort to increase employee satisfaction and build a better work culture;
- Don’t expect staff to work on the weekend. Refrain from sending emails on the weekend and keep work strictly to Monday to Friday. Many managers I know sends emails on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon in an effort to get themselves ready for Monday and so employees will have work outlined in their inbox for first thing Monday morning. With technology today and a culture of 24/7 availability, employees will see those emails and texts on their weekend. All it does is risk eliciting feelings of resentment, stress and anxiety. So save your communications for Monday morning and let people have their weekends to fully switch off.
- Improve your rewards and recognition. As the cost of living goes up and up and interest rates continue to go up, there’s never been a better time to offer better pay and promotions. If it’s warranted, consider giving your good performers a pay rise or promotion or both. Employees who feel recognised and valued are happier and more engaged.
- Cut out unnecessary meetings. Meetings take up a lot of time and often keep people away from doing their actual work. Consider keeping meetings to a minimum, only inviting necessary attendees and better managing meeting agendas so they go for longer than they need to. Long meetings are demotivating and can build resentment. Give people back a few extra hours in their day to get their work done so they can leave on time.
- Keep your ear to the ground. There is the risk of a workplace becoming toxic if you have someone who is quiet quitting and spreading negativity and disharmony throughout the team. Quiet quitting could impact those people who would otherwise want to go above and beyond in the work they do. Managers need to keep their ears close to the ground and weed out negative and toxic behaviour that is impacting overall productivity and morale.
- Keep people engaged by connecting them to the high purpose. Remind people often that they are making an impact. Remind them often of the greater purpose of their work and the good they are doing. Keep the stories alive about the higher purpose of the business and the good it does for the community or the world.
Do you have someone in your team who is ‘quiet quitting’? How are you handling it? I’d love to hear. Get in touch today, I’d love to help your leadership team get back in sync and keep everyone within your business engaged and thriving.