Quiet Quitting: A New Term For an Age-old Problem

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 16 November 2022
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered: Quiet Quitting; Work Culture; Employee Engagement

Following the pandemic and in the wake of the great resignation, a new phenomenon known as “quiet quitting” has perched itself firmly in our line of vision. “Quiet quitters” refers to employees sitting back and doing the bare minimum, never going above and beyond at work and just about meeting the requirements of their role descriptions. While the term itself may feel new, it is in essence a new name for an old problem: disengagement. No small issue according to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report which reported that disengaged employees came at a global cost of €7.8 trillion in lost productivity annually.

In a time where attraction and retention of the right people is becoming increasingly difficult, it is easy to understand why quiet quitting is troubling leaders.  Below are some steps you can take to overcome quiet quitting and to re-engage your teams:

Establish healthy workplace boundaries

We know that employees want meaningful work while maintaining healthy boundaries so provided your employees are not required to work particular hours such as in customer facing roles, allow them to select the working hours that are best for them. Respect their chosen hours, organise meetings within these timeframes and limit outreach accordingly. As an employer, it is not only important you continue to stick to those boundaries but that you empower your employees to do the same.

Create a Culture of Feedback

Check in with your employees regularly—but not only as a performative measure or when there is potential for punitive action. Take your employees feedback on board and ensure you put it into action. If you’re unsure about what your employees are asking for, seek clarity. By connecting with your teams and building stronger relationships, you’re more likely to improve retention and empower your employees with the tools to succeed. 

Follow Through on your Promises

In the wake of the Great Resignation, many workplaces are reconsidering their priorities and employer value proposition and areas such as wellbeing have made their way to the forefront. With a new set of promises in place, many employees and job candidates have felt renewed hope and optimism about what their workplace could provide: flexibility, an inspiring mission and managers who genuinely care about their wellbeing.

But when promises aren’t aligned with reality, problems begin to occur. If employees perceive workplace promises a falsehood, it is only a matter of time before your once hopeful colleagues become discouraged and even resentful. Experiences must follow brand promises and these are born of culture. You will only get the best out of your people if what you are selling to them is an authentic and accurate representation of who you really are. A convincing advertising campaign may get talent in the door, but the only way to engage and retain employees is with a culture and employee experience that consistently lives up to expectations.

Create a Sense of Purpose

In the recent Deloitte 2022 Gen Z and Millenial Survey ; Striving for balance, advocating for change, one of the key messages was that the younger generation have a real desire for purpose in their work, not just a stable job with a good pay check. For both Gen-Z and millennials, there was a direct correlation between job loyalty and the respondent's level of satisfaction with the company's commitment to societal impact, diversity and inclusion and sustainability so to ensure adequate engagement you may need to consider what ideas you need to implement for the highest good and not just for your bottom line.

Promote Healthy Engagement over Hustle Culture

Hustle culture has been glamourised thanks to social media but it is important to dissuade a culture of competition or praise simply for those who worked the longest hours or with the busiest calendar. Healthy engagement means your employees are able to balance their work responsibilities against what’s necessary for them to live their healthiest and most positive lives.

Someone being busy doesn’t necessarily mean that the desired organisational results are being achieved and it is for this reason many organisations are moving to become outcome focussed rather than being led by hours. To achieve a healthier balance, it is necessary to start a dialogue around the outcomes and goals that you want to achieve and to map links between current activities and your mission and goals; subsequently, aligning and deploying the workforce against the right set of priorities.

Establishing that your team understand how their day-to-day activities are directly contributing to the success of the organisation and encouraging staff to consciously connect the dots between their priorities and overall organisational outcomes can stimulate innovative and autonomous thinking. In addition, enabling your workforce to see how their day-to-day activities are positively contributing to organisational success can boost engagement and morale and ensures you are not complicit in creating a “quiet quitters” team by overwhelming your teams to deliver metrics that aren’t fully aligned to your organisational goals.

If you are an organisation based in the Republic of Ireland and require further information or advice relating to HR, please do not hesitate to contact the HR Suite office on (066)7102887 or by email at info@thehrsuite.com.

This article is correct at 16/11/2022

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline Reidy. Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuite.com

View all articles by Caroline Reidy