The latest trend isn’t exactly new - and here’s what you can do about it
The workplace has seen almost unprecedented churn in the last few years, which has been described as a Great Resignation or a Great Reshuffle. Whatever you call it, the data is clear: A record-setting number of people are leaving their jobs.
That’s just the beginning. Now there’s a new expression to help explain the phenomenon of people who may not physically leave their jobs, but mentally they are checked out. Enter “quiet quitting,” the term that’s everywhere.
What is quiet quitting?
According to Google Trends, the phrase quiet quitting entered the lexicon near the end of summer 2022. After emerging from TikTok, you can’t spend a few seconds on LinkedIn without seeing a post, think piece or debate about the merits or backlash to quiet quitting.
So what is it? In many ways, quiet quitting is simply a new term for an age-old phenomenon. In the past, we’ve seen a mindset among workers we called “quit and stay” or “on the job retirement.” It represents a continuum of behavior – this could mean simply putting up boundaries at work and refusing to pad extra hours during nights and weekends, or it could mean being uninspired, unengaged and resistant to responsibility at work.
It’s hard to say if quiet quitting means more workers are dissatisfied than in the past. Today, 21% of working Americans describe themselves as quiet quitters, according to a ResumeBuilder.com survey of 1,000 workers.
At the same time, the stresses, inequalities and injustices that have come to light far too often in the workplace over the last few years have taken a toll, leaving behind disillusionment. It’s enough to make many workers say “I QUIT,” even just in their own heads.
Is quiet quitting right for some employees?
Despite the dramatic name, the definition of quiet quitting may just mean healthy boundaries. It could mean quit checking your work email during family time, or quit spending sleepless nights worrying what the boss will think of your presentation, or quit stressing that you’re not putting in enough hours beyond what you’re paid to do. The term originally meant not subscribing to the “hustle culture” that felt expected in some industries.
In fact, we’ve sometimes counseled employees to “quit” working 60-hour weeks in a toxic environment. That could mean spending outside working hours looking and preparing for another job, until you’re in a position to actually quit.
What can employers do about quiet quitting?
Because quiet quitting is a new term for an old problem, many of the tried-and-true methods of engaging workers can help prevent workers from mentally checking out. True leadership holds the key to preventing and fixing quiet quitting in your organization.
Living As A Leader skill development equips leaders with proven ways to engage their workforce, including 1-on-1s, balancing accountability with inspiration, catching their team doing things right, and above all, leading with empathy and humanity.
Effective leaders know when things aren’t working for their team and see when frustrations or disengagement start to mount. That’s when a change is needed. In these cases, quitting the old way of doing things can be the start of a rejuvenating fresh start.
At Living As A Leader, we offer a Leadership Development Series designed to produce leaders that can positively shape the cultural environment, reduce turnover and effectively support crucial business initiatives. We do this by providing training, coaching and consulting with a focus on pragmatic communication tools for leaders at all levels of your organization.
For more information, contact Aleta Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org or find a 15-minute slot on her calendar HERE.