The concept of quiet quitting is a term that has been resonating with many people in recent months. But this trend has been inadvertently forged for years.
But what is quiet quitting? Silent resignation consists of employees doing only and exclusively the tasks that are strictly defined in their contract. That is, these employees do their job, but they don’t go above and beyond, they don’t volunteer for extra work, and they don’t take on roles that they aren’t paid for.
This behaviour is not illegal, they do their job, but they do not get involved in the company, nor in the goals, nor in proposals to improve productivity or processes, nor do they do overtime, or offer any extra effort. In short, this behaviour sets boundaries within the company.
To better define this concept, these would be some of the actions that can be classed as quiet quitting.
- Do not do tasks that are outside their job description.
- Do not respond to e-mails or messages outside working hours.
- Leave work at the indicated time.
- Being less emotionally involved. In other words, do not participate in activities with colleagues or extra company activities.
- Not making efforts to exceed employers’ expectations.
- Reduced interest in going above and beyond to secure a promotion in the company.
Does quiet quitting affect all employees equally?
We don’t all react the same to the same situation, and quiet quitting is no exception. But this trend seems to particularly affect members of Generation Z. These young people tend to be more educated than previous generations, many have not worked until they graduate, and have grown up during a severe economic crisis, and an unprecedented pandemic, which makes them less likely to be enthusiastic about regular extra work.
Unlike boomers and millennials who were raised to think that with effort and hard work they could achieve professional and personal stability, this generation is more focused on living in the present and life experiences outside of their employment.
However, it should also be noted that employees who were once extremely committed and delivered to the company may also become disenchanted and reduce their delivery, also joining the quiet quitting wave.
If you have an account on TikTok, Gen Z’s favourite social network, you’ll see that this topic is trending with thousands of videos using the hashtag #quietquitting.
What are the reasons why employees only do what is strictly stated in their job definition?
This propensity for quiet quitting may have gone unnoticed until now, after all, the reasons why some employees have this disengagement can be very personal:
- Job burnout: if, in addition to doing the established work, the rule is that you always have to try to excel, propose projects, and lead improvements; it can be exhausting for the worker, which can lead to work fatigue, stress, and health problems.
- The lack of balance between work and personal life: in which their work-life invades their personal life, and they tend to put the interests of the company before the personal. This could result in frustration, dissatisfaction, and resentment.
- The view that the salary is low and does not correspond to the effort and commitment that the employee gives to the company is another cause of dissatisfaction.
- The perception that managers do not express appreciation for the work and performance of employees.
How can companies decrease quiet quitting?
In summary, it appears that the most common reasons employees initiate the quiet quitting mentality are work-life balance, low pay, lack of opportunities for advancement, treatment at the company, and feeling unappreciated. It sounds terribly negative, but companies can anticipate and avoid these feelings.
- The first and most important point is to listen to the employees. Everyone will have different reasons for not being 100% committed, so there is no one size fits all solution. You have to listen to the unique needs of each one and adapt. The human resources department should lead this initiative and thus prevent this situation.
- Plan work and allocate resources efficiently: If emergencies are the norm and employees have to work overtime on a regular basis due to poor planning, employees end up having to solve these issues with extra constant effort. The need to hire more employees or have a clear compensation policy for overtime must be evaluated and clearly communicated.
- Appropriate wages: It is vital to ensure that your employees’ wages are on par with market rates, cost of living and current workloads. Compensation should be reviewed at least once a year, and managers can also provide recognition, perks, and non-monetary benefits. Another recommendation is to have a professional progression plan, which marks the salary increase according to the employee’s progress in the role and the company.
- Facilitate work and family reconciliation: flexible working hours with respect to their schedule, reduction of working hours, combining studies and work…
- Respect the time of employees: when the workday is over, no one should receive calls from work. Respecting the separation of personal and work is imperative.
- Be transparent about the projection of each employee within the company. Promising promotions and pay raises that never materialize are a source of great dissatisfaction.
- Uses strategies to recognize the contributions of team members.
- Support employees taking vacations and breaks. It is important to encourage employees to take breaks to rest and unwind.
Reducing the tide of quiet quitters is a relevant and critical objective for any company, everyone benefits, both employees and employers. When employees are satisfied, they feel heard and respected, and they increase their commitment and efficiency, which in turn increases productivity and output for the company.