The notion of ‘quiet quitting’ is not precisely defined. But it has been understood to be a resolution by employees choosing to not go above and beyond in their jobs or strictly sticking to their prescribed scope of work. Employees engaging in quiet quitting completely refuse to attend to any extra assignments that fall outside their core duties or working hours.
For some of these employees, they have previously gone the extra mile to the point of burnout. And have taken on extra tasks to prove value to leadership but have not been rewarded. They reach a state of losing enthusiasm and passion for one’s work. When they ultimately leave the job, they do it without drawing attention or causing disruption. Instead of making a formal announcement or expressing dissatisfaction, quiet quitters, as the word suggests, tend to exit quietly without making a fuss.
But where does this trend stem from?
A variety of reasons contribute towards the high peak of quiet quitting. The Covid-19 pandemic for one, exponentially fanned the flames of this trend. Some of the other factors include inadequate compensation, lack of career advancement, toxic work environments or an employee’s lack of confidence in the company’s ability to address concerns.
Here’s a deeper outline of these contributing factors:
- Dissatisfaction with the work environment: Employees may choose to quietly quit if they feel dissatisfied with the work environment, such as a lack of support from management, a toxic or unhealthy workplace culture, or issues related to discrimination and harassment.
- Ineffective communication channels: A lack of open and effective communication within the organization can discourage employees from expressing their concerns or seeking solutions to work-related issues. If employees feel that their voices won't be heard or that they won't be taken seriously, they may opt for quiet quitting instead.
- Fear of repercussions: Employees may fear retaliation or negative consequences if they openly express their grievances or dissatisfaction with the job. This fear can stem from concerns about damaging their professional reputation, facing backlash from colleagues or supervisors, or jeopardizing potential references for future job opportunities.
- Perception of limited opportunities for change: If employees believe that the organization is resistant to change or addressing the issues they have identified, they may see no point in voicing their concerns and may quietly quit instead of engaging in what they perceive to be a fruitless effort.
- Limited trust in the organization: Trust is a crucial factor in employee-employer relationships. If employees feel that their employer or management cannot be relied upon to address their concerns fairly or effectively, they may quietly quit as a way to protect themselves from potential disappointments.
- Burnout: Employees experiencing burnout or chronic stress may quietly quit as a way to remove themselves from the source of stress without going through the formal resignation process.
These factors have compelled employees to draw a hard line on how far they are willing to go for an organisation. A viral social media video that sparked the talk on quiet quitting not only described the phenomenon as ‘’jobless employment’’ but provided that poor management is to blame for disengaged employees. Reduced morale and engagement, lack of feedback, career stagnation, being overworked and underpaid, all contribute towards this grim picture of employees feeling alienated and longing for fulfilment.
The kind of toll that quiet quitting has left on organizations includes a negative impact on team dynamics, productivity loss as well as retention challenges. When employees choose to leave silently, it becomes difficult for the organization to identify and address the underlying issues that may be driving employees away. This lack of awareness and action can perpetuate a negative work environment, leading to higher turnover rates and difficulty in retaining talented employees.
What can organizations do?
It's important for organizations to foster a culture of open communication, encourage feedback, and provide mechanisms for employees to express their concerns without fear of retribution. These mechanisms include questionnaires, teambuilding activities and as far as possible, encouraging work-life balance. By addressing issues proactively and transparently, organizations can reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting and create a more positive and productive workplace environment.
Of course, the buck doesn’t stop here. While quiet quitting may provide a sense of relief for employees and avoidance of conflict in the short term, dealing with confrontation is a skill that must be learned. Keeping quiet about issues in the workplace may create an unhealthy pattern of job hopping and instability. It may be advisable to explore alternative options such as discussing concerns with your supervisor or seeking internal support.
In conclusion, it’s quite clear that we’re well past sweeping issues under the rug, and that , important conversations must be had.