Over recent months, the concept of quiet quitting has garnered a significant amount of attention. Often, companies find this growing trend distressing, as it typically has a substantial impact on productivity and performance. In some cases, it also alters the company’s culture, at times in detrimental ways.
As a result, many employers are focusing on how to combat quiet quitting. However, to do so effectively, it’s critical to understand what quiet quitting is and why the movement began. By doing so, organizations are better equipped to find viable solutions, allowing them to get the most for their workforce. Here’s a look at quiet quitting, including what it is, why it’s happening, and what companies can do to overcome it.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
With quiet quitting, an employee isn’t actually resigning from their position. Additionally, it doesn’t necessarily cause workers to not show up for their designated shifts. Instead, quiet quitting is an approach to work where employees focus solely on performing their duties as outlined in their job description without going above and beyond. Essentially, they aim to meet expectations but aren’t driven to exceed them.
What’s Spurring the Quiet Quitting Movement?
In many ways, quiet quitting is the antithesis to hustle culture, a prior movement where professionals prioritized their professional lives and strived to exceed expectations at every level. Often, there was an intense emphasis on ambition and self-motivation, often to the detriment of work-life balance or self-care. The movement was based on the notion that extraordinary effort led to career success, increasing access to promotions or higher-level job opportunities.
In recent years, work-life balance has become of greater importance to many members of the workforce. The same is true of prioritizing mental health. For professionals that value work-life balance and aim to ensure their mental health, if exceeding expectations means harming either of those, the desire to go the extra mile may diminish dramatically.
Additionally, some who previously held the hustle culture mindset found that their efforts didn’t result in the success they anticipated. When that occurs, it can leave professionals feeling disenchanted, frustrated, or burned out. In turn, disengagement begins to rise, causing them to scale back their efforts at work.
In some cases, quiet quitting is also a counterpoint to a concept that’s now being referred to as “quiet promotions.” Quiet promotions involve the elevation of a worker’s duties without an associated raise, a change in job title, or another move that’s considered beneficial to the employee’s career by the worker. While one could argue that more responsibilities or chances for skill-building are career-boosting, some professionals view a lack of direct compensation for the increase in duties as disrespectful or a sign that they aren’t valued. If that occurs, some may embrace quiet quitting as a way to maintain their sense of equity when it comes to the new responsibilities and their compensation.
How to Prevent Quiet Quitting in Your Organization
Manage Employee Compensation Effectively
Compensation is a critical part of the equation if companies want to prevent quiet quitting. Employees need to feel that their salaries are fair based on the effort expected and the nature of their duties. Today’s workers aren’t inclined to go above and beyond if they don’t feel their pay justifies those efforts. As a result, coming up with a compensation structure that rewards going the extra mile can prevent quiet quitting.
While adjusting base salaries is effective, companies can use alternatives. Providing performance bonuses to those who do contribute more than the bare minimum is a simple approach that’s also cost-effective. Essentially, it only rewards employees who aren’t engaging in quiet quitting, which can deter that behavior.
Additionally, if you go with bonuses, don’t limit that additional compensation to an annual bonus. Quarterly bonuses create a sense of ongoing motivation to exceed expectations. Plus, it connects a change in attitude to a faster reward, making it feel accessible and worth pursuing.
Support Work-Life Balance
Having mechanisms in place that support work-life balance can also reduce the amount of quiet quitting in an organization. Make sure managers encourage their teams to take breaks during the day. Provide ample paid leave and limit barriers relating to its use. Allow remote work or flexible schedules, when possible, too.
Additionally, have healthy boundaries in place, particularly when it comes to after-hours expectations. Letting employees know that it’s okay to disconnect when their shift is over or when on leave – and ensuring managers respect that boundary – can make a significant difference.
One of the trickiest parts of quiet quitting is that employees aren’t necessarily underperforming in relation to their job description. Instead, they are typically meeting basic expectations regarding performance. Where the problem lies are that the expectations they’re hitting don’t always align with the value managers assumed they’d get, particularly if leaders became accustomed to the attitudes associated with hustle culture.
As a result, realigning expectations is critical for success. This should involve adjustments from both sides. Managers should realize that a hustle culture approach that disrupts work-life balance or harms mental health isn’t reasonable to ask for in the current climate. Similarly, employees should be open to discussions about what expectations the manager actually has regarding their performance.
By adjusting what it means to succeed in the workplace and ensuring managers clearly articulate their expectations, ensuring nothing ends up unspoken, it’s easier to find a happy medium. In turn, that can reduce a significant amount of tension in the workplace, leading to a better culture. Often, a stronger culture will also lead to productivity improvements, as happy employees are classically more willing to go the extra mile when doing so makes sense.
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