08 Sep What is Quiet Quitting and Should You Care About It?
As the return to work for many after the global pandemic has started, a new phrase or “phenomenon” has been coined by business experts and business news pundits. It has to do with employees starting to set boundaries within their role in their company. For the longest time, workers have been told that if they go the extra mile and they put everything they have into their careers, they will move up the corporate ladder and be successful in both their job and their life. In today’s world, however, many people struggle balancing work and life in this post-COVID world and employees are having to not only work their normal job, but also work second or even third jobs to supplement their income. Many workers are having to participate in hustle culture, which means working side hustles just to make ends meet. The time has come when workers are setting boundaries and taking control of their work-life balance. The experts have coined this as “quiet quitting” and it has taken the business world by storm recently. What is quiet quitting and why is it becoming such a divisive topic between employers and employees?
Defining Quiet Quitting
Quiet quitting is being defined as employees creating healthy boundaries with their career to make time for other passions in their lives. This can be seen as doing things like not working extra hours, making sure they are done with work at a set time, or not doing any extra work outside of the parameters of your specific position. For example, if you work in accounting and your manager asks you to take over the front desk receptionist duties in the morning because they only have an afternoon receptionist, but still expects you to get the same amount of accounting work done in a week, setting a healthy boundary would be declining to do that extra work as a receptionist.
The phrase quiet quitting is being used by some people as a way to say that employees, specifically Gen Zers, these days are slacking off, suffering from burnout, or doing the bare minimum amount of work just to scrape by, but it’s quite the opposite. Today’s cost of living vs. wage rates are at an all-time high than they’ve been in a long time and people are having to do more outside of work to make enough money to get by. Employers expect loyalty to their company and high employee engagement, but the reality is that employees need more from their employers now more than ever. If employers want their employees to have more focus on their career than having to rely on living in the hustle culture mentality, then the onus is on the employers rather than the workers.
What is Causing Quiet Quitters?
When talking about quiet quitting, it’s important to look at what is causing this shift in the working world. One of the biggest factors in this new argument is that employees are taking more control over their own mental health and starting to notice when a workplace culture is no longer healthy for them or their personal life. For a long time, businesses promoted this culture of overwork with the promise that all your hard work will pay off in the end, but all it ended up doing was leading to a decline in engagement and more employees suffering from burnout.
Despite employers being the ones saying that employees are lacking, they should be the ones looking themselves in the mirror. Poor management and poor workplace culture can lead to a lack of engagement, rather than it being solely on the employee. Employees have a right to be able to enjoy their family life and their personal life outside of the office rather than grinding tooth and nail every day for the hope of a promotion down the line. Those days are over, for the most part depending on the career field.
Should You Care About the Quiet Quitting Movement?
If you’re an employee working for a company that does the bare minimum to take care of you, but expects more out of you as a worker, the quiet quitting “movement” is directly applicable to you. It’s important to set up healthy boundaries with your managers about your role and make sure any and all expectations about your job duties are clear.
While the idea of quiet quitting absolutely does not apply to many employers, perhaps this is a key moment to step back and assess your workplace, company values and policies. As an employer, to simply pin blame on employees as being lazy or not driven in their career will be doing yourself and your company a disservice and may drive away good employees. Focusing on creating a healthy workplace and thoroughly defining and describing job duties for roles is extremely important when trying to attract and retain top-tier talent and will set you and your team up for success!
How Human Resources can Eliminate Quiet Quitting
This quiet quitting trend is causing some companies and organizations to reexamine and refresh how they run their operation and how they can retain quality employees. There are four crucial areas that human resources can look at to retain their employees.
- Employee Investing Due to Company Mission, Goal, or Vision: One way that employees will stay engaged with their employer is if they fully understand the company’s service and truly believe in it. They have a sense of grounded purpose in both working for the company but also feel satisfied in their position and the work that they do. This builds loyalty and the connection the company, as well as giving them a purpose.
- Compensation: Yes, compensation requests are higher today than ever, but it’s no fault to the employee or the employer. Employees want to feel compensated well for their work and their time. They want to know they are being paid well for their contributions and they feel appreciated by the employer when they are taken care of financially.
- Career Path and/or Development: Employees who see a clear pathway to advancement and progress in their organization will feel more motivated and driven to get there. Not every employee wants to be promoted, which is fine! Employers should still have crafted career pathways for each department to show a professional development plan. This helps retain employees as they know what is in front of them, rather than staying stagnant with no clear path to progress.
- Motivation Factors: Managers should be taking the time to find out what motivates their employees. Everyone is driven by different factors whether it’s money, schedule, or career progression. Managers who take the time to instill these motivational factors into their company culture tend to retain employees more often than not.
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