What is “quiet quitting” and what does it mean for employers?

“Quiet quitting” is the term that has recently been coined by the TikTok generation. It’s an “anti-hustle” narrative that see’s them doing no more, or less than their job description dictates.


It’s become a viral trend, particularly amongst Gen-Z employees which promotes the benefits of not letting their job define their identity and instead prioritising the life aspect in the work-life balance mentality.


The world of work has shifted exponentially since the pandemic and for many, re-prioritising work with family and leisure was a common outcome. What’s interesting however, is that Gen-Z are aged between 9-24, meaning their outlook on working life could be setting the tone for the future of work.


The signs of quiet quitting


Whilst quiet quitting doesn’t actually mean quitting a job, it is the intention to stop doing anything above and beyond someone’s job profile. This could include refusing to work outside of set working hours, not checking emails outside of those hours and not pitching in to help with additional tasks even if the team require it.


Ultimately, it’s the view that working is a means to an end and that their priorities lie elsewhere.


Do these signs sound familiar?


The term “quiet quitting” might be new, but these symptoms are very similar to that of a disengaged workforce and employees who feel undervalued and overworked.


There are also similarities between quiet quitting and those employees who simply coast through work (we’ve all worked with one) and are happy doing the bare minimum because they have no intention of progressing within a company.


The difference between those behaviour traits and the trend we’re seeing online is the conviction that these employees have in justifying their attitude publicly. The impacts of this can be damaging to a business’s reputation externally as well as effecting other members of the team internally.


What can employers do?


Technically, quiet quitting isn’t breaking any contractual agreements but it’s important that employers know the reasons as to why an employee might be putting in minimal effort.


If it is the case that they’re disengaged, finding the route cause can help to prevent issues escalating.


Having regular performance reviews and one-to-ones allows managers to get a sense of whether an employee is engaged in their role and to ensure they are performing as expected.


If there are cultural issues within an organisation which are leading employees to feel disengaged, there should be ways they can voice their opinions whether that’s in those review sessions or via anonymous surveys.


It’s also important that employers proactively address any cultural issues and continue to enforce positive work-life balance policies to prevent employees feeling overworked in the first place.


This trend is also a reminder that organisations need to have policies around social media. It’s one thing for an employee to lose enthusiasm about their role, but negatively promoting their employer online, particularly to be seen to involved in a trend is a bigger issue.


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