Quiet quitting: What the trend means for workers

“Quiet quitting” has been defined as doing the bare minimum amount at work in an effort to find better work-life balance. Its proponents says it’s just doing what they’re getting paid for. Critics says it is a recipe for disaster for workers who could stunt their own professional development.

Jason Wachtel, staffing expert of local executive search firm JW Michaels & Co. appeared on KPRC 2+ to discuss what the trend means for the workplace.

For his insights, scroll below or watch the interview in the video player at the top of the page.

The information below is courtesy of Wachtel.

Q: WHY DO YOU THINK “QUIET QUITTING” IS TRENDING RIGHT NOW?

  • It’s a perfect storm for this kind of thing to happen right now.
  • In my opinion, though, there are two main factors at play.

The Great Resignation

  • Because of the Great Resignation, this market continues to be employee-driven.
  • It hasn’t slowed down either, evidenced by the massive and somewhat unexpected great July and August jobs reports.
  • Because of this, employees feel secure in their jobs to the point they no longer fear being fired for just working the 40 hours in their contract.

Job Engagement Numbers

  • According to a recent Gallup poll, only 34% of people felt engaged at work in 2021.
  • That’s down from 36% in 2020, the first annual decline in engagement in over a decade.
  • I think this points to the fact that a lot of people today want to do something they perceive as meaningful or beneficial for society, and feel they aren’t.
  • If they aren’t doing that at work, it’s more transactional. Do the job, get paid and then spend my free time doing something meaningful.

Q: DO YOU THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS JUST AFFECTING YOUNGER GENERATIONS?

  • While the trend has definitely taken off on TikTok due to younger generations, we’ve actually seen similar work engagement numbers across the board.
  • According to that same Gallup poll, approximately the same amount of Gen X and baby boomers feel disengaged at work as Gen Z-ers and Millennials.
  • This signals that many Boomers and Gen X-ers have pulled back at work, as well.
  • Rather than quiet quitting though, a lot of the older generation has just walked away from work entirely, with many entering early retirement during and directly following the pandemic.
  • Younger generations don’t have that opportunity, obviously, because they need to continue to make money.

Q: WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS DO IF THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE QUIET QUITTING?

  • For many employees, the reason they are doing this is in search of better work-life balance to improve their well-being.
  • I think there are plenty of ways employers can offer their workers increased balance.

Flexibility in where they work

  • We have seen the hybrid model and completely remote work options arise from the pandemic. Employers that are able should extend these flexible options going forward.

Flexibility in when they work

  • Employers need to be flexible in the hours their employees work, too. For example, if one of your workers needs to duck out an hour early to coach their kid’s youth team, encourage them to do so.

Bottom-up approach to meetings

  • Giving employees professional development opportunities is hugely important in companies’ efforts to engage them.
  • It is key, though, to have employees lead these discussions. Employers are asking their workers to do things for them all the time. These discussions need to have workers leading with what they want, and management acting on those wishes.

Willingness to put well-being ahead of profit at times

  • Companies have to be willing to do right by their employees.
  • This might mean cutting ties with customers or clients who are not treating your teams well, even if there will be profit losses.
  • This can signal to the workforce that their well-being really matters to management.

Q: FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO QUIET QUIT, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE?

  • Quiet quitting is a personal choice and every employee has to set their own priorities.
  • However, I think approaching your boss is easier now than it has ever been. Open and honest conversations are the easiest way to inject meaning back into work for employees.
  • Because companies are struggling to retain and hire, workers should feel comfortable telling their managers what it would take for them to be engaged at work.
  • I also think the sooner this happens the better. If the economy does sour in the next year, those who stopped going above and beyond are the first ones companies will look to layoff.

For more information, visit https://www.jwmichaels.com/.