Quiet quitting is not a new phenomenon, nor does it come as a surprise. Anyone I talked to in the past two years experienced burnout, anxiety, or emotionally charged moments related to their job. Going above and beyond for the cost of sleepless nights, less time with family, and chronic tiredness was never going to be a sustainable working model.
I bet you know at least one colleague who, while still doing everything required of them, doesn’t see the point in being a top-notch employee. However, it seems that quiet quitting doesn’t mean leaving your job but rebelling against long working hours, low wages, an unethical workplace culture, or lack of benefits and investments in employee well-being.
It’s happening all around you
The other day, I talked to one of my friends, who has always been excellent at her job, promoted, awarded and beloved by her colleagues. To my surprise, she told me her spark had gone due to a few frustrating workplace occurrences she found unfair. From that moment on, she decided not to go that extra mile anymore.
‘I am smart enough to understand that stress at work can only come out through burnout, sicknesses, and mental illness. I am not allowing that to happen. Not again, ‘ she shared with me.
Experts in the employee experience (EX) business saw this coming long before quiet quitting had been coined on TikTok. Researchers and influences such as Brené Brow, Suzan David, Adam Grant, and Amy Edmondson have talked for years about employee trust, vulnerability, and psychological safety as fundamental concepts for building healthy and motivated teams. However, building a team with trust as a constant parameter of success requires dedicated culture assessments, 1:1 coaching, mentoring, and upskilling of each manager.
Before we blame ‘lazy’ Gen Z employees, let’s consider that a few years ago, Gallup’s stats showed that 85% of employees worldwide were not engaged at work. Furthermore, the manager determines 70% of the variance in team engagement. Therefore, while there is nothing new about quiet quitting, it seems that employees worldwide are screaming for a positive organisational culture change. Where to start?
Time to change the tactics
An additional concept to dwell on in the following few months is Gig CX. According to 2022 Gig Customer Experience Report, 72% of customer service managers have added, or plan to add, gig talent to customer service or sales operations within the next two years. How is this related to quiet quitting?
While companies can do a lot to help employees stay motivated and engaged at work, alternative models of talent acquisition could benefit both employers and employees. Now is the time to explore innovative talent management models cross-disciplinary and outside standard frameworks.
Finally, organisational culture affects employee retention more than we think. The good thing is that culture is something we can define and shape towards more positive behavioural patterns. If you notice some people quiet quit at your workplace, assess your organisational culture first, and from there, draft a plan for a long-term change.
When talking about this hot new work-related topic, it’s important to also touch on the backlash. It’s been seen a lot on LinkedIn recently, where Cate Chapman at LinkedIn news has summarised the debacle well:
“The meaning of this phrase du jour seems to depend on your point of view. (Didn’t quiet quitting used to be called slacking?) What is clear, is that the concept has struck at the heart of our work culture, typically associated with “hustle.” Is quiet quitting an attack on that foundation, or simply a plea to stop the insanity at work in a time of pandemic?“
Quiet quitting is becoming a two-sided coin. It’s necessary to protect your wellbeing and not feel taken advantage of. But, will your boss see it as a drop in effort and worth ethic? The debate is a tricky one to negotiate.
Either way, this has sparked an open-ended, honest discussion about the employee experience. We are really starting to see conversations about the meaning of work and career progress in our society. It seems that the line between many things in the working world are becoming blurred in this sense.
Let’s move this conversation to the real world, with those who can make a personal difference to you. Perhaps internal organisation discussions are the next steps. Be honest about what success at work feels like to you. What does your manager expect of you, and can you handle it?
It may be the time for real transparency and a willingness to change. We are still living in the wake of everything we know being ruptured and altered. These are new topics that are cropping up where we need to build a “new normal”.
Resources to rethink your employee experience strategy
At CXM, we have a selection of articles that cover employee engagement, meaningful employee experience design, and many more. These carefully selected pieces can help you assess the current situation and take action to build more intentional EX strategies.