By Maria Geokezas, Chief Operating Officer at Heinz Marketing
Following on the heels of 2021’s The Great Resignation, a new conversation is trending across news sites, LinkedIn, and social media and has employers scrambling to understand what it means for their workforce. It turns out the term “Quiet Quitting” is somewhat of a misnomer, but it describes a trend that is still worth paying attention to.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Upon closer look, Quiet Quitting doesn’t appear to be about quitting at all! Instead, it seems to be a response to workplace burnout in which employees are setting stronger boundaries and taking better care of themselves. Ergo, they are “quitting” the hustle and not making a big deal about it.
Some experts say a shift to remote work during the pandemic blurred lines between home life and work life, leading to stress and burnout. Employees are simply reinstating those boundaries and leaning into a re-envisioned lifestyle that centers the people and activities most important to them. The important thing to remember is that Quiet Quitters are still engaged in their work.
What Does Quiet Quitting Look Like?
If attendance has been declining for your team building activities like virtual or in-person happy hours, team lunches, and other fun or educational opportunities, your employees might be Quiet Quitting. If you’re having trouble recruiting volunteers to plan internal events or attend external networking events, your employees might be Quiet Quitting.
If the work is getting done well and getting done on time but typical communication banter on internal chat tools is quieting down, your employees might be setting some boundaries to guard themselves from burnout.
How Can Managers Prevent and Respond to Quiet Quitting?
Since most are agreeing that Quiet Quitting is a response to burnout and the need for setting boundaries, managers can cultivate a team culture that invites feedback and improves employee satisfaction:
- Survey your workforce anonymously and ask questions related to job satisfaction burnout.
- Offer challenging projects and ways for people to grow their skills and feel like their contributions matter to the big picture.
- Ensure employees have role clarity and understand their performance expectations.
Here are additional steps managers can take to prevent employee burnout:
- Be a good role model on setting boundaries – take a lunch break and don’t send that email after hours, for example.
- Avoid over-programming team building activities – plan them during the work day rather than on personal lunch hours or after work, and allow for authentic connections rather than scheduled events.
- Assume the best! If you find that an employee’s performance is dropping, check in with them and find out what’s in their way.
Quiet Quitting isn’t a sign that your workforce is making an exit, but it may be a sign that employees are feeling burned out – and that is definitely something you’ll want to address.