Company Workforce News

The Quiet Quitting Phenomenon

How to Prevent It

What is Quiet Quitting

The term, quiet quitting, was coined in 2009, but only now is it gaining traction as young Millennials and Gen Z workers are experiencing record levels of burnout. With the pandemic and the state of the economy, young employees are feeling the pressure. So, quiet quitting comes into effect when that pressure is exasperated by work stress and no managerial support.

For some, quiet quitting is a refusal to overwork themselves. For others, it is a survival tactic. It is a way for young employees to draw boundaries by refusing to do more work than they are compensated for. This means

  • skipping out on extra projects
  • declining to do any work outside of their core duties
  • not contributing to idea generation
  • refusing to answer emails or do work-related tasks outside of business hours

In many cases, quiet quitting can go unnoticed until it’s too late. So here is some information on what to look for and strategies on how to prevent quiet quitting.

Who is Quiet Quitting?

According to statistics, nearly 25% of employees are saying no to hustle culture. Because employees aged 18-34 are experiencing the highest levels of burnout, it is not surprising that this age group is quietly quitting more than their older counterparts. More specifically, young Millenials between the ages of 25-34 are leading the charge. This is not shocking due to other research showing that 55% of employees born after 1989 are not fully engaged. However, what is surprising is the difference between men and women.

Due to our social hierarchy, most people assume that men are overachievers and that women experience the most stress in the workplace. This would lead us to presume that women quit quietly at higher rates than men, but that is not the case. Shockingly, the percentage of men and women quietly quitting is very close. However, a higher percentage of men admit that they aren’t just doing the bare minimum. They are doing much less.

For young millennials (men and women), doing the bare minimum or less is good enough to keep them happy, their life balanced, and their mental health intact. In fact, quiet quitting seems to be a response to burnout, and though they put in less effort than they were 6 months ago, their employers seem to not even notice. Though tricky, it is very important to recognize the signs. Otherwise, there is no way employers can be proactive.

Causes of Quiet Quitting

Employees aren’t quiet quitting just because they don’t feel like working. Usually, there are underlying issues at work that go unaddressed. In the long run, these issues create stress loads that employees are unable to cope with, and as a result, employees “check out” and refuse to do more than the bare minimum. Some examples of prolonged stressful situations in the workplace that lead to quiet quitting include

  • No personal boundaries or work-life balance
  • Being asked to do too much for very little compensation
  • Little to no support from management or coworkers
  • Management not conveying clear expectations
  • Poor communication that affects the quality of work

Prolonged stressful situations, such as the ones listed above, are the major contributors to toxic and unproductive work environments. While they tend to be the culprits of quiet quitting, it is also important to note that small triggers could produce those long-term stressors. Awareness of these triggers and how they can negatively progress allows managers to nip quiet quitting in the bud.

  • being passed up for promotion
  • a sudden change of hours or workload
  • denying work from benefits
  • removing an employee from a project they are passionate about

  • not receiving a raise or any added benefits for an increased workload
  • changes in management or supervision
  • changes in company core values

5 Ways to be Proactive

Don’t get caught off-guard. Here are 5 ways to reduce triggers and monitor your work environment for prolonged stressors. With these, you’ll have a great foundation for deciding how to prevent quiet quitting.

Meet Today’s Needs

One of the top two reasons employees quietly quit is compensation. Suppose your employees are financially struggling outside work because they are being poorly compensated. In that case, it will be tough to help them reach high levels of productivity in the workplace.

To ensure your employees are being compensated fairly, start by analyzing their work tasks and current salary and benefits. Then compare that to the market – what are other companies in your industry paying people in that role? It is also essential to be aware of today’s needs. Suppose inflation or other economic conditions are driving up cost-of-living. In that case, salaries (or benefits) should reflect the outside world.

Maintain Boundaries

The second reason employees quietly quit is to protect their boundaries and mental well-being. If employers are constantly overloading employees, then they will experience burnout. There’s no way around it.

So, it is vital to keep workloads reasonable. If there are instances where employees have to take on a heavier workload, that is okay. Just make sure that this is not for a prolonged period. Alternatively, if your company has the funds to hire a temp or contracted worker, then that could help reduce the workload for your core employees.

Listen to Your Employees

Often employers don’t even realize when employees are quiet quitting, so how in the world can they prevent it? One of the best ways prevention methods is to just listen. Yes, listen to your employees about what makes them productive, what hinders their growth, and what is causing stress in their work environment. Employers can get to the root of these questions by periodically conducting stay interviews

Also, consider the fact that listening doesn’t always pertain to hearing. People are constantly communicating, especially with body language and facial expressions. So, if you are in tune with your employees and you interact often, you may sense mood or behavior changes. Don’t be afraid to address these; ask the employee what the company can do to help. On the other hand, if you manage a larger group of people, creating a structure that supports employee well-being would be helpful. Managers can do this by allowing mental health days, letting employees set and communicate their boundaries, and promoting mental health resources. 

Nurturing and Supportive at Failure

Failure is a vital part of growth. In fact, failure drives innovation, creativity, and problem-solving. However, you can’t get great results from failure if you don’t coach your employees through it. If you only offer support when an employee is doing well, you can expect that employee to feel neglected when they fail. As a result, employees are likely to take a step back and revert to what they are successful in.

The feeling of not being supported doesn’t just contribute to stunted growth. Young employees WANT to grow and develop new skills. So, if they find themselves in a work environment that doesn’t help them achieve their goals, they may become resentful. The only way to prevent this is to celebrate growth, encourage failure, and constantly coach employees.

Be Transparent About Career Growth Opportunities

If employees feel like they aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, they will stop doing all the right things. They’ll think: well, it doesn’t matter anyways.

When it comes to promotions and career growth, employers should be open and upfront. Being passed up for promotion is one trigger that causes an employee to feel underappreciated and overworked. But say the employer provides a clear growth plan, offers career management, and is transparent about a role’s growth potential. This helps eliminate the likelihood of employees being bitter about a promotion they may not be qualified for. Additionally, an employer offering transparency and support through the career development phases causes employees to trust their decisions more. 

Now that you are nurturing your workforce, getting them more engaged, and increasing productivity, it’s time to recruit again. Post a free job opening on Job\Searcher today to get started.

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