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What is quiet quitting and why it’s happening

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What is quiet quitting?

Despite its name, quiet quitting is not actually about giving two weeks notice and leaving the company.

In reality, it means an employee stops going above and beyond and instead only performs the tasks stated in their job description. The quiet quitters don't keep late hours at the office, and they set distinct boundaries regarding their personal time. 

Is quiet quitting good or bad?  

Generally speaking, quiet quitting blew up as a response to toxic work environments where employees were underpaid and overworked. The concept originally appeared in the United States where many companies are known for their relentless demands on their employees. According to statistics, the USA and Canada are the leaders when it comes to quiet quitting.

If an employee is working in a space where they are not respected or where they are mistreated, quiet quitting becomes a coping mechanism because the hard work they put in does not result in promotions, bonuses, or even simple appreciation.

However, it’s not always clear if quiet quitting is a reasonable response to a bad work environment or if employees are just slacking. In theory, doing exactly what you are paid to do is fair, but often it becomes a slippery slope where an employee gradually decreases their performance, resulting in low productivity and self-esteem. 

Dealing with quiet quitting as a manager 

Quiet quitting is something management can prevent or reduce if they take the necessary steps. 

Build a genuine connection with your employees

Many employees resort to quiet quitting, experience burnout, or become demotivated because they feel underappreciated at work or fear their career is going nowhere. Often, management has no idea about those issues until the employee resigns. If you work hard on creating a trusted relationship with your subordinates and they feel comfortable sharing their aspirations with you, then their needs can be met in a timely manner and ensure that the workforce is motivated to make the extra effort to obtain company goals. 

Provide opportunities for growth and development 

Employees will only go above and beyond at work if they see a reason to do so. For example, if you refuse to discuss potential promotions and raises or talk about them ambiguously, the employee will rightfully assume that they are better off relaxing and doing the bare minimum because there is no real chance for their hard work to pay off.  

Communicate job expectations clearly 

Clarity and honesty should be a priority from day one. Pay attention to it during the hiring process to avoid misunderstanding from the start. If your job description only highlights the best parts, then employees might feel gaslit and resent you when the actual work starts.

Remember that it’s a two-way street

A common complaint you will find on TikTok in quiet quitting videos is about the imbalance in the employee-employer relationship. The main concern is that while an employee is expected to work harder for the mere promise of improved working conditions, the employer, in turn, gets to reap all the benefits of the work produced without necessarily giving anything in return. By keeping in mind that employment is a quid pro quo relationship, you will be able to shift your mindset and change the dynamic within the team.

Ultimately, the most important step is to ensure that employees have a liveable wage. Great communication and an engaging management style won’t work unless your employees feel financially secure. 

Final thoughts 

Good or bad, quiet quitting costs companies a lot of money. It is estimated that the global loss of businesses as a result of quiet quitting is around $1,5 trillion annually.

One way to avoid or minimise quiet quitting risks is through working with outstaffed professionals. Of course, you need to find a reliable partner, such as Emphasoft, who has the right technical skills to do the job, and treats their employees fairly, so that your outstaffed team will be motivated to work hard and produce a great outcome. 

Read next:

How Can Project Managers Improve Their Efficiency

How can IT specialists avoid burnout?



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