“Quiet quitting,” today’s newly emerging workplace mindset, describes employees who are doing the bare minimum at work by reducing their commitment, energy and productivity on the job.
The path these employees are taking is clear.
But the response from manager, team leader or employer is also critical.
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“On the heels of movements like the Great Resignation, quiet quitting is the latest example of employees changing their attitudes about work and re-evaluating what’s important,” Kristi Hummel, chief people officer at Skillsoft, based in Boston, told FOX Business.
“No longer are they willing to go above and beyond what’s asked unless there’s meaningful give-and-take — and this doesn’t just mean salary bumps and added vacation days,” she continued.
In addition, “Those workers who may have overextended themselves in the past are reverting to performing only the duties they were hired to do, in an attempt to restore balance in their lives,” she noted.
How does this shift in employee commitment and work ethic impact American’s businesses, and those who lead them?
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Human resource experts and corporate executives shared with FOX Business how they’re handling this emerging workforce trend — and their reactions to it.
How do managers spot a ‘quiet quitter’?
Hummel says that managers and leadership must be “acutely” aware of how teams are feeling and be on the lookout for signs of quiet quitting — which may include traditionally strong employees opting to take a backseat on projects.
They may also show signs of declining job performance.
“Decreased engagement is also a clear sign of quiet quitting,” she noted.
Another telltale sign of quiet quitting: an employee’s decreased interest in work reviews and performance.
“They might also seem more heads-down than usual and ask fewer questions on how their performance is measuring up against expectations,” Victoria Elman, general counsel and head of people at Catalant, also in Boston, told FOX Business.
They may also “seem less concerned with promotions, raises, advancement, and career pathing,” she explained.
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Other business leaders maintain that a policy-in-place approach to quiet quitters in their company can help this growing issue.
Miller says that new hires join a company with an expectation that they will be positive, productive and trusted members of an organization.
“Recognizing and addressing quiet quitting requires a proactive and attentive approach,” Tom Miller, co-founder and CEO of ClearForce, in Vienna, Va., told FOX Business.
“Disengaged and unhappy employees are grown, not hired,” he said.
“Implementing and leveraging the use of secure and confidential reporting systems can catch behavioral warning signs, in a compliant manner, of someone who is quiet quitting,” he continued.
“Early discovery of displeasure and personal struggles is a good tool toward building and maintaining a winning culture for all,” he also said.
Quiet quitting can impact both small and large companies.
But if quiet quitting becomes a typical behavior among numerous employees at any workplace, Elman of Catalant said it can signal trouble on both a corporate culture level and an engagement level.
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“Perhaps management expectations are unreasonable, work-life boundaries are routinely being disrespected or the environment is becoming toxic,” she said.
“In any of those scenarios, the leadership team, HR and managers should keep an eye on whether it is actually quiet quitting — or if there are larger systemic issues that need to be addressed,” she emphasized.
How does quiet quitting hurt American businesses?
Quiet quitting can impact both small and large companies.
“American businesses are currently juggling a recession, hiring freezes and one of the tightest labor markets to date, with employees asking for — and getting — more than ever when it comes to compensation, benefits and flexibility,” Patrick Manzo, CEO of Kazoo + WorkTango, an employee experience platform headquartered in Austin, Texas, told FOX Business.
Manzo said that this new employee-driven trend is forcing businesses to take a deeper look at employee retention and identify strategies to retain employees and engage them fully in their work.
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“From a business perspective, employees [who are quiet quitters] can cost the company in many ways, including lost productivity, poor employee morale, a broken company culture and high turnover, which are all detrimental to a company’s bottom line,” he said.
Should employers try to shift the mindset of quiet quitters?
To overcome this shift in employee philosophy, business leaders can focus their efforts on building a robust employee experience and culture that inspires employees to stay at their company, said Manzo.
People need to do the job they were hired to do — it exists for a reason.
“This starts with employee recognition,” he shared. “When employees feel recognized and appreciated for their contributions, they’re happier, more productive and less likely to look for a new job.”
On the flip side, when employees don’t feel recognized and celebrated for their work, they often feel apathetic and disconnected, which can lead to quiet quitting, he said.
“To make sure this recognition has the most impact on teams, HR and business leaders must show employee gratitude in a way that is public, timely, specific and tied to something concrete,” he added.
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Of course, much of the responsibility continues to rest with the employees themselves.
Human resources professionals indicate that people need to do the job they were hired to do — it exists for a reason. And if their performance falls to inappropriate levels, that must be addressed and there must be consequences, they say.
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