Why Quiet Quitting isn’t New and isn’t Untreatable 

Amid the many stresses of life in 2022, a contingency of employees is resorting to a not-so-new behavior as a coping mechanism. 

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Despite its recent spike, quiet quitting isn’t new to the workforce

The “quiet quitting” phenomenon gaining traction over the past few months of summer and into fall is actually a timeless work behavior. What’s new is its rebranding by a younger workforce contingency operating amid a pandemic, a sputtering economy, and general global instability.

While definitions vary from mentally checking out of work to passively sabotaging team projects, the resounding consensus defines quiet quitting as doing the absolute bare minimum at work. Quiet quitters punch in, meet a required KPI, and punch out without engaging in any work over their pay grade. Mental health has declined since the onset of the 2020 pandemic and is infecting this pocket of workers on a vast scale. Work-from-home employees are the most likely to quiet quit, as there’s an absence of palpable managerial support obstructed by remote communication.

Where quiet quitting stems from

Again, this is not a new concept; Harvard Business Review has kept records and data over decades on why employees go above and beyond in their workplaces and why they don’t. Their findings came down almost exclusively to manager capability. Quiet quitting comes from a lack of drive stemming from feelings of underappreciation and undervaluation as an employee. If you feel like your job isn’t contributing to overall life satisfaction, you’re much more likely to quiet quit. This is where managers can save their teams by providing sympathy, motivation, and a shoulder to lean on in times of stress.

A few statistics on quiet quitting

For perspective, HBR’s study polled 13,048 direct reports regarding 2,801 managers on how able their manager is at balancing care for reports with getting results as well as whether or not they feel that workers go above and beyond in their office. To no one’s surprise, there was a direct correlation between a manager’s ability to balance employee care with results and an office’s propensity to go beyond baseline job duties.

The top tenth percentile of rated managers registered three percent of employees as quiet quitters and a whopping 62 percent of employees willing to go above and beyond their job descriptions. In the bottom tenth percentile of rated managers, 14 percent of employees categorized themselves as quiet quitters, and only 20 percent categorized themselves as willing to go beyond their job descriptions.

With this revealing quantitative information in hand, how should managers appease a stressed, burnt-out group of direct reports on the verge or in the midst of quiet quitting?

How to prevent quiet quitting at your organization

Quiet quitting habits live and die by manager-employee relationships, and the key ingredient to a positive partnership is trust. As the leader in this duo, managers can build said trust with their direct reports in three distinct stages.

Though it sounds obvious, building positive relationships with direct hires humanizes the relationship. Find common ground outside of work with direct reports to build familiarity and transparency in the relationship. Both manager and employee should look forward to conversing in one-on-ones or any other dialogue.

Once deeper connections are established with direct reports, managers need to deliver on promises and reports on a consistent basis. Consistency shows commitment to open dialogue, even if a report isn’t positive. Managers should realize that they likely aren’t as consistent as they think they are, and should consult their direct reports on their own communication and clarity.

Finally, at the risk of sounding redundant, managers need to exhibit expertise in the field they manage. Regrettably, many don’t make continuous learning and mastery of their craft a priority, and employees are the first to snuff that disconnect out. Managers should ensure jobs are well done, make sure their advice and opinions are sound, and follow market trends to win the trust of their employees.

With the great resignation and quiet quitting threatening businesses, managers can’t afford to neglect workers’ needs or warrant skepticism of their leadership. Build trust and promote open conversation with employees to build comfort and confidence. Give credit generously and often to give your employees true value and purpose. Make their workplace a positive environment instead of a purgatory.

Connect with all five CSS business units to staff inspiring managers and motivated employees

The Contemporary Staffing Solutions organization is committed to alleviating the hiring pains of managers across the country strained by quiet quitting. The talent experts of the Professional Staffing Group, CSS ProSearch, CSS Tec, Peergenics, and CSSvSource provide the best and brightest employees and managers across a range of functions. These include Accounting & Finance, Call Center & Office, Human Resources, Mortgage, Sales and Marketing, Information Technology, and Salesforce Staffing, Consulting & Project Implementation sectors. Connect with CSS today to combat quiet quitting and give your employees purpose and drive!