The last few difficult years have seen a number of new concepts or traits impacting organisations. After Working From Home to slow the pace of the pandemic, we saw the Great Resignation. People had more quiet time to evaluate their careers and decided to move on.
Now we have the concept of ‘quiet quitting’ where people stay in their jobs but do the minimum to satisfy their job descriptions and do not go above and beyond. In some ways, quiet quitting is a variant of the Great Resignation, which allows people to have more free time and a better work-life balance, but does not force them to look for, and often fail to find, a better job.
The challenge for leaders is to decide to what extent quiet quitting is an acceptable option for the organisation. After all, according to Kate Samuelson in her interesting article, “High productivity and the monetisation of every minute have been held up as the benchmark for career success, with burnout merely a by-product of the daily grind”.
Samuelson cites poor job satisfaction as one of several reasons why people might be inclined to take the quiet quitting option.
This is particularly apparent in the UK where Gallup’s recently published State of the Global Workplace report found that just 9% of UK workers feel enthused by their work and workplace, compared to 16% in Germany and 33% in Romania.https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx
Leaders and managers taking people for granted and not providing sufficient encouragement and support, are other reasons people turn off. Related to this, Samuelson quotes Sue Ellson, author and career development practitioner, who says “the relationship between employee and employer needs to be one of mutual respect, empathy and commitment”. The article concludes with some advice to people who are thinking about quietly quitting. This mainly involves being proactive and communicating frustrations to their managers.
While this may be good advice for some people, it may be impractical if the relationship with a manager is a distant one, either physically or socially. As hinted in the title, some level of quiet quitting may be acceptable in certain sectors. For example, accountancy firms may be looking for people who perform their jobs as defined and frown on too much innovation. Leaders have to make that decision for their own companies. Equally challenging for leaders is the task of finding out how much quiet quitting is actually going on or even how much potential there is for it to be viewed as a good option, especially in situations of hybrid and remote working. But people are unlikely to be open about their feelings in this regard.
How to Mitigate Quiet Quitting
A tool that can collect their feedback about the organisation, gathered anonymously, can help a leader find if quiet quitting is prevalent or likely to become widespread. Tensense has been giving leaders an insight into how their organisations are operating for years. Grounded in the science of Sensemaking, Tensense provides an early warning system for leaders that surfaces issues such as increasing inertia, excessive conformity or declining relationships. This is done by harnessing the instinct of the workforce, who see what is happening on the ground, and asking them how they feel the organisation is performing. This innovative diagnostic has been instrumental in helping large and small organisations stay on a path of high performance – allowing leaders to ‘read the room’. To learn more, book a demo.
Photo by Marcus Aurelius