Broadleaf’s Executive Vice President, Jason Krumwiede, sat down with HRO Today’s Debbie Bolla, to discuss what exactly quiet quitting is, the dangers it can have to a company’s productivity, and ways your organization can combat it.
What is quiet quitting?
Originating on TikTok, #quietquitting is a call for an intersection of a work-life balance. Quiet quitting is essentially the young professionals of today’s workforce response to the hustle culture. The idea that employees must work all day, every day to pursue career goals such as promotions or raises has led to a quiet rebellion. This is not to say that employees have stopped completing their tasks; instead, employees are completing these tasks at the bare minimum level. Feeling like their career has begun to control their social, mental, and physical well-being, employees are becoming increasingly less engaged and motivated in the workplace.
A study from Gallup found that “quiet quitters” make up at least 50 percent of today’s workplace, with another 18 percent of the U.S. workforce quantifying themselves as “actively disengaged.”
Quiet quitting is a form of another concept known as presenteeism. Presenteeism refers to lost productivity that occurs when employees are not fully effective in the workplace because of an illness or other condition. In terms of quiet quitting, the “illness” previously mentioned can be exhaustion, stress, or simply just overworked due to the cultural idea that employees must be in the office as much as possible to obtain career advancement or admiration from colleagues. Eventually, research from Gallup has shown that this mentality leads to decreased productivity, bare minimum quality work, and genuine unhappiness in the workplace.
Signs of quiet quitting
As Krumwiede puts it, “quiet quitting is less around employees’ willingness to work harder and more around a manager’s ability to develop deep relationships with colleagues and nurture these relationships day in and day out.” Managers should be observant of changes in the demeanor or characteristics of their team members or employees they oversee. It is important to recognize these changes to get ahead of quiet quitting with that specific employee. In fact, a survey from SHRM found that highly rated managers only have three percent of their employees or colleagues experience quiet quitting whereas lower rated managers have around 14 percent. Some of the signs include the following:
- One-on-one meetings going “flat,” meaning a lack of energy or enthusiasm towards the work an employee is doing
- No longer turning a camera on during meetings in remote work environments
- Seeming withdrawn in interactions, looking tired, or distracted
Ways to combat quiet quitting
Krumwiede offered three suggestions to get ahead of this far too common and productively dangerous issue in the workplace.
- Employee listening sessions: Managers of companies should have a detailed and in-depth understanding of the employee experience. Only managers are truly in the position to have these conversations. Krumwiede provided an example of how Broadleaf’s listening sessions led to offering more flexible work hours to their employees, whether it be a four-day work week or the opportunity for employees to select their own start and end times for their work day. Employees are more likely to stay engaged in their work when they have easy access to balancing their personal life.
- Creating shared experiences: When a manager makes the effort to include opportunities that will enhance company culture, employees are more likely to feel like their employer values the concept of a work-life balance. Krumwiede mentions the importance of including activities or events that are highly suggested by their colleagues or team members. These events can be done virtually as well; in fact, Krumwiede and his team recently participated in a virtual scavenger hunt.
- Helping colleagues manage work priorities: It is not surprising that an employee can feel overwhelmed or defeated when tasks build up, a huge contributor to quiet quitting. Leaders need to help their colleagues sort through these tasks, categorizing them based on bottom-line strategy or importance. This lets an employee know that their contribution to the team is valued and they will feel more empowered or inclined to give their best effort in the completion of these tasks.
For more information, listen to the full podcast here.