What is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is a term that is used to describe the act of doing the bare minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, eﬀort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. In many ways, this can be seen as a form of “giving up” or “resigning oneself to defeat” as the worker doesn’t actually leave their position and continues to collect a salary.
Of course, there are many diﬀerent reasons why someone might choose to quiet quit their job. For some, it may be a way of protesting against an employer or company they feel is unfair or unjust. For others, it may simply be a matter of tiredness or burnout, where they feel they can no longer give their best to the job. Whatever the reason, quiet quitting is a very real phenomenon and one that can have a major impact on those who do it.
For those who choose to quietly quit, it is often a way of making a statement. They may feel their employer is mistreating them, or the company is not living up to its promises. In some cases, quiet quitting may be the only way to protest and make their voices heard.
Quiet quitting can also be a sign of burnout. When someone is feeling overwhelmed, bogged down, and exhausted, they may decide the best course of action is to simply walk away from doing more than what their job description states. It could be their ﬁght against the hustle-and-grind culture. Quiet quitters continue to fulﬁll their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviors: no more staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings (Harvard Business Review). Sometimes, quiet quitting is the best thing for someone’s mental and emotional health.
If you are considering quietly quitting your job, it is important to weigh all of your options. Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and you are prepared for the possible consequences.
The Dangers of Quiet Quitting
When you’re feeling like there is no point to commit extra time or eﬀort at work, it’s tempting to just keep your head down and do the bare minimum. But did you know this strategy could actually backﬁre? Experts fear that due to inﬂation, employees may not realize companies are already looking for ways to cut costs, and if you’re not being productive, the quiet quitters may be the ﬁrst to go (Jacksonville News).
While it may seem like keeping quiet and just getting the job done is the best way to cope with your current job, it can actually put you at risk in the long run. Here’s why:
For one, your superiors and colleagues may notice you’re not putting in the same eﬀort as you used to or not putting in the same eﬀort as your teammates. This could put your position in jeopardy or make you miss out on development opportunities.
So what’s the best way to deal with quiet quitting at work?
First, it’s important to identify the source of why you’re doing only what is asked of you. Is it a heavy workload? Unrealistic deadlines? Diﬃcult co-workers? Lack of recognition or growth opportunities? Once you know what’s causing the problem, you can start to develop a plan to ﬁx it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your boss about ways to lighten your load. If you’re having trouble with a speciﬁc co-worker, try to have a direct conversation to see if you can resolve the issue.
And ﬁnally, make sure to take care of yourself both inside and outside of work. This means eating right, getting enough sleep, and making time for activities that make you happy. If your job does not allow you to have a healthy life outside of work, communicate your boundaries to your leadership.
Signs of Quiet Quitting
Are you worried an employee might be engaging in “quiet quitting”? Here are some of the top signs to look out for:
- Employees doing the bare minimum
If your employees are suddenly doing only the bare minimum required of them, it could be a sign they’re no longer invested in their work. They may be putting in just enough eﬀort to not get ﬁred, but not enough to actually contribute to the company. Or they could be setting boundaries to not do anything extra because they are not getting compensated and/or recognized for their eﬀorts.
- People clocking out exactly at 5 pm
If your employees are suddenly leaving work exactly at 5 pm sharp, it could be a sign they’re no longer interested in putting in extra hours. They may be feeling like their work/life balance is out of whack and they need to put more time into their personal lives.
- Employees are no longer willing to work overtime hours
If your employees are suddenly unwilling to work overtime hours, this could mean they’re no longer engaged in their work. They may feel like they’re being taken advantage of if they’re constantly working extra hours, and so they’re no longer willing to do it.
- Employees are not willing to perform tasks or take on responsibilities that are not included in their job descriptions
If your employees are suddenly refusing to do tasks or take on responsibilities that are outside of their job descriptions, it could be a sign they’re not feeling challenged at work. They may feel like their job is becoming too routine and they’re not learning anything new. They can also feel like there is no incentive to take on tasks other employees don’t perform, but receive the same pay.
- People only doing tasks as speciﬁcally described in their contracts
If your employees are only doing tasks as speciﬁcally described in their contracts, it could be a sign they’re not feeling fulﬁlled in their work. They may feel like they’re just going through the motions and not really contributing to the company.
Can Quiet Quitting be Fixed?
So, what can you do if you think an employee is engaged in quiet quitting?
The ﬁrst step is to try to identify the root cause. There could be any number of reasons why an employee is no longer willing to go the extra mile. Maybe they’re burned out. Maybe they’re unhappy with their job. Maybe they’re not being challenged enough.
Once you’ve identiﬁed the root cause, you can start to address it. If an employee is burned out, you might need to give them a break. If they’re unhappy with their job, you might need to have a conversation about their career goals. If they’re not being challenged enough, you might need to give them more responsibility.
Another step is employers need to recognize and reward the people who are making an impact. If that’s not happening — whether it’s due to a “bad boss” or because companies don’t know who their true superstars are — they’re more likely to see “quiet quitting” (BeneﬁtsPro).
When people, especially top performers, aren’t recognized for the contributions they make, they tend to turn into ﬂight risks. To prevent this stage of employee disengagement and avoid “quiet quitting”, employers should focus on ﬁxing their performance review process and measuring with real data the impact of each employee, and not rely on manager-only perspectives (BeneﬁtsPro).
If you want to keep your top performers from leaving, it’s important to make sure they feel appreciated. One way to do that is by overhauling your performance review process.
Too often, performance reviews are based on subjective opinions and don’t give employees the feedback they need to improve. As a result, employees can become disengaged and start looking for new jobs.
To avoid this, employers should focus on measuring the impact of each employee with real data. This will help you identify your true superstars and make sure they’re being recognized and rewarded for their contributions.
Don’t rely on manager-only perspectives when it comes to performance reviews. Instead, get input from a variety of sources, including employees themselves. This will help you get a more well-rounded view of each person’s performance and identify any areas which need improvement.
By recognizing and rewarding the people who are making an impact, you can prevent “quiet quitting” and keep your top performers from leaving.
The key is to address the issue of quiet quitting head-on. Don’t ignore it and hope it goes away. It won’t. And the longer you wait, the worse it will get.
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XcelMil, LLC is a certiﬁed Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.