If you’ve been experiencing- or even just reading about- “quiet quitting” and want to get a handle on it, you likely need to know what it is and what causes it in order to “quiet quit-proof” your workplace and secure quality talent who both meet your business needs and whose needs are met.
Recently we witnessed a breaking point for many workers in the form of a Great Recognition, (aka Great Resignation), first mentioned in The Three A’s of Rebuilding Your Workforce where employers began to recognize the needs of their employees and their families. Many workers continued to experience poor mental health and burnout, which led to some defaulting to coasting through their job, also termed “quiet quitting” (to be clear, this is not actual quitting). According to a new Axios/Generation Lab poll, 82% of Gen Zers say the idea of doing the minimum required to keep their jobs is pretty or extremely appealing. Respondents also ranked work lower on their list of priorities than family, friends, wellness and hobbies.
Much has been written about this not so new phenomenon – let’s face it, at least some, if not many, Gen Xers were slacking, coasting and doing bare minimum in their jobs before anyone knew what to call it. The recent rise of quiet quitting, however, is causing media, employers and recruiters to look carefully at the root cause of “just doing the job”. Many theories have been offered for the cause but few have named any solutions.
Possible causes of quiet quitting may include the employee’s need for more flexibility, the desire to balance work and life, a non-inclusive work culture, lack of motivation, or a toxic environment. If a toxic work environment is the root cause of quiet quitting, or coasting at work and not “going above and beyond”, the opposite of a toxic workplace must provide an environment where employees thrive. This includes fair labor practices, meeting employees’ needs, effective channels of communication, balance of power, rewards and incentives and well-being initiatives.
If your company values a thriving workplace culture and you care about your employees’ lives in and outside the workplace, let your workplace policies reflect those values. Keep it simple. Here’s how you can get started, or build on what you’re already doing:
- Clearly articulate your values. Write them down and post them on your website and where you and employees can see them. Your actions and business practices will reflect them if they are stated and lifted up as the foundation of your business.
- Invest your time in creating and communicating great workplace policies. Start with low- cost/no cost if needed. Check out this toolkit for ideas.
- Take a genuine interest in your employees’ ability to participate and thrive in the “life” part of work/life balance: everything non-work related, namely family, friends, wellness and hobbies.
- Integrate family friendly policies in your employee handbook. Enroll in the Create a Family Friendly Workplace course, which walks you through the process.
Quiet quitting has gained momentum of late, but it isn’t new. It is merely revealing how employees really feel about unfair, unsupportive practices and it shines a light on the need for employers to step up and address unmet needs. It is not entirely the employer’s responsibility to “fix” this, but given the power employers have in the employer-employee relationship, they can certainly get the ball rolling. Above all, open the lines of communication and create ways employees can give you feedback about their job. It’s only “quiet quitting” if you can’t or won’t hear them.
Results strategist & President/CEO
Collective Action Strategies, LLC
Giovanna Rossi is a results strategist and the President/CEO of Collective Action Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to improving the health and lives of women and families through personal, policy and leadership development. Giovanna holds a Master of Science degree in Public Policy from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Giovanna was the first ever women’s health policy advisor for the state of New Mexico and was a women’s studies adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. She is passionate about improving the health and lives of women and families through work-life policy, economic self-sufficiency and health for women, making sure all children are supported and thriving, and addressing gender inequities in programs, policies, and services. She is the founder of Well Woman LifeTM, which supports women to achieve their highest level of fulfillment and well-being and founder of the Family Friendly Business Award®. Giovanna is host of The Well Woman show on NPR One, a regular panelist on New Mexico PBS In Focus, contributor on Forbes.com and a 2018 Women of Influence honoree.