Everywhere I look on social media, there’s that new term scaring employers: Quiet Quitting.
At first, it made me wonder…are people finding new ways to ghost their employers?
Turns out, that’s not what’s going on. The term itself is quite misleading. And after getting my hands on the viral TikTok that started the trend, I learned that quiet quitting actually means people are still meeting their job expectations, while also dialing back engagement so they can prioritize other aspects of life. That’s NOT a new concept.
In fact, depending on what’s currently going on in our personal lives, many of us fluctuate between how much time we can give to work and to our family, friends, and communities. And that’s a good thing – for both people and businesses.
The conversation and buzz around the quiet quitting concept means that leaders must remember one thing: individuals own their own choices and have the power to determine how they spend their time.
As a leader, it’s important to recognize that if people are getting their work done – while also setting up boundaries and protecting their personal time – it’s a behavior that should be encouraged.
Why? Because by finding ways to rejuvenate and maintain their health and well-being in and out of work, your employees are more likely to continue to meet their job requirements and less likely to really quit.
So, what should leaders do as quiet quitting picks up momentum?
- Set clear expectations. Employees are looking at their job descriptions to make sure they are meeting the requirements, so it’s a good time for you to re-look at those job descriptions too. Does the job description and development plan accurately describe what is required in a particular role or have you only stated the bare minimum? Are the expectations reasonable and fair to complete within the time a person is expected to be at work?
- Double down on your company’s purpose. Gallup notes that employee engagement is at an all-time low. When employees feel tied to the mission or purpose of an organization, they are more likely to become disengaged or leave the organization. Think about your employees. Do they feel connected to your company’s purpose? Are they able to connect the dots between their day-to-day and feel they are contributing to a greater purpose that fulfills them? How are you communicating and ensuring that employees at all levels and roles can make this connection?
- Update the employee experience. Employees today are looking for belonging, flexibility, and purpose at work. This requires organizations to put themselves in the shoes of their employees and look at what they are asking of individuals. Where do individuals feel most satisfied and fulfilled? What are they willing to compromise on? How and when are they being seen and rewarded for their contributions?
- Role-model balance yourself. Leaders should be role-modeling balance and be fair in the asks they have of employees. Team members are much more motivated to work for a fair and empathetic leader than one who has unreasonable expectations. This doesn’t mean never having to ask your team to go above and beyond to respond to an unexpected request or shifting deadline, but it does mean knowing what to prioritize to the team isn’t expected to be ready and willing to drop everything to put out fires on a daily basis with no concern for work-life balance.
To sum it up, leaders shouldn’t fear the term “quiet quitting,” and should instead reframe it as a strategy for employee retention and productivity enhancement. By creating an environment where people want to do their best, but are empowered to better balance their time, people and organizations will thrive.