Quiet quitting is way more than a TikTok phenomenon, it’s a global epidemic. Unhappy workers are doing the least amount of work necessary to not be fired. Quiet quitting encompasses dissatisfaction, is a rejection of climbing the corporate ladder, and is a way to create boundaries and stop burnout before it happens.
A Forbes article written by guest contributor Neil Hare offered an interesting perspective on quiet quitting. Hare said that while quiet quitting is nothing new, the idea of having happiness within the workplace is new. In the last thirty years, there’s been a pendulum swing from the expectation that workers will be happy simply having a job to the expectation of being happy within one’s job. It could be argued that this dichotomy is still prevalent, particularly as the battle of return to the office, hybrid work and work from home continues to simmer among employers and employees.
To make this even more complicated, we’re living in a time of incredible change, most of it out of our control. The pandemic left an incredible mark on people and how they look at their personal and work life. Employees were expected to work from home and then just when they were getting comfortable were told to go back to the office again. We also live in a time of rapid technological change. 24/7 mobile communications are the norm and now there’s an impending threat of artificial intelligence (AI) eliminating jobs within the workforce. It can be hard to feel comfortable or engaged amidst such massive and continuous change.
There is also a new generation of workers who will in just two years make up one-fourth of the workforce. Gen Z are digital natives who came of age during a global pandemic. As members of the Traditionalist and Baby Boomer demographics retire, there will soon be a new guard in place.
Each of these elements are principal issues, but they are difficult to separate for employers and employees. Expectations are varied and unless there is a willingness to acknowledge these differences and look for ways to create solutions, these will be ongoing problems that will continue to fester. For example, turning quiet quitting into loud, disruptive quitting.
Creating a Better Workplace
Within the workplace, quiet quitting is synonymous with disengagement. Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace found 6 in 10 employees are quietly quitting their organization. This is true globally and, in the U.S., and Canada. The good news is that these disengaged employees know what they need to become engaged. Better and more trusted management are needed to find out directly how to help employees move from disengaged to thriving in their role.