The first time I heard the term quiet quitting, I thought “What is that?!” Like, are people whispering, “I quit.” Are they ghosting their bosses? What does this mean?
You’ve probably heard the term recently, too, and wondered the same things… and more importantly thought, “How does this affect my team and my organization? Do I need to worry about it?”
First, why does this all matter and – as a business owner and CEO – why did it pique my interest? Because quiet quitting is potentially costing us engagement, productivity, and ultimately our company values and standards.
Here’s what I quickly learned when I dove into the topic:
Like a lot of trends, the term took the internet by storm over the past few months and it’s everywhere. Every media source has written or voiced their opinions and the #quietquitting hashtag currently has over 5 million views. So, even if you haven’t heard it, it’s likely your employees have – and it’s gotten them thinking in one way or another.
Despite the name, employees aren’t actually quitting. They’re choosing to do exactly what their job description entails…and no more. No weekend emails. No “live to work” mentality. No being on calls past business hours. People are looking for a balanced existence where work is a part of life, but not their entire life.
The days of hustle culture – for many – may be ending.
Why is this a hot topic right now?
There are a lot of thoughts on this. Some feel the employee cuts due to COVID put an unfair amount of responsibility on individuals, and they are overwhelmed, burnt out, and questioning their role. Many remember the days of their parents coming home with no cell phone or expectation of being online at all hours. And the youngest generation entering the workforce just isn’t interested in working at this pace without a clear understanding of why and what the work leads to. (They are more interested in purpose.)
Goals have changed. It seems we’ve come to a crossroads in technology, culture, and wellness. It’s a perfect storm leading to reassessment, intentional engagement, and thoughtful change – for everyone involved.
Therefore, as leaders, where is our responsibility and how do we manage our team’s needs, while still ensuring they are committed, engaged, and creative? What do we want successful roles to look like within our company?
Turns out this quaint term is a BIG topic.
With this being such a widely-debated topic, there’s no one better to chime in than three of the finest business thought leaders (who happen to call our exclusive speaker roster their home). We called on our in-house experts to help us understand more.
Three crucial things to know about quiet quitting:
- Quiet quitting isn’t new. Anton Gunn, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama and a leading expert on Socially Conscious Leadership, calmly reminds us that quiet quitting might be trending, but it’s been happening for years. “Quiet Quitting is not new. It has been around for decades. It’s where employees make an intentional decision to retreat from workplace ambition. Instead of seeking additional assignments, career advancement, or professional ambition, employees have decided to do the bare minimum to help the company achieve its goals. This phenomenon impacts productivity, morale, and bottom-line revenue. The best way to mitigate quiet quieting is to build an employee experience that is unique to the needs of individual employees.”
Anton’s advice? “This means businesses have to have managers and leaders with high empathy and high emotional intelligence to understand what employees need to be happy and fulfilled at work.”
- Quiet quitting is often about communicating needs and seeking purpose. Mark Sanborn, is an international bestselling author and award-winning keynote speaker on leadership, customer service, business growth, and organizational performance. Mark agrees with Anton that #quietquitting isn’t new: “Quiet quitting is a new name for an old problem: disengaged and uninspired employees doing enough to keep their jobs, and no more. What is unusual is that employees are now doing it overtly rather than covertly — and owning up to it. While calling this a cry for help, I believe it is a request for attention. Why am I not noticed, nor appreciated? What incentive is there for going above and beyond?”
Mark’s fix? It’s a process. “Start a dialogue with staff and leadership. Make sure everyone knows their roles and how they make a difference. Make each employee feel valued, appreciated, and known.”
- Quiet quitting is about a major shift in work mentality and it’s up to leadership to set new intentions. Steve Gutzler, speaker, author and respected authority on leadership and emotional intelligence believes that leaders must pay careful attention.
“Like it or not, there’s a major shift going on that leaders need to not only pay attention to, but proactively respond to, in an effort to attract, engage, and sustain great talent. Leaders should focus on these shifts, moving from an outdated culture to a new culture of purpose, leadership, appreciation, growth opportunities, team, and wellness.”
Steve’s solutions? Guide team members in finding purpose in their work beyond a paycheck. Create firm boundaries that allow staff to enjoy life and family guilt-free. Complete a major strategic assessment of what a healthy workplace looks like. Shift away from the old paradigm of corporate growth to a new vision of health and sustainable wellness.
I founded my business with goals in mind, and I’m constantly working to reassess those goals for my company’s future (a future built around my speakers, my clients, and my staff). I don’t want those goals to suffer because my employees aren’t engaged, feeling seen, or appreciated. I’m grateful to the individuals who have brought this idea to light and to the experts that help us to understand it for what it is… a shift in what is possible for our teams.
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