Photo Credit: TIME
Many businesses are on edge as a result of the pandemic. It has unquestionably harmed executives and staff members for more than two years. As a result, a TikTok trend called ‘quiet quitting’ became popular and is attributed to long work hours, stress, and understaffed businesses.
The phrase has received a lot of incorrect interpretations. Others believe it to mean simply quitting a job or doing the bare minimum in one’s current position. However, leadership coach Kathy Caprino asserted that it is neither.
“It’s about stopping doing work that people think is beyond what they were hired to do and not getting compensated for,” said Caprino.
Employees should still perform the task for which they are compensated to the highest standard, according to an engineering consultant, but they should avoid taking on tasks that are outside the scope of their duties because doing so will only lead to stress in the long run.
“While I was in my 9-to-5 job, I was still working my 40 hours a week. I was still fulfilling my job duties. I was just taking away that feeling of stress I had,” said the consultant.
The pandemic and its changes to the work environment
As a result of the pandemic, employees frequently accept tasks for which they are not compensated. As a result of the widespread layoffs and the unexpected changes in the environment brought on by the lockdown, many business executives gave their remaining employees additional duties.
According to Chis Edmonds, CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, employees became frustrated due to employers’ assertion of returning to the in-person system. In addition, only 24% of American workers believe their managers are concerned about their well-being, according to a poll conducted in March 2022.
“It’s on [managers] to genuinely and authentically understand where people are coming from. One of the things [supporting] innovation is … radical prioritization by employees and managers and leaders,” stated Simone Ahuja, a Fortune 500 strategic consultant.
Explaining quiet quitting
Quiet quitting entails letting go of the assigned work that was not included in the job description when you were hired. Although there is no justification for the trend, most employees felt that, given the current environment, burnout brought on by the pandemic might be the main driver of this.
Employees have a hard time opening up and admitting to managers they are burned out at work, according to Ashley Herd, founder of ManagerMethod.com. Herd continues that although managers typically say they will act, nothing actually happens. Therefore, they decide to ‘quietly quit.’
“[Quiet quitting may be an employee’s way of] taking control and having boundaries. However, managers should be concerned if their expectation is for people to go above and beyond constantly. It doesn’t serve anyone if you burn out,” she explained.
It might also indicate that employees have brought in new priorities irrelevant to their jobs. It wouldn’t necessarily mean that the worker won’t continue to do a good job. According to Ahuja, many people are becoming more interested in finding their identity than the work they are paid to do. This is a result of the pandemic-related urge to enjoy every moment of life.
Managers have an important role
It’s important to understand what your team is exploring, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to employees quietly quitting. Ahuja advised managers to have a solid knowledge of each employee’s goals both inside and outside the organization.
“Have a genuine inquiry — people feel cared about when they’re invited into a co-design process. Ultimately, we all want to be in a sandbox that’s fun to play in.”
“If you don’t understand the internal state of your employees, things are going to happen that you’re going to be blindsided by. We have to show that we are committed as leaders, that we’re involved and that we’re invested.”
Edmonds went on to say that managers ought to interact with staff members and strengthen relationships. “The responsibility of employers is to find out what people perceive as fair, then don’t do anything less than that.”