Quiet Quitting Is Taking Over the Workforce. Here’s How to Fix It.
opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The last few weeks on social media have introduced a new term in conversations about work culture – “quiet quitting”. There has been a lot of talk about the phenomenon after it went viral on TikTok, and journalists and LinkedIn gurus have been keen to offer their take on the trend.
All from Arianna Huffington to The New York Times commented on the topic and it caused a storm of conversation. Often these opinions are a total dichotomy, but where everyone could agree is that a quiet cessation seems to represent a breakdown in communication and connection – one we all need to fix.
See Also: “Dream Jobs Are Dead”: Quiet Quiet is the TikTok trend encouraging employees to take it easy at work
What is quiet cessation?
For the Millennials and Gen-Zers who popularized the idea of quietly quitting, it’s the antithesis of the toxic “hustle culture” that has plagued them for the past decade or so. Additionally, following the significant upheaval and significant changes in the workplace during the pandemic, it was seemingly inevitable that some would reclaim their autonomy by any means necessary.
Against a backdrop of breakneck competitiveness, peer comparisons, and an ever-available culture of pervasive technology, many people have experienced poor mental health and burnout. This led to a first breaking point in the form of the Great Resignation, and now some workers are again proudly speaking of quiet surrender.
For these individuals, quiet quitting is the process of coming to work to meet the minimum requirements of your role for the time you are there, and then leaving. No overtime offers, no exceeding your set commitments, no going the extra mile. It is the tacit withdrawal of additional manpower to alleviate what is perceived as unreasonable pressure.
For some senior executives, however, quietly quitting is far more troubling and something employees should back away from. In a viral post on the subject, Arianna Huffington wrote, “Quieting quietly isn’t just about quitting a job, it’s a step toward life.”
Whatever your take on the matter, the problem seems to be that everyone believes they are right – leading to a worrying lack of meaningful connection between employers and employees. I would like to suggest that the disconnection that quietly quitting represents can be remedied through effective workplace communication.
See Also: 8 Ways to Avoid Silently Quitting Your Team
Conflicts and exclusion in the workplace
A Gallup report from 2022 states that only 21% of employees now rate themselves as engaged at work.
While on the rise for a number of years, that 21% represents stagnation in wellbeing and engagement metrics. Of course, the biggest starting point for this is Covid-19. In 2021, as countries began to reopen after the pandemic and many people returned to the office, commuting five days a week suddenly seemed expensive and unnecessary. The work itself may just have seemed less meaningful given the trauma of the pandemic.
Millions of employees have reassessed their priorities and reinvented their relationships with their employers and roles. For people who didn’t feel (and still don’t) that organizations communicated transparently with them, quietly stopping is a reasonable response. For CEOs and others who haven’t had access to the voices of employees telling them how they’re feeling, it might be something that’s harder to understand.
Fortunately, good communication is one of the best salve for disagreements and conflicts. The question in many organizations is how to communicate better so that employers and employees can enjoy a healthy and successful relationship. How can we reconnect so everyone feels informed and part of a community with a healthy relationship to work?
See also: “Silent Firing” is taking the workplace by storm. what is it exactly
How you can help reengage and reconcile
Building a communication culture means creating something that goes beyond top-down push messaging. It can help to empower employees to contribute and comment, conduct regular surveys to check sentiment (no, an annual eNPS survey isn’t enough), and give leaders visibility and presence. However you get there, it needs to be multidirectional and reached through a variety of communication channels.
From an organizational perspective, employers need to invest everything in their teams to get tasks done smoothly, maintain a healthy culture, and reward good work appropriately. But it is also necessary to build a vibrant community that everyone feels a part of. This includes connecting remote, frontline and deskless workers via mobile technologies or in-person events.
In turn, those employees who feel tacitly disconnected can reevaluate and acknowledge the efforts that have been made to listen and reconcile work with life. With better channels available for them to talk to, it’s hoped they too will want to reestablish a meaningful connection. That certainly doesn’t mean going back to work to burnout, it just means reopening the channels that quietly quitting suggests they’ve been closed.
Let’s not be quiet, let’s be loud – let’s dialogue and debate.
See also: How to build meaningful connections at work
How do modern workplaces get there?
Most enterprise-level organizations recognize that managing internal communications through a digital workspace is the best way to encourage employees to collaborate, innovate and, perhaps most importantly, communicate.
Transparent and engaging internal communication strategies capable of conducting open conversations today tend to mix workplace culture with employee recognition, values, DEI, company goals, strategic objectives and critical information.
In the most successful cases, gathering input from across the organization is linked to content from the leadership team, helping to drive greater engagement. And to combat work-related pressures, greater awareness of wellbeing and mental health initiatives ensures teams have all the resources available when they’re feeling anxious.
There is a need to re-evaluate internal communications and build bridges between everyone as we experience a moment that feels frayed. Through a combination of technology and expertise, any organization can reinvent and create a new type of workplace that minimizes conflict and encourages openness and engagement.