There’s a new term circulating throughout the internet that has caught the attention of many employees and has left many employers sweating.
The phrase “quiet quitting” is gaining traction among Millennial and Generation Z workers. In fact, the hashtag #QuietQuitting has garnered nearly 90 million views on TikTok.
It’s no secret the current job market has been a turbulent one. Amid “The Great Resignation,” many workers have begun to reevaluate their current jobs and their values surrounding work in general.
We asked life and business coach and Arootah consultant Kirsten Franklin, esq., to weigh in on quiet quitting and share what both employers and employees can learn from this viral movement.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
The phrase quiet quitting refers, in essence, to employees not going “above and beyond” at their job—and doing the bare minimum so they don’t get fired.
Critics of the quiet quitting movement have expressed concern that adopting this mentality will damage careers. How can you keep a competitive edge and advance your career, they’ve asked, when you’re not going above and beyond at work?
However, workers who have adopted the practice of quiet quitting in their lives may feel they have more to gain by doing so. To these employees, quiet quitting means setting healthy boundaries and no longer doing additional work without compensation. These workers no longer feel obligated to “pick up the slack” in their companies without any incentive to do so.
Employees who are quiet quitting may very well be working jobs for companies that:
- Have taken advantage of their efforts
- Have underpaid their employees
- Haven’t prioritized work-life balance
Quiet quitters, then, are rarely working their dream job or satisfied with how their company treats them. And they don’t want to give their all for a job that only pays their bills.
Why Is Quiet Quitting Gaining Traction Now?
While many people have changed the way they work in recent years, the pandemic has accelerated the quiet quitting trend. Now, employers need to keep their ears open to voices within the quiet quitting movement if they want to retain their workforce.
Much of today’s workforce has been forced to reset and rediscover themselves. For many employees, a happy, fulfilled life might look different now than it did before the pandemic and these workers have become more critical of whether their jobs pay them enough to justify the loss of family time and lack of a balanced life. Employees are weighing whether a paycheck is sufficient to make them continually invest in their work life when it provides them no other fulfillment.
Meanwhile, many companies haven’t yet registered this change.
“Quiet quitting is gaining in popularity mostly because corporations haven’t caught up,” explains Franklin. Instead of surveying their current employees to identify their problems with the work culture and find solutions to address them, many organizations are just throwing more money at the problem, says Franklin.
Companies are worried about how they’ll adjust for the lost time and effort employees are no longer putting in, without understanding that they haven’t been paying for any of that effort up until now. They’ve been banking, in other words, on free resources that are no longer free.
“Regardless of whether you have a slight increase in income, more paid days off, or even improved benefits, this is not what most employees are seeking,” says Franklin.
Many employees realize they can ask for much more. And if they aren’t getting their needs met at your company, they can and will go somewhere else.
Until then, they will quietly quit.
Quiet Quitting: What Employers and Employees Need to Know
Today, it’s an employee’s market. If employers don’t figure out how to address quiet quitting rather quickly, they’re going to lose out on talent, Franklin says.
It’s also important for both employers and employees to look at the bigger picture.
Employers should ask themselves…
- Is my company taking action to improve?
- How is this action being guided?
Employees also need to understand their own needs and desires…
- Do I, as an employee, feel heard?
- What is it that I truly value in a job?
- Do I value money, flexibility, benefits, or an excellent culture?
You get to decide what makes a job worth it for you. The best way to do this, says Franklin, is to take a moment (or several) to truly evaluate your needs and desires.
“For some [employees], it has been so long, stuck in the grind on autopilot with the only mile marker being increased pay and a new title…that they don’t even know what would make them feel fulfilled,” says Franklin. “And that is OK, as long as they’re taking action to figure it out.”
If those things make you feel fulfilled, that’s great.
But quiet quitting a job you’re not passionate about may not help you change your overall career trajectory in the way, for example, joining a new company that better fits with your values could.
How Employees and Employers Can Create a Win-Win Situation
Without clarity, Franklin notes that neither “side” will get this right. The path forward, she says, is to forge a community that chooses to go the distance together.
As an employee, deep down, you know your values best. You know what you need and want, and although you might be afraid to take that next step, you should take the time to draft your action plan. If your employer refuses to listen to your new standards, it may be time to reevaluate your place in the company and start looking for your next opportunity.
As an employer, you need to really listen to your employees and evaluate how you’re going to retain your workforce.
Are you willing to pay top dollar for top talent?
If not, that’s fine…but don’t expect the quiet quitting generation to give their all to a job that doesn’t offer them commensurate compensation.
Both employer and employee should feel as though they’re getting the best deal possible out of their employment agreement. Not every company is right for every employee, and vice versa, so make sure you evaluate who you want to work for and with, as well as how you can maintain those standards.
The Bottom Line
To create greater meaning and fulfillment at work, employees and employers need to make major shifts in their lives, work culture, and leadership roles. Quiet quitting has become just one tactic employees have begun to use in this quest to find balance.
If you need guidance on your career or how your company can do a better job of meeting your employees’ needs, coaching can be a great solution.
Sometimes, “you can’t see the picture when you are in it,” notes Franklin. That’s why it can be helpful to have others on your side to help identify the best course of action.
We have specific Arootah Career Coaching for this very purpose. Learn more about how you can create opportunity for yourself or your organization.