A Look at the Quiet Quitting Phenomenon

Employees who only put in the bare minimum effort, fulfilling their job requirements without going above and beyond, can create problems, such as not always meeting the high expectations of customers

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If you have your finger on the pulse of the American workplace, you’ve probably heard the phrase “quiet quitting.”

To call it a trend may actually be an understatement; a recent Gallup poll notes that at least half of the workforce is made up of “quiet quitters,” making this a phenomenon that employers can’t ignore.

But what is quiet quitting, exactly? And how does it affect small-business owners? Let’s take a closer look at this concept and its implications for employers.

Quiet quitting defined

Gallup offers a simple definition of quiet quitting, using the term to denote employees who “are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description.” The term has become a popular descriptor on social media and has understandably caused concern among business owners and team leaders.

What makes quiet quitting so worrisome? For one thing, employees who only put in the bare minimum effort, fulfilling their job requirements without going above and beyond, aren’t always able to meet the sky-high expectations of customers. In addition, team leaders might argue that some extra effort is needed to effectively collaborate with other employees or to seek creative solutions to pressing concerns.

There’s also the matter of employee engagement. Quiet quitters are by definition disengaged with their work, and a lack of engagement is closely linked with absenteeism, low morale, low productivity, and beyond.

Causes of quiet quitting (and what to do about it)

The quiet quitting phenomenon may be alarming, but before panicing, it’s worth taking a minute to consider why it’s happening. Here, the Gallup research is especially revelatory: Basically, most instances of quiet quitting can be attributable to poor management, specifically a lack of clear expectations and a lack of opportunity for professional development.

As such, there are some steps to consider for minimizing quiet quitting within your organization. Consider:

  • Make sure your managers are engaged. If quiet quitting stems from bad management, your first step should be making sure your managers develop the skills needed to communicate clearly and engage employees.
  • Have conversations with your employees. Managers should also be ready to have one-on-one conversations with their employees about things like career goals and life circumstances. Only front-line managers will be equipped to have these discussions on an individual level.
  • Provide clarity about roles. Leaders and managers can also provide employees with clear, detailed parameters for what their roles entail and how those roles contribute to the big picture. Providing employees with a clear sense of purpose can be a critical safeguard against quiet quitting.

It seems likely that the quiet quitting phenomenon will continue for the foreseeable future, and it’s something business leaders should be aware of. That said, understanding what causes quiet quitting can provide some strategies for how to combat it, and how to keep your team members fully locked-in with their work.

About the Author

Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.


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