“Do you hate your job, and you’re thinking about quitting? Well, maybe try being lazy instead.”
– Byran Creeley
It all started with a YouTube Video and a TikTok trend in March 2022 by a man called Byran Creeley, a career coach based in the United States. One reshare after another, the term ‘quiet quitting’ became a sensation, even being featured in the Collins Dictionary’s top 10 words of the year for 2022.
Since the term went viral, many have said goodbye to the hustle and hello to coasting culture. A phenomenon which has seen workers across the globe reassess how they find meaning and understand their worth in the workplace.
So what is ‘quiet quitting’?
In simple terms, it’s quitting your job without actually quitting your job: essentially putting a boundary in place to preserve both physical and emotional energy in the workplace that may have never existed. It has been coined as a passive-aggressive way of communicating workplace dissatisfaction. Quiet quitting can come in many forms: for some, it’s starting and finishing on time, not volunteering for extra work, or even becoming isolated from the team and working social events. But with more than 50% of employees in the United States quietly quitting, what once was a TikTok trend is now becoming a terrifying reality. But long before the term was coined people were quietly quitting.
With COVID redefining where and how we work, even transparency on mental health, there is little room to question why quiet quitting has become so popular. There is less pressure on defining worth based on career success, which had previously resulted in frequent burnouts in the workplace.
For businesses, quiet quitting presents severe consequences, with the number of unengaged employees rising by 68%, resulting in low productivity and employee morale. Quiet quitting can also hugely impact the business’ profitability: employees who are more engaged with their work are 23% more likely to improve their business’ profitability comparable to those who aren’t. Quiet quitting is a pandemic within itself: it’s contagious. Once one employee begins, it spreads like wildfire amongst your team. After some time, it can lead to high employee turnover, which ultimately stunts your business’ growth.
Despite its controversy, quiet quitting provides business leaders with a unique opportunity for company growth. By listening to what your employees need, rather than ignoring the problem at hand, you’re increasing workplace transparency, which has been previously proven to increase employee morale and engagement. Asking for employee feedback on current processes and expectations highlights their value in the workplace, which can help tackle the need to quietly quit, you’re providing them with a safe space to voice their dissatisfaction. Your employees should understand that their legacy is valued in the company, especially when 65% of employees feel as though their work goes unrecognised.
It’s also vital to prioritise the well-being of your employees since that is a key deciding factor in whether someone does or does not quietly quit. Weekly check-ins or coffee mornings can go a long way in improving employee well-being, and again, helps your workplace become more transparent. Even being flexible with working arrangements can be highly beneficial in tackling quiet quitting.
Quiet quitting is a huge learning curve for business leaders. But, by being transparent with employees, you are not helping them feel valued and improve their employee experience, you are also helping your business grow.
Your employees will thank you, even if they do thank you quietly.
Gee Stencel | They/Them
Strategic Operations Manager