The pandemic introduced all of us to new trends and buzzwords. Some stayed. Some faded away. Some were positive, while others had a negative impact on employers and employees worldwide. Quiet quitting is one such phenomenon that continues to baffle many employers.
Want to know more about it?
Manan Sharma, Director and Country Head of HR & Admin, India, Blaize, was at greytHR's Parichay webinar to answer all the basic and advanced questions about quiet quitting.
If you have an unanswered question lingering in your mind, read on. This blog post features the edited excerpts of this interesting conversation.
The expression quiet quitting doesn't mean that the employees actually quit their jobs. Rather, it means they perform only their bare minimum duties. Those who indulge in quiet quitting decide not to put in extra effort or spend more time for their organisation. This behaviour usually stems from demotivation or stress at work.
Quiet quitters suddenly stop communicating and being proactive. Since many work from home or follow a hybrid model, they might choose to come to the office rarely. Such people might also have a negative mindset. As a result, project timelines and customer commitments might also get delayed. These are some of the visible signs of quiet quitting.
The pandemic was a professional crisis. People got isolated from groups, and the physical connect was missing. There was burnout. So, when things became normal, people decided to relax and take a break.
Frontline managers are also responsible to a large extent. When they are tired, they stop connecting with their teams frequently. Here's where communication breakdown happens.
Organisations seem to be in a hurry to bring people back to the office. But it's difficult for people to shrug off the inertia in a jerk. They need time to adapt. If not, they'll get frustrated and indulge in quiet quitting. Or else, they might choose to move on!
One way to gauge the level of quiet quitting is by launching a competition for process improvement, new ideas or innovation. How does that help? If the level of participation is less than 40%, then the indication is clear! Another strategy is to organise a ‘fun at work' activity. If the employee turnout is less, that's another indicator.
About $1.5 trillion is the estimated annual cost of quiet quitting. If people just do what they have to do, the organisation loses out on the opportunities to innovate. When innovation slows down, it could impact revenues. In such cases, some organsiations are even taking aggressive steps to deal with this challenge. Many have made it mandatory for employees to work from the office. Although it's a normal move, a knee-jerk reaction can exacerbate the current situation. Employees should be brought back gently and gradually so they feel comfortable.
Quiet quitters start missing deadlines and lose the trust of their managers who assign low-value work to them. At this juncture, they know that their growth has been stunted. Hence, they continue to stay in the same job but remain disengaged. Eventually, these team members lose self-confidence since their peers perform better and get promoted.
Employees have to be motivated to do what they are passionate about. Managers must discuss their team members' interests and areas of improvement, and document the same for future reference. Employees must be made aware of what it takes to perform and grow in the organisation. They should also be given the opportunity and resources for the same. If this happens, employees start having more confidence and control over their career paths. This leads, in turn, results in higher motivation and elimination of quiet quitting.
The moment this phenomenon starts playing out in a team, frontline and HR managers should be able to put the finger on it. They should be trained well to make this happen. If the managers themselves are quiet quitting, employees will find it harder to handle the challenge. Therefore, it is good to bring all quiet quitters to the office and have a face-to-face conversation. This reveals a lot about their emotional stature, and it becomes easier to offer a remedy.
A study of 2000+ Indian knowledge workers revealed that 54% of them are burned out, and 81% want more meaning from their job.
The employer has to make sure that there is a career path for every job that exists in the company. The next step is understanding the training needs and creating common/customised programs for all employees. The training for top performers can be more advanced.
All of this can help curb quiet quitting.
IoT, AI, VR and other digital ecosystems help create a learning environment. They also simplify and accelerate the day-to-day tasks of humans. Technology can help gather data from employees and perform sentiment analysis accurately and quickly. Simple tasks can be automated. Employees should also be able to give anonymous feedback on a platform. When technology enables all of this, employees are motivated to do more for their organisation.
Quiet quitters are also humans! They may have lost their way. Hence, it is important to deal with them humanely. Such people should not be treated as liabilities, since they could be capable of being more effective and productive if treated appropriately. The employer has to do what it takes to empathise with them and guide them back before it is too late.
Deal with quiet quitters as possibilities. These can be possibilities of innovation, possibilities of higher productivity and possibilities of a great work environment. Manan Sharma, Director and Country Head of HR & Admin, India, Blaize
Usually, quiet quitting is about sentiments. Managers must know how to judge the mental state and motivation level of the people in their organisation. If an employee is not feeling engaged, or valued, then the frontline and HR managers should know how to assist them.
Conflict management and persuasion are some of the aspects that come to the fore when talking about human engagements. Managers and HR have to be thoroughly trained on
these aspects. Capable managers can play a pivotal role in preventing quiet quitting in any organisation.