We were at the gym when my workout partner came to me very excited and told me of these videos she had watched about quiet quitting and I was like, ‘what’s that?’. She said, ‘go watch tiktok!’. I’m not on tiktok and I had no interest in joining this social media app (I still don’t!) but I had to pay attention to this one.
First of all, this is an aspect that has existed for a very long time, it is just now that someone has named it. It’s a term that has taken shape in 2022 following a video done by someone on tiktok on the subject. Basically, it refers to when employees do the bare minimum with regards to the performance of their duties and to do see or feel the need to go the extra mile to get the job done even if that’s what’s necessary. Someone has simply defined it as acting your wage. It is a form of disengagement that happens when employees are dissatisfied and as a result, they report to work, do their job and go home. Nothing more, nothing less. Generation Zers have popularized quiet quitting as it is believed that this is a generation that is not interested in breaking their back in order to please their employer.
Realistically speaking though, this happens to most employees, not necessarily Generation Zers, especially when they are dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction may arise from various reasons, including but not limited to, organizational culture, the job itself, poor leadership, lack of appreciation of employees and low salaries among others. When employees start to feel like going the extra mile doesn’t really pay or add value to the way their employer views their contribution to the organization, they rebel by putting in just enough effort to get the job done. They will ensure that they restrict their work to the normal office hours, refuse to take up calls outside of their working hours or even respond to what some employers refer to as ‘work emergencies’. Lack of belonging among employees, unclear communication from the employer, mistrust, feeling undervalued and inconsistencies with regards to how processes are handled would very easily result into quiet quitting.
This kind of attitude is not acceptable in any organization though. In the end, employment is a mutual agreement between two parties based on set expectations. Employers expect employees to go all in or go home all the time while employees expect their employers to provide them with the resources, environment financial and non financial support required for this. It doesn’t always happen like this though. There are several ways employers can support the employees so they feel valued. Recognition, promotion from within, financial appreciation for targets met etc. are among such ways. Creating ownership in the company amongst the employees would promote more a culture of pro-activeness and always doing their best. Sometimes it takes a simple ‘thank you’ from an employee for an employee to feel like they are actually doing something right. There are employers who will never tell their employees that they are doing a good job no matter how excellent the employee does it.
Post Covid-19, employers have realized that some roles don’t require employees to be physically present in the office for the job to get done. Remote or hybrid work arrangement has taken shape since the pandemic and companies are actually thriving in it. In an era where more and more employees are paying attention to their mental health, employers must craft workable arrangements that suit both parties. I cannot over emphasize the need for a conducive work environment. As employers, when you undertake those employee surveys and read responses like, ‘the work environment is toxic’, you need to establish exactly what toxicity means to your employees and do something about it.
As for employees, quiet quitting may a form of rebellion towards your employer, but it is also your duty to speak out on your concerns and expectations so that they may be addressed. Open communication is important because believe it or not, some employers don’t even realize that employees are feeling dissatisfied until it is expressly brought to their attention. You may call it lack of employee engagement but it is the reality in a number of companies.