Quiet Quitting, or performing work at the most basic minimal level, has been a recent buzzword in business media. It has been covered everywhere from popular morning shows to news articles. This seemingly recent phenomena is a hot topic to say the least. However, the truth is that this concept is not anything new, and has actually been around for quite some time.
In a recent sample taken by ResumeBuilder, nearly a quarter of the modern American workforce is doing the bare minimum to get by at their jobs. So, why is this happening? What is the cause? The answer is a simple concept that we are all familiar with, burnout. Employees are feeling overworked, undervalued, and underappreciated at work.
What Causes Quiet Quitting?
According to Equity Theory, equity occurs when an individual’s inputs match their corresponding outputs. In other words, when employees feel like the work they’re putting in is being rewarded accordingly, the ratio is balanced and they remain content at work. When this balance is skewed such that the inputs (higher) do not match the outputs (lower), individuals will generally seek to remedy this imbalance through a variety of methods.
Among these are behaviors that we can either relate to or are familiar with, including (but not limited to) absenteeism, tardiness, and time banditry. These all fall under the umbrella of counterproductive work behaviors. Alternatively, and as is the case with Quiet Quitting, employees can simply reduce their inputs to match their perceived outputs.
The Real Culprits
Bad managers. An extensive study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that quiet quitting is not necessarily the result of lazy employees, but rather unconnected and insufferable managers. Quiet Quitting is often a reaction to managers who are biased or behaving inappropriately with their responsibilities. It is ultimately avoidable with appropriate interventions and commitments.
Every single employee has their own unique preferences, circumstances, and motivators when it comes to their workplace performance. Some employees are primarily motivated or satisfied at their jobs by the sheer dollar amount they are paid. Others prefer autonomy, and some simply seek praise and recognition for their efforts.
This is why it is absolutely critical that managers create meaningful, personal connections with their employees to recognize their mood and performance in the workplace. Regular check-ins, monthly and brief team-building exercises, and providing flexibility are among some key strategies that managers and supervisors can employ. As a result, these can influence their subordinates as a means of minimizing Quiet Quitting and building employee morale.
The modern workforce is simply not buying into the hustle culture of committing 100% of their work ethic and capabilities on the job. But organizations must adapt to the demands of their workforce. It can begin by executive leadership recognizing what the talent pool expects from employers. Trusting employees with their work tasks while minimizing micromanagement may seem alarming at first, but such an investment may very well pay off with improved performance from employees and reduced quiet quitting.
Rahul Chauhan, Ph.D.
Associate and McCray Professor of Business Management