Maintaining employee satisfaction in the age of ‘quiet quitting’

In recent months, a new viral trend – ‘quiet quitting’ - has been taking the work scene by storm. But it’s not all that it seems.

Bar what you’d think, quiet quitting has nothing to do with quitting a job. Instead, it’s a form of establishing boundaries around working hours, and making a statement by not exceeding the job description.

Workers have started to question the notion of over-succeeding without sufficient recognition and compensation, and quiet quitters believe that work shouldn’t be the centre of a person’s life.

For employers, quiet quitting is a direct result of low engagement, and the answer to this is a people-first approach and a rethinking of the current structure. Employees should feel empowered to maintain boundaries, strike a healthy work-life balance and work flexibly, within a framework that upholds the values of the business.

In this post-pandemic era, there has been more emphasis surrounding the idea that wellbeing should be valued over productivity, and the ultimate aim of quiet quitters is to now shift how we identify our self-worth.

\\ Why are workers quiet quitting?

The question remains – why have workers resorted to doing the bare minimum at work?

To provide some insight, a study asked quiet quitters why they had decided to partake. The top three answers were:

  • It would compromise their work-life balance.
  • They don’t want to work more hours without additional pay.
  • It would compromise their mental health.

These findings demonstrate the negative effects that hustle culture can have, showing that workers don’t want to be in a situation where their work is a priority in their life, all for little reward. It also draws attention to mental health stigma in the workplace, making the link between excessive work and poor mental wellbeing.

All of this is reasonable, but employers are wary of the fact that this can be a coverup for lazy employees. And this can be dangerous - having one disengaged employee can become a problem for the whole team and given that those who are actively disengaged are usually very vocal about being so, this energy can disperse across the workforce.

To stop this, employers need to identify these less engaged individuals and make an effort to change their perception of work culture.

\\ Improving the employee experience

Employees that aren’t passionate about team culture are one and the same as those who participate in quiet quitting. You’ll notice that they’ll start to withdraw from the team, from having reduced commitment to tasks, to displaying less passion and enthusiasm for their role.

If you notice these attitudes within your workforce, consider the following to improve their engagement:


\\ Build trust

The first step is to establish and open dialogue between boss and worker. There should be frequent discussions regarding what motivates the individual, and what would be needed to help to improve their engagement.

Being a holistic leader and empowering your employees to express their needs will establish trust. Not only will this help people feel valued by the company, but it’ll allow them to bring their whole selves to work, as the lines between employer and employee become blurred.


\\ Encourage a positive work-life balance

Quiet quitters are adamant that their reasons for minimising their effort at work is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It would therefore be smart as a leader to incentivise a good equilibrium between personal and professional life.

To do this, employers should show an active interest in what their team does outside of work. Asking questions about their hobbies and interest will encourage workers to engage in creative pursuits.

Most importantly, it will let your employees know that you want them to have a good home life too, and that you care about them outside of them just being an asset to your team.


\\ Address work-load concerns

The worries surrounding the over-prioritisation of work stems from the concern over being overworked. This is why it’s imperative to get employee feedback when it comes to workload.

This should consist of honest and open conversation, talking about which tasks they find the most and least engaging. This grants you the opportunity to question what can be done to make their tasks align with their motivations in the future.

Employers can then get an idea of the projects that interest them the most, reinforcing the relationship by being attentive to what they enjoy.


\\ Talk about career progression

Having something to work towards can encourage employees to work harder. Making career progression a regular topic of discussion and providing upskilling opportunities can help your team to define their future career goals.

This would be complemented well with regular interviews to engage employees on their performance, their wellbeing, and their future aspirations. Through this, pain points can be addressed and overall, determine ways to improve the company culture in the long run.


\\ Where to go from here

So, whilst quiet quitting promotes healthy boundaries, mental health, and a good work-life balance, it can also be an excuse for unmotivated employees to disengage. Therefore, it’s crucial to actively address the problem as soon as you see it arise.

Disengaged employees want to see a shift from being viewed as a resource to being a valuable member of the team. It should be a priority for all to create a healthy work setting, through a people-first stance.

By implementing sufficient boundaries and managing realistic expectations, employers can go on to create a tailored and more engaging work environment that benefits and motivates everyone.


If you’re looking for assistance with your hiring strategy, get in touch with Matt Cary – / 020 3757 5000 or find out more about us here.

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Matt Cary

16th August

Hiring Advice