Is Quiet Quitting Just A Cry For Help?

Workers don’t want to quiet quit, they do so because they can’t get want they need from managers and company leadership.

September 29, 2022

If 2021 was the era of the Great Resignation, then 2022 – 2023 looks poised to be the time of Quiet Quitting. According to data released by Gallup in the third quarter of 2022, at least 50% of the workforce is quiet quitting. They’re doing the absolute minimum work required for their job. And that could spell trouble for all businesses, especially small businesses ill-positioned to absorb a sharp decline in worker productivity. The bad news is that quiet quitting is spreading with pop-memes, TikToks, and op-eds that sometimes encourage and celebrate the trend. But the good news is that most businesses have the power to address the root causes of quiet quitting.

Signs of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting is often difficult to spot because it sometimes it looks similar to timidness or extreme focus under certain circumstances. So, let’s take a look at a few signs of quiet quitting.

Disengagement during meetings.
If someone consistently fails to ask questions or offer comments during team/company meetings it could be a sign that they are quiet quitting.

Reduced productivity.
If an employee’s productivity decreases, and other workers begin to complain about picking up the slack, this could be a sign of quiet quitting.

Chronic tardiness.
In the midst of quiet quitting, some people aim to “target” arrive exactly on time (not a minute early). Of course, this is almost impossible to do so they end up being chronically late.

Refusal of “unnecessary” conversations.
If it’s not about their job, they’re not interested in discussing it. Quiet quitters don’t want to do any additional intellectual labor to solve company problems or contribute “outside their lane.”

It’s important to note that the signs of quiet quitting are similar to the signs of burnout, and oftentimes the two are connected. Many employees quiet quit because they’re overworked or feeling hopeless about career advancement. Let’s take a deeper dive into why some employees may quiet quit.

Reasons For Quiet Quitting

Beneath the bravado of some quiet quitters who take pride in avoiding the hustle and grind associated with advancing in a career, there is a sense of frustration and disappointment underpinning quiet quitters’ complaints. Let’s take a look at some reasons given for quiet quitting.

Heavy workload.
Many quiet quitters feel burdened by heavy workloads that leave them too tired and stressed to do anything else.

Poor compensation.
Being underpaid for the work they did is a top complaint of quiet quitters.

Disrespectful managers and the devaluation of a worker’s contribution is another top reason quiet quitters give for doing just the bare minimum.

Toxic work environment.
Work environments that harm the mental and emotional well-being of a worker seem to fuel the quiet quitting trend.

It’s almost never “laziness” that causes a worker to quiet quit.

How To Inoculate Your Company Against Quiet Quitting

Most employees don’t join a company just to quiet quit a few years later. They join with the hope of doing work that will make a positive impact on society. So, when employees quiet quit it’s usually because they’ve lost faith in the company and its leadership. Here’s what you can do to restore hope and trust.

Ask for anonymous feedback.
Give employees an opportunity to critique leadership, the work environment, and management. Distribute an anonymous online survey or hire an outside firm to gather employee feedback. No matter what route you choose, it’s critical that you accept their feedback without becoming defensive. This is the first step to restoring trust.

Limit overtime and heavy workloads.
Most employees understand that at some point in their career they may need to take on extra work or work longer hours to get through a crunch. But crunch times that seem to never end can cause burnout. If you want to avoid driving your employees to quiet quit, make sure that overtime demands and workload increases are temporary.

Compensate workers fairly.
Make sure that you’re paying competitive wages and that you have a system for increasing pay according to the amount of value employees deliver. It’s important that your system for pay increases is communicated to everyone in the company. This way, employees know that if they go above and beyond in their job, they will be compensated for it.

Build team cohesion.
Organize team gatherings (e.g., retreats and meetings) that focus on team building. But limit these gatherings to work hours and be sure to offer something extra to attendees (e.g., catered lunch, raffle prizes, entertainment).

Respect work/life boundaries.
Prohibit managers from sending after-hours work emails and texts to workers. And encourage employees to take time off for vacation, sick leave, and family emergencies. If there is a genuine emergency that requires you to interrupt a worker’s personal time, apologize and compensate them appropriately for the disruption. As a matter of fact, if you run a business that often has after-hours emergencies, consider creating a monthly rotation of employees who can be on-call after work hours so that emergencies don’t repeatedly fall on the same people.

Provide mental health services.
Everyone has just gone through a 2-year global pandemic, and people are stressed. As employees return to work, they may be struggling with depression, complex grief, and anxiety. Consider offering free or low-cost access to mental health services to your workers.

Reform or remove toxic workers.
Every workplace has one or two toxic individuals. These individuals may gossip, stir up drama, and abuse others. Identify these toxic people, offer them an opportunity to change, and fire them if they don’t reform. Removing toxic workers can create a more inviting workplace for everyone.

At the heart of it, workers don’t want to quiet quit, they do so because they can’t get want they need from managers and company leadership. If you’re willing to get to the root to worker frustration and implement policies that increase worker satisfaction, then quiet quitting won’t silently infect your organization.

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If you have any questions about franchising, please contact the experienced franchise and business law attorneys at West Coast Franchise Law today at (206) 903-0401 to discuss your situation. Nate Riordan is a 2023 Franchise and Bankruptcy Super Lawyer with over 20 years expertise helping clients achieve their business goals.