“Quiet Quitting” is the most recent catchphrase ringing in workplaces. Popularized by TikTok, the term has given rise to (serious) conversations among employees and employers alike. Now let’s answer the million-dollar question, shall we?

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is said to be a process where employees only complete tasks within their job descriptions. Many employees have concisely said that they simply would not go above and beyond for their jobs.

However, this catchphrase may not strike a chord with you as an employer, recruiter, manager, or HR professional. And rightly so. Who wants to hire someone that does the barest minimum at their job?

So what now? Well, you must learn to adapt to this new trend if you want to retain excellent talents—first things first. This does not necessarily mean that you accept your employees’ bare minimum. Instead, it means you take actionable steps to improve work-life balance.

So how do you go about this? We will get to that but before then, let’s discuss if quiet quitting is really something to be worried about.

How can quiet quitting affect the performance of a worker?

Quiet quitting may not necessarily affect the performance of your employees. At least not immediately. After all, it is not like they do not want to do the work they have been employed for; they just have no interest in going beyond that. But this is not music to the ears of employers, is it?

Because for brands targeting hyper-growth, everyone has to bring their A-game and let’s face it; quiet quitting is anything but A-game. Besides, quiet quitting does not give off an “I am happy at my job” aura. If anything, it suggests the opposite. The reason is we spend so much time working, so, given a choice, most people would choose a job (and a workplace) that leaves them fulfilled.

The point is: If your workers are quiet quitting, you may be seeing a sign of exhaustion, low-employee morale, and low engagement, all of which ultimately affects the performance of a worker and even lead them to quit completely.

How can employers and managers adapt to quiet quitting?

To adapt to the quiet quitting phenomenon is to ensure that you are doing right by your employees (as stated earlier). That said, here are some tips to help you stop your employees from quiet quitting:

  1. Have an honest conversation with your employees.

    Notice we didn’t just write “have a conversation.” This is because people don’t want to be patronized. If you are going to have a conversation with them, you might as well have a sincere one that stirs emotions and yields results.

    Do this by acknowledging that there might be a problem (even if you think all is perfect). Then, communicate your intention to make the culture at your workplace as healthy as possible to them and request insights that can make that happen.

    To make things less awkward, make it an anonymous process—let employees write their recommendations (and complaints) without including their names. If your workplace is remote, consider using anonymous Google Forms.

  2. Don’t nudge your employees out of the workplace; aka don’t “quiet fire” them

    As you may have guessed, quiet firing is the (almost) direct opposite of quiet quitting. It occurs when an employee is forced to “quiet quit” or quit entirely because of hostile work dynamics created by the employer. In employment law, it is referred to as constructive dismissal/ discharge/ termination.

    Some example scenarios include:
    • Denying employees of information critical to their jobs.
    • Delaying/ withholding promotions.
    • Withdrawal of development opportunities.
    A not-so-fun fact, it happens frequently.

    A poll by LinkedIn News showed that 83% of people have either seen quiet firing happen to a co-worker or experienced it themselves. Comments from the respondents further indicated that they either quit entirely or started quiet quitting once they noticed they were being quiet-fired.

    So an excellent way to ensure that your organization stays on top of quiet quitting is to establish management practices that identify (and resolve) quiet firing dynamics.

  3. Pay attention to your employees and reward good work

    The hurtful truth is that quiet quitting is often a consequence of bad management. Many employees would be happy to do more than is required if they are seen and rewarded for it.

    What does this mean? It is not enough to say the routine “How are you?” or “Thank you” to your employees. To ensure that your team members find the job bearable (at least) and engage, you must recognize their efforts. Did they stay late? Did they come in on their off-days? Did your social media manager design two extra posts? Recognize and appreciate it. A statement like “I appreciate that you designed two extra posts; I think they will go a long way in attracting engagements” will make a social media manager that has done extra work feel valuable and essential to the company’s growth.

    Additionally, reward them. Not after they have done extra work, but before. Buy lunch for them, develop social events and awards night, offer additional time off, highlight their contributions on social media or write a newsletter with congratulatory notes.

Before long, you will have a team eager not just to work but to work hard to get the job done (and the rewards that come with it).