Social media has popularised the idea of “quiet quitting,” in which disgruntled workers continue to collect a paycheck despite putting in as little effort as possible. The thinking behind this trend is that people shouldn’t be expected to work unpaid overtime and should be free to pursue interests outside of their jobs.
The idea is not new – it is commonly referred to as the “80-20 rule”, where 20% of a company’s workers end up responsible for producing 80% of its output. In light of the Great Resignation and the expansion of the gig economy, it’s worth understanding the driving factors behind “quiet quitting” today.
Do managers, business owners and human resources (HR) teams need to take a new approach towards this workplace phenomenon and retain their key workers?
This article discusses “quiet quitting” and explores the HR strategies for managing this trend and the challenges it brings.
Understanding “quiet quitting” in HR
Employees who are “quiet quitting” are not necessarily leaving their jobs. They are focused on having a better work-life balance, which is as simple as meeting one’s minimum obligations every day and moving on with their life.
More than 17 million people have watched content with the hashtag #QuietQuitting on the video platform TikTok, created mostly by adult GenZ workers. The term has been used in press articles worldwide and the buzz has now reached social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Microsoft surveyed 30,000 employees and found that 54% of Generation Z workers are considering leaving their current job. Ultimately, the biggest challenge for this younger segment of the global workforce is dealing with burnout, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We don’t know how serious the mental toll of the lockdown was yet, especially for younger workers who were single and spent extra time alone. The result was a pent-up desire for human contact and activities apart from work, much of which continues to take place online through Zoom calls. The constant need to be online, often at odd hours, combined with burnout and job insecurities, has disillusioned many of these workers with the job market.
We live in an era where the gig economy allows people to earn the same or more than they would in a traditional 9-to-5 job but without the associated constraints of time and routine. Furthermore, many workers – especially younger ones, are content to forego some of the stability and benefits of a regular 9–5 schedule. They desire more meaningful work that offers the flexibility, mobility and time freedom that technology has enabled, allowing them to balance their work and personal lives in fulfilling ways.
Employers, HR teams and managers should understand that this trend does not necessarily indicate an aversion to work; it most likely means that employees are deeply frustrated in their current jobs. If employers cannot meet their workers’ needs, the “quiet quitting” trend will likely only increase.
How to manage “quiet quitting”
Managing the issue of “quiet quitting” means shifting the question from “Why are they leaving?” to “How can we help our employees stay?”. A key tactic is to understand that your employees’ needs and expectations may differ from yours, the aim is to balance employee needs and goals with those of the business. Here are a few ideas that can help you do that.
Focus on employee satisfaction through HR
Your employees are humans first and workers second. Finding a balance means looking at both your business needs and employee expectations and finding a way to meet them. Ideally, you will decide on strategies that help your business succeed and give your staff members a rewarding and long-lasting career path.
If you have a high turnover rate or trouble hiring and retaining top talent, it might be because you are not finding ways to balance business needs with employee expectations. Experienced staffing agencies know that helping you fill positions with suitable candidates motivated to succeed and integrate with your company culture can be an invaluable resource in achieving this balance.
You need to understand your company’s mission and goals, then work with employees to create a plan to help them reach those goals while satisfying their personal needs and providing opportunities to grow with your organisation. Consider how to meet every need your employees may have regarding money, job security, personal growth and professional advancement.
If you are working with temporary employees, connect with them as though they were the permanent staff. Include them in the decision-making process so they will feel as much loyalty to your company as full-time employees. Although they may not stay long-term in your company, setting expectations during the hiring and onboarding process can ensure that the temporary employee will perform at their optimum and leave your company on a positive note.
Develop a healthy company culture
Your organisational culture makes the company a place where people want to work and grow. Communicating the company’s vision, culture and values from the top down to all employees will show your employees how important they are and will create a positive work environment that attracts high-quality talent.
Positive company culture can help employees feel more invested in their jobs and more satisfied when they feel their company values them. Current and potential employees should see the benefits of working with your company and their role in helping the company improve.
This will ensure that your company will consistently attract and retain top talent.
Pro-tip: Develop your employer brand
Having a positive company culture can create a ripple effect in your market or industry, primarily when you actively work on building a strong employer brand to reflect this culture. If Generation Z is the future workforce, you can bet they will be looking at how you communicate with candidates and employees.
Company websites are where a lot of the initial candidate contact happens as they research their prospective employer. If this contact is positive, it can go a long way towards improving your applicant pool. Social media plays an even more significant part in how candidates feel about a company. They get to know the corporate culture through what they see on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
You can use these channels to create a strong employer brand and get top talent through your door. On the flip side, a bad reputation can be a tough hurdle to overcome, so use these platforms wisely and invest in maintaining positive public relations on your company’s behalf.
Leveraging human resources solutions
As business owners, managers and HR professionals – it is vital to understand the needs of today’s workforce, which has new expectations for compensation, work-life balance and career growth. Companies that can provide these benefits in some form can be expected to attract a higher level of talent and have an easier time retaining it.
Improving employee retention and managing trends such as “quiet quitting” begins with the right human resources solutions. Experienced HR specialists who are familiar with current workforce challenges and have access to the right tools and resources can help you attract, train, manage and retain employees.
Measured Ability (MASA) offers various outsourced human resources solutions tailored to your business’s specific needs. We have you covered, from human resources strategy to payroll and everything in between. Our team of experts has years of experience in providing HR-related services to businesses across various industries. Contact us to learn more and secure the future of your business with the best human resources solutions in South Africa.