It is crucial for HR professionals to comprehend the emerging pattern of silent resignations – the notion gaining traction on social media claiming millions of individuals are not pushing themselves beyond what is just required at work and are only just-about fulfilling their job responsibilities. This is a challenge since the majority of tasks demand additional effort to cooperate and communicate with colleagues and meet client expectations.
This is a challenge since the majority of tasks demand additional effort to cooperate and communicate with colleagues and meet client expectations.
Gallup shows that “quiet quitters” comprise at least half of the U.S. workforce, and possibly more. Gallup stated that the proportion is especially high among employees below 35 years. In addition, Monster survey data indicates that 6 out of 10 people are now participating in this worrisome phenomenon of silent resignation. What causes this phenomenon? How can you use HR technology to address it? To answer these questions, let us first unpack the definition of quiet quitting in the modern workplace.
What is Quiet Quitting? A Definition for HR
The term “quiet resignation” alludes to doing the bare minimum of one’s work responsibilities with no further time, effort, or enthusiasm. In general, it is somewhat of an outlier within conventional HR lexicons, as the employee does not really quit their employment and continues to receive their salary.
Quiet resignation became a well-known practice in the United States and internationally in the early 2020s, thanks, primarily, due to social media. Quiet quitters tend to accomplish their most basic obligations but are less likely to participate in civic actions, such as occasionally staying late, arriving early, or attending voluntary meetings.
It is worth noting that the term “silent termination or silent firing” has become its own new buzzword, often described as rendering a job so unpleasant and disappointing that the individual feels driven to quit. Both these phenomena are signs of an unhealthy work environment, where the worker and the manager do not feel sufficiently connected to each other or their work. This poses a major challenge for HR.
One way to understand quiet quitting is to look at it as a reaction to excessive work pressure. Instead of pushing above and beyond, employees now establish a standard by prioritizing their health and wellbeing over their careers. Consequently, Quiet Quitting has become a reaction to, and ostensible substitute, for the Great Resignation.
Why HR Needs to Take Urgent Action
Quitting silently is a short-term fix, but it isn’t a long-term solution that is beneficial to workers. Instead, HR professionals should assist employees in identifying the most essential boundaries, such as the length of time they work or the amount of time they spend in the office, and engage with their managers to brainstorm and come up with solutions. Managers might also redefine workers’ job descriptions to allow them to concentrate more on tasks that inspire them. By implementing a few simple changes, companies can enhance employee happiness across the whole organization.
Gallup’s research supports this. In its State of the Global Workplace 2022 study, Gallup highlights the correlation between a company’s performance and its workers’ overall health. Specifically, happy and engaged workers will naturally feel decreased stress, resulting in enhanced mental health and a decreased probability of consulting an emergency department.
Enhanced staff retention is an additional advantage of employee well-being for HR, alongside higher productivity. If you can guarantee that your workers feel loved and cared for, and valued, they will be significantly less inclined to resign, either openly or discreetly.
What Causes Quiet Quitting?
People are becoming more proactive about their health, which is a positive trend. However, a silent resignation indicates a mismatch between company and employee expectations. Here are some common reasons why workers today are started to become disengaged and disillusioned:
- Excessive workloads
- Below-industry-average compensation
- The absence of boundaries
- Not enough manager support
- Work not matching expectations
- Unsafe workplace conditions (including psychological risks like toxic customers)
If these problems persist, they may damage employee-supervisor relationships, increase discontent, and impede processes. There is nothing improper with an employee establishing boundaries to protect their work-life balance. Conversely, it becomes problematic when employees lose interest in their job.
HR professionals must be aware of the three main causes of silent resignations:
1. The workforce and leadership do not share the same commitment to values and purpose
Attracting, keeping, and engaging people today requires an emphasis on culture, inclusiveness, and diversity. However, organizations often prioritize their own interests above those of the larger public, causing many employees to feel estranged from their employers. When workers have different preferences — and sometimes, even value systems — than their employers, they are less driven to exceed expectations and remain committed.
The solution? Transparent communication.
2. There is no flexibility or room for a thriving personal life
Employees significantly value the freedom and convenience of hybrid and flexible work schedules for getting work done. However, according to Deloitte, less than 50% of Gen Z as well as millennials, are now working remotely, despite the fact that three-quarters of them indicate that this is their preferred method of employment. Many of these individuals identify the inability of their employers to provide flexible work arrangements as the primary cause of their burnout and disengagement.
The solution? Hybrid work policies.
3. The organization is unable to support employees’ wellbeing
It is no secret that most workforces are collectively overburdened, and the root cause of their anxiety can be traced back to excessive and unreasonable workloads that negatively impact their mental health outside of the workplace. Economic uncertainty and student loan debt are also prevalent among newer generations in the workforce. According to research, almost a third of millennials have at least two jobs, and 73% work upwards of 40 hours each week. This makes quiet quitting not only common but even expected.
The solution? Pay audits and profit sharing.
Using HR Technology to Curb Quit Quitting
The following methods may be very helpful in fighting this phenomenon:
1. Surveys and Voice of the Employee (VoE) analytics
Anonymous employee surveys may provide the insights necessary to better comprehend existing issues, foresee new problems, and assess the consequences of change. In conclusion, employees want to be listened to and understood, and continuous feedback collection may make a huge difference.
2. Social and peer-to-peer (P2P) recognition platforms
Lack of appreciation is a significant indicator of employee disenchantment and, consequently, silent resignation. Ensure that your organization’s leaders acknowledge employee efforts, or go the additional distance and provide workers with peer recognition tools so they may spotlight each other’s achievements.
3. Personalized career pathing
Not every employee desires greater responsibility or has the same professional goals. Career transitions should include two-way communication. Rather than presuming employees would like to move up the corporate ladder or are ready for new tasks, use career pathing techniques and talks to measure how they feel about extending their responsibilities.
4. Asynchronous communication
Quiet resignation enables individuals to establish boundaries and prevent coworkers or supervisors from encroaching on personal time. You may reaffirm these limits on behalf of workers before they turn to such an extreme response. One way to achieve this is through the use of asynchronous communication that does not expect real-time availability as part of the work culture.
5. Productivity and performance analytics
A rapid decline in production or enthusiasm may signify impending trouble. When once assertive workers become reluctant in meetings, and important contributors mysteriously go, investigate the underlying problem.
Quiet resignation has long been a feature in the workplace, but remote employment and the pandemic have made it more prevalent and plausible. HR professionals should keep in mind that although the word is new, their current tech stack is frequently able to successfully address it — the same tech stack that helped them manage the previous phenomenon, the Great Resignation, and other workforce trends in 2022.