Nicole Bello, Group Vice President EMA – UKG
Having emerged as a social media trend, before gaining traction in mainstream news, ‘Quiet Quitting’ describes employees who want nothing to do with work outside of their contracted hours, be it staying late in the office or attending social events. In more extreme cases, ‘Quiet Quitters’ have resorted to doing the absolute bare minimum, or even avoiding work altogether.
This topic has quickly gathered momentum, mainly because it is backed up by concrete evidence. According to Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace Report, a mere 21% of the UK’s workforce feel engaged in their current role, so it’s not hard to believe that employees are shutting laptops and switching off work phones the second the clock hits 5:30pm.
Nicole Bello, Group Vice President EMA at UKG, said: “’Quiet Quitting’ has very quickly become HR’s favourite buzzword, but this isn’t a passing phase or a new phenomenon – businesses have faced a battle for employee engagement for decades.
“The onus is on employers rather than employees to break this trend. Organisations that offer an inclusive and stimulating work environment, where the queries of all staff are listened to and acted upon, will have considerably fewer ‘Quiet Quitters’ among their ranks.”
The ascent to prominence of ‘Quiet Quitting’ can, in part, be explained by a shift in employee expectations. Work-life balance is a high priority for today’s workforce, with 63% of job quitters citing this as a key reason for leaving their role in a recent study. The outbreak of the pandemic, followed by the Great Resignation, has driven this change, as remote work has shown that greater flexibility is possible, while a national shortage of staff has given workers the confidence to demand more from employers.
Nicole continued: “Asking colleagues to work late should be a rarity, and in instances where it is unavoidable, this extra effort should be acknowledged and rewarded. When managers do need employees work overtime, they should make it abundantly clear that this is a request, not a demand.
“Building workplace relationships on a foundation of trust is essential for re-engaging employees. This begins with opening up clear and honest channels of communication, where colleagues are free to voice concerns if they feel they are being overworked.”
Detractors of hybrid or remote working models are quick to label this transition as the root cause of declining engagement. However, recent research shows that commitment levels have fallen across all employees, with 30% of remote workers, 31% of hybrid workers and 30% of in-office workers less engaged now than they were six months ago.
Nicole added: “Whether employees are at home or in the office, the same principles apply to keep them motivated and stop the ‘Quiet Quitting’ epidemic in its tracks.
“For example, managers should schedule regular stay interviews with employees, where they have the chance to express any worries and provide feedback that could improve processes. Arranging these regular check-ins is essential for establishing a culture of honesty and transparency, where employees are committed to helping the company grow.”
Nicole concluded: “People managers shouldn’t begrudge staff for seeking a healthy work-life balance and fearing burnout if they are overworked. Instead, employers should look inwards, and evaluate how they can offer a company culture that employees actively choose to engage with.”