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Strategic solutions to Quiet Quitting

May Yang, Managing Director & Global Head of Operations, Synechron

From layoffs and lulls to sudden surges in hiring, and even “The Great Resignation”, these past few years have brought an array of HR trends to the forefront. In the last few months alone, we’ve witnessed several pertinent trends emerge, some of which are taking the corporate world by force. As we look toward 2023, organizations must seize the opportunity to explore these practices and prioritize learning to navigate them.

Quiet quitting
You’ve probably heard the term but what exactly is ‘quiet quitting’, and why has it gained notable traction so rapidly? In the simplest of terms, quiet quitting is when someone is doing the bare minimum. In a culture that glorifies hard work and going above and beyond, many corporations have already seen the residual effects of this trend. And while quiet quitting is not a practice that involves quitting in the literal sense, it refers to solely completing one’s given tasks and opting out of any work besides what has been assigned.

Naturally, many share divided opinions on this trend. While some feel quiet quitting represents boundary-setting and a commitment to maintaining mental health, family, and a greater work-life balance, others feel that the practice is doing more harm than good. Some have wondered whether there is a more productive route to take, such as freely speaking up about experiencing burnout or even unionizing as a collective protection mechanism, for those that feel inclined to engage in quiet quitting.

Regardless of your stance on the trend, one thing is certain. Quiet quitting suggests that employees feel the exchange between themselves and their employers is unbalanced. In other words, if exceeding expectations in the workplace is usually met with benefits or increased incentives, such as career success for employees, quiet quitting implies that this may no longer be the case. Employees are facing high demands from their employers but may feel they are lacking investment in return.

While quiet quitting may be a growing trend, there are plenty of measures you can take to prevent it from impacting your organization. Having identified that many employees do not feel recognition or investment on behalf of their employers, it’s crucial to consider how your company can ensure your employees feel genuinely valued.

Scenario planning on the rise
Consider ‘scenario planning’. Scenario planning encourages teams to imagine a host of different, plausible scenarios for the future. Then, with these possible futures in mind, to begin to think and plan strategically. These are not business forecasts or predictions, but opportunities to practice responding to an array of potential outcomes.

Scenario planning is not a new concept, but it is one that has gained prominence in recent times. In the face of quiet quitting, layoffs and more, scenario planning offers refuge. Covid-19 revealed that unprecedented scenarios can disarm even the most powerful corporations. As we’ve watched the economy ebb and flow since then, we have witnessed hiring trends that continue to follow suit.

One key element that this practice relies on is thoughtful consideration of your employees throughout every step of the process. What does that look like? Well, it can vary based on your organization’s preferences. Whether you choose to pursue scenario planning as a collaborative effort with your entire workforce is an independent decision. That said, it is crucial that you conclude scenario planning by preparing your team accordingly; acknowledging the plan, any conclusions that were reached, and potential consequences for employees.

In that sense, scenario planning not only equips leaders and employees with strategic planning skills, but it helps create preparedness and assuredness for any version of the future. It communicates to your employees that they are valued, cared for, and considered despite any changes or challenges that the company may face. In uncertain times, scenario planning will continue to take hold as a leading trend and a relevant, tangible solution.

Embracing employee experience
Right behind scenario planning is another future-forward HR trend gaining traction: a reprioritization of employee experience. While the concept of employee experience has blossomed into its own industry, it is trending in new ways as we approach 2023. This time, with a focus on total wellbeing.

Approaching employee experience from a total wellbeing standpoint means holistically considering the mental, physical, and financial health of your employees. Beyond investing in employees through development and upskilling opportunities, this redefined focus on employee experience considers financial literacy, mental health resources, physical wellbeing, and more, all of utmost importance.

Prioritizing employee growth both professionally and personally creates a more authentic relationship between employers and their teams. You are not only reminding your employees of their value but creating a more valuable organization as a result.

Looking ahead
If one thing is clear, it’s that employees want to feel valued. Luckily, the tools at our disposal allow us to flourish as leaders in the corporate world. In a rapidly changing environment, we cannot promise what our industry holds for the future. However, as our companies’ and clients’ needs continue to grow, we are all searching for skilled talent. The future focus will be on retaining those employees with strategic approaches.

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