Quiet quitting: what businesses and their HR teams need to know

Business Insights

With the so-called ‘Great Resignation' seemingly over, many organisations are now facing up to the growing issue of quiet quitting.

Despite its name, ‘quiet quitting' isn't the act of an employee physically leaving a job – far from it. Instead, it's more about them doing the bare minimum their job demands, not pushing themselves to go above and beyond the call of duty, and even going so far as to brag about it on social media platforms.

The sudden rise of this new trend has come at a time when organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to engage and retain their employees. For example, Gallup's global workplace report for 2022 showed that only 9% of workers in the UK were engaged or enthusiastic about their work, ranking a dismal 33rd out of 38 European countries.

So, what's behind trend? Should HR be concerned? And what can be done about it?

Paul Bauer from Cezanne HR answers those questions and more below;

What's driving quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is a form of staff disengagement that has been steadily rising since the summer of 2022. Writing for Metro, Charlotte Davies, a career expert for LinkedIn, believes it stems from employees rediscovering a healthier work-life balance post COVID-19.

She believes that

"If you are getting to the point in your career where you feel that you're putting work above everything else – at the expense of other important parts of your life – it can be incredibly demoralising. It's very likely that you'll start to retreat from work – "quiet quitting" – in an attempt to bring back some balance."

Why should HR be concerned about quiet quitting?

Having employees not fully invested in their roles can have some seriously bad side effects for a company. These include:

  • Reduced productivityResearch has found that companies with low levels of staff engagement have operating income 33% percent lower than companies with high levels of engagement.

  • Increased unplanned absences – Organisations may see unplanned absences begin to rise without a clear explanation as to why.

  • Poorer quality of work – It's likely that employees who've given up feeling pride or care in their work will produce a poorer standard of end-product. In turn, this can lead to…

  • Poorer customer experience – If employees don't take pride in their work, it's unlikely they'll be bothered about going above and beyond their duties to assist your customers.

  • Organisational skills shortages – If employees have quietly quit, it's highly unlikely they'll be looking to develop or enhance their skills with their employer.

  • Increased excess staff turnover – Staff who've quietly quit their jobs (consciously or otherwise) will eventually look elsewhere for a more rewarding role.

Stemming the flow of quiet quitters: what HR can do

Having employees who've quietly quit isn't necessarily the end of the road for them, and there are several things HR can do to help, including:

Conduct regular pulse surveys

When it comes to combatting quiet quitting, pulse surveys can be a key weapon in HR's arsenal. They allow businesses to quickly collect targeted feedback that can help fight such issues as staff feeling overwhelmed, raising stress levels or lack of appropriate training. For example, you could ask employees to rank the following:

  • "The company's mission and values align with my personal values"

  • "On a scale of 0-10, how do you rate your work-life balance?"

  • "My work gives me a sense of accomplishment"

  • "I feel I'm rewarded for going the extra mile"

  • "I have a sense of pride working here."

These types of short questions will allow you to evaluate how engaged your employees are and identify if there are any negative issues that could be driving disengagement.

Keep tabs on your organisation's social reputation

Like exit interviews, employee review websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed can give you a ‘no filter' view on employee satisfaction at your business. If you discover that genuine concerns are being raised or consistent issues being highlighted, it really does make sense to investigate them further.

Analyse your HR data

Analyse your HR data to see if there are any patterns or trends that could indicate employee disengagement within your organisation. Is your staff turnover rate higher compared to other businesses in your industry? Have absences risen without explanation? Have your employees' salaries improved over time? If your HR software includes analytical tools, finding answers to these questions can be made a whole lot easier.

Don't underestimate the power of check-ins

Regular check-ins can be a key part of maintaining meaningful staff engagement. Encouraging team managers to have daily, weekly or monthly check-ins can help them connect with their team members, identify potential issues early, and discuss progress and goals throughout the year

Evaluate your exit interviews

Lastly, exit interviews can provide you with a ‘warts and all' view on what it's really like to work for your company. Employees will be more likely to give you honest feedback when they're leaving a business; as a result, they present a huge opportunity for HR professionals to identify barriers to improving retention and engagement.

To find out more how Cezanne HR can help, visit them here: https://cezannehr.com/

Written by Paul Bauer, Head of Content at Cezanne HR.