‘Quiet quitting’ – what’s the alternative?

Gallup’s recent workplace poll suggests that the trend toward quiet quitting — the idea spreading virally on social media that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description – could get worse.

There are different views, however as to whether this is a real phenomenon, or one that has been hyped up through social media.

Is quiet quitting a real thing?

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone that, for many, working is different to what it used to be. Consider the impact of the pandemic, enforced working from home and social isolation, and now a new wave of hybrid working, meaning for many, more time working from home. With all the benefits or reduced commuting and travel time, there are some down-sides – a blurring of the lines between home and work. Couple this with less social interaction with work colleagues, it’s not too difficult to see the conditions where people may feel like they need to ‘step back’.

So, what exactly is quiet quitting?

Gallup’s poll identified a rise in the numbers of those who are “not engaged” at work – doing the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job.

This decline in engagement and employer satisfaction is highest among remote Gen Z and younger millennials — those below age 35.

There are lots of different views on ‘quiet-quitting’. The Gallup article states that ‘most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and meet customer needs.’ So doing the minimum is keeping your head down, not sharing ideas, innovating, or trouble-shooting to solve work-place problems. Basically, not taking on extra work.

Others such as Tayo Bero writing in The Guardian decry this – saying that quiet quitting is not a thing because ‘people shouldn’t be doing more work than they have to. And just doing the work that you’re paid for should be the standard, not an act of mutiny’. I personally think she has missed the point there, and the Gallup poll backs this up. Whatever the reason, and give it whatever label you like, something is going on.

Others are seeing quiet quitting as a necessary measure to prevent burnout as described in this article in NPR magazine:

‘It’s about divorcing your ego from what you do for a living and not striving for perfection. Setting boundaries and simply completing the tasks you’re supposed to complete within the time that you’re paid to do them — with no extra frills.’

Which is exactly what the wellbeing movement has been telling us. Set boundaries and have realistic expectations. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of realism and a pragmatic approach to managing our own work and life balance. But what about employers that want to drive up engagement and employer satisfaction?

Learning and development to drive employee engagement

The Gallup article suggests managers are essential to combatting quiet quitting (no surprise there). Having your line manager take an active interest in how you are doing is always a great motivator. But what is most interesting is the role that effective learning and development can play in driving up employee engagement and employer satisfaction.

This article in Training Magazine reels of a list of statistics, also from Gallup, showing the demand for learning and development opportunities.

For me this is the most interesting point. Most of the companies surveyed will have learning management systems and learning content readily available. There is also a plethora of content readily available on the web. It’s not the lack of content that is the issue. It’s what to learn, how, and with whom to support. We all need that contact, that connection to people, whether it’s an informal learning network or something more formal, to help us.

This is what the Modern Learner Programme has been designed for. Filling the gap between content and information that is readily available, and people that need connection and support to work out what they want to learn. The Modern Learner Programme supports organisations to create a learning culture and a different understanding of learning. It’s not all about e-learning, formal courses or education programmes but the intrinsic ways we learn from each other.

Want to know more about the Modern Learner Programme? Drop me an email at rachel@talentstorm.co.uk

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