Over the past few years, the dividing line between work and home has become less and less clear, and recent studies show that while employee engagement has fallen in the US, it’s much lower among Millennial and Gen-Z workers.
Now, we have a new phenomenon in the workplace: Quiet Quitting.
You may have noticed examples of Quiet Quitting in the form of videos on TikTok or Instagram. Many of these clips show younger people firmly putting work/life boundaries in place in ways that might shock older workers.
Some videos depict employees doing the bare minimum to keep their jobs, with others refusing to put in work time beyond what they agreed to upon hiring. Still others advise their viewers to ignore work calls, emails, and texts after business hours.
When you notice an employee isn’t putting in the effort you expect, the process of disciplining, firing, and then replacing them can be difficult and expensive, so there are real incentives to help improve the performance of the good people you have.
Younger workers comprise a lot of people and a large portion of the workforce, so you will need to learn how to handle some of these Quiet Quitting issues. Have you had clear conversations with your employees about expectations? For example, do they understand that just because you send an email at 8 pm, you are fine if they don’t respond until the next day?
Or, have you looked at your own management practices to see if the issue stems from within? Do you expect an immediate response when sending an evening email?
Younger workers also want to feel that their work has purpose. For example, are you clear in explaining to them why their projects are important? A great way to help someone lose interest in their job is to give them work they don’t think has value. If one of your employees doesn’t feel like their work matters, they have many options for moving on.
A personal anecdote about feeling undervalued by an employer:
I was once given a project on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I was told it was imperative to complete it by 9 AM the Monday after Thanksgiving. The project wasn’t explained well, but I worked hard and did the best I could. It was extremely time-consuming. I had to locate a large amount of data stored in different systems and then enter it into my employer’s new budgeting software.
In order to get the work done, I had to cancel my planned vacation day for the Friday after Thanksgiving, which interrupted important family time during the holiday weekend. When several weeks later I asked my director if the information had been helpful, I was told that the higher-ups who asked for it didn’t use it because the software was too challenging for them. My hard work, the sacrifice of a vacation day, and disrupting up my holiday weekend was all for nothing. Needless to say, I didn’t feel valued by my employer. I left that job soon afterwards.
Some Quiet Quitters may be trying to establish a work/life balance they didn’t see their parents have. Don’t make the automatic assumption that they are lazy or not interested in their jobs. The pandemic changed the priorities of a lot of people. Perhaps some of your employees like their jobs but don’t view their work as key to their identities like you do? Or perhaps they may need an improvement plan, that if not met, can lead to an exit from your company?
What can you do if you feel like some of your workers are not dedicated sufficiently to their work? You can contact us!
MGMTinsight can analyze your work culture and find the answers you need to solve these and other problems in the workplace. The help and expertise you need is an email or phone call away!
Contact us today for more information.