We hear more and more about “quiet quitting”. This phenomenon can be described as a disinvestment in one’s work, which leads employees to do only the bare minimum for which they were hired. This trend has been growing steadily since the Covid crisis.
In 2022, the term “quiet quitting” appeared on TikTok. A user of the social network used it to describe a phenomenon that affects more and more employees. They are demotivated, but instead of quitting their jobs, they choose to only do the bare minimum. They no longer accept the injunctions to perform and to over-invest in their work.
Covid, the catalyst for quiet quitting
The media have seized on the term “quiet quitting”, which highlights a behaviour that has become increasingly visible since the Covid crisis. With the pandemic, many employees questioned themselves and their job. It is reminiscent of the “Great Resignation” in the US, which saw more than 41 million Americans leave their jobs in 2021. The rest of the world has not been spared, with departures on the rise everywhere. For those who have lost interest in their jobs but can’t leave, they will “quit” in other ways. They keep their job but give up any will to invest themselves.
However, demotivation among employees is not new. For years, statistics have shown that commitment and investment at work are not very high. In 2021, according to a Gallup survey, only 21% of workers worldwide were motivated. In Europe this figure was 14%! While we talk about happiness at work, many employees experience a completely different reality and no longer find reasons to invest themselves. In the end, the pandemic has only accelerated – and highlighted – a phenomenon that was already there.
The causes of this phenomenon
What are the reasons why more and more workers are becoming disengaged? Of course, confinement and its attendant questioning have played an important role. Finding meaning in their work has become necessary for many employees. But this is not possible for everyone, either because of an unstimulating job or an unpleasant work environment. Others have put things into perspective and no longer consider their job as the main element of their lives. More than ever, employees want a better work-life balance.
But in many cases, quiet quitting is a reaction to recurring problems such as the lack of recognition for the work done so far. Finally, some employees will opt for it to avoid burnout. In the end, it is a kind of protection mechanism against inadequate working conditions and management. Quiet quitters are not lazy people who can’t engage in their job, but rather employees who are disillusioned by their work experience.
Quiet quitting is not inevitable
Quiet quitting is a problem that companies should not ignore. Employees who has lost their motivation will not deliver the same quality of work. Nor will they fully deploy their skills. For companies, this can have severe consequences on their financial results and competitiveness.
So what can be done about it ? For companies facing disinvestment within their teams, solutions exist. It is necessary that managers question the reasons why employees do only the bare minimum. This may be due to a lack of recognition, poor career advancement, an unstimulating job, under-used skills, too much pressure or a toxic environment.
Managers must therefore investigate to identify all the dysfunctions that may exist within the company. And then, of course, do what is necessary to resolve them and allow their employees to develop fully in their jobs.
For employees who are suffering from the situation, it may be useful to talk to their managers to see what can be done to solve the problem. Sometimes, the solution can be more radical, for example, changing job or career field, in order to regain the motivation to go to work every day.