Just when we thought we were turning the corner on the Great Resignation and a hiring and retention crisis, there’s a new term to worry about – quiet quitting. While not an entirely new phenomenon, quiet quitting is quickly gaining in popularity as professionals share their experiences on social media and shifting mindsets around work continue to evolve in a post-pandemic world.
So, is this a problem associations should be considering, and how can organizations get proactive about addressing these concerns?
Not every day at work is going to be the best, and maybe on those tough days, you check out a bit, do the bare minimum and live to fight tomorrow. However, for some professionals, this has become the everyday norm. But that isn’t the only problem. While most definitions of quiet quitting often harp on the fact that staffers are doing the bare minimum, it usually has to do more with engagement at work.
According to a Gallup Study, in today’s workplace, around 50% of workers are not engaged at work, and an additional 18% are actively disengaged – meaning the ones you see on social media putting an active voice to their dissatisfaction – and that trend is growing.
But where did it come from?
To say the last few years of work have been challenging is an understatement. However, quiet quitting likely is the culmination of two primary factors – the end of hustle culture and work’s encroachment on our home life.
So what happens when professionals everywhere realize that maybe obscenely long hours, loss of work-life balance and a general disassociation with mental health are likely not the best thing for us?
Cue quiet quitting.
For associations, quickly spotting and addressing quiet quitting is critical as it impacts not only the growth and success of the organization but also your members as a byproduct. Luckily, like most performance-related issues at work, there are some signals to look out for.
One important note is that many of the symptoms of quiet quitting can also stem from burnout. Of course, if you’ve addressed these issues and the behavior continues – there’s a bigger problem. This is why open communication and support are essential.
Of course, quiet quitting isn't the only thing coming down the passive-aggressive pipeline for organizations. We’ve previously talked about how damaging jerk bosses can be. Whether they’re micromanaging their team or purposefully keeping them in the dark about happenings in your organization – it culminates in the opposite side of the coin – quiet firing.
But not all bosses realize they’re to blame. In a study by Harvard Business Review researchers, they surveyed workers on how they felt about their boss or manager, including their ability to “Balance getting results with a concern for others’ needs.”
Of that group, staffers who felt their boss was highly effective at balancing results and their staff’s wellbeing were 62% more willing to give extra effort, with only 3% quiet quitting. Managers struggling in that department only had 20% of staffers willing to give extra effort, with 14% quiet quitting.
However, it’s not just about a leader struggling to inspire and care for their direct reports. In some instances, toxic leaders can take an active approach in pushing staff towards quiet quitting, with behavior including:
When it comes down to it, whether it’s staffers “quiet quitting” or bad leaders forcing folks out, the real problem is a disengaged workforce. As associations, mission is already a driving force as to why professionals join your ranks, but that doesn't mean it's the reason they’ll stay.
Often, when leaders look for ways to fix the problem, their focus is misguided – opting for things like hollow office perks that don’t address the issue. Your staff’s priorities are changing, and they want more from their work – more purpose, more balance and more growth. So how do you move the needle?
Quiet quitting or firing won't be the last trend to impact the workplace as professionals continue to change how they experience work and what they look for in an organization. By understanding the underlying problems and implementing these changes, your association can look to boost retention while doing what matters most – moving your mission forward.
Jose Triana joined the Sidecar team as the Content Manager in 2021. He is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.
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