‘Quiet-quitting’: what can employers learn?
Against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, new remote work options have increased the modern worker’s desirability for more downtime; hence the term ‘quiet-quitting’. Quiet-quitting involves workers doing what is expected of them in their roles and nothing more – extra duties, overtime and weekend work are being traded for a healthier work-life balance and […]
Against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, new remote work options have increased the modern worker’s desirability for more downtime; hence the term ‘quiet-quitting’.
Quiet-quitting involves workers doing what is expected of them in their roles and nothing more – extra duties, overtime and weekend work are being traded for a healthier work-life balance and less burnout. This new approach is prominent among Gen-Z workers who are becoming less tolerant of performing work outside their assigned job descriptions.
With job vacancies at a current high across the globe and companies offering more incentives to entice workers, employers will have to do more to retain their staff. So, what can employers learn from the quiet-quitting trend?
1. Employees are less likely to accept or do work outside the agreed job position
For most people currently in the workforce, it is common to be assigned tasks or expected to undertake jobs that lie outside the initial description and do them. However, with the trend of quiet-quitting becoming increasingly popular, employees are no longer putting up with the extra tasks that offer little or no extra pay.
When hiring employees, it is essential to clarify their job and any other “extra” roles they could be required to fill down the line. Giving them full knowledge ensures that the employer obtains staff willing to do the work needed without forcing them into tasks they were not previously aware of. While it is not unacceptable to ask workers for a helping hand when necessary, it’s unfair to expect them to complete jobs they did not initially sign up for or punish them for refusing to do so.
2. Communicating with employees and their needs is more important than ever
According to The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 46 percent of Gen-Z and 38 percent of millennials report feeling stressed all or most of the time. Among those who have taken time off work due to feelings of anxiety or stress, nearly half didn’t feel comfortable admitting the reason to their employer. This indicates there’s still much room for improvement regarding employers checking in with their employees and setting a standard of open and honest communication.
Regularly checking in with employees to ensure they are not feeling burnt out or struggling to keep up with their workload helps to form a level of trust. This way, staff will be more comfortable going to their superiors when they have concerns and feel their needs are being met in the workplace.
3. Employees not going “above and beyond” doesn’t make them a bad worker
While past work standards suggested that employees should always go above and beyond for their company, including overtime, unpaid weekend work and the assignment of extra jobs, this is no longer the case.
It is perfectly acceptable for employees to do their vital work for the day and then go home without undertaking any additional tasks during their shifts or pushing back if asked to do so. This does not make them a bad worker if they can competently complete their required work by deadline and meet whatever KPIs or standards they must adhere to.
Many employees feel their extra efforts go unnoticed, so they no longer strive to go the extra mile for their workplace. By celebrating employee achievements and recognising good work, an employer can make their workers feel valued and in return, be rewarded with better employee performance.
4. Less burnt-out employees lead to better work done overall
The Deloitte survey showed that burnout is very high among both Gen-Z and millennials and signals a significant retention issue for employers. Forty-six percent of the two combined generations report feeling burnt out due to the intensity and demands of their working environments. Forty-four percent say many people have recently left their organisation due to workload pressure.
As JobAdder’s Global Recruitment Industry Report 2022 indicates that recent job growth was not met with increasing candidate interest and applications, avoiding employee burnout is crucial to ensure workers are content with their job and don’t look elsewhere for employment, as plenty of opportunities are available.
Another study by Stanford University found that working longer hours leads to a decrease in total work output, so offering a shorter working week or letting employees leave early once in a while is a great way to avoid employee burnout and increase productivity.
5. Flexibility with work arrangements is essential
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many companies can operate remotely, leading many employees to request hybrid remote work arrangements. Although companies are encouraging employees to return to the office, offering a flexible work arrangement can help retain employees and improve their productivity.
Deloitte’s Global Survey indicates that younger workers clearly demand more flexible working. Forty-nine percent of Gen Zs and 45 percent of millennials work at least some of the time remotely, with three-quarters saying this would be their preferred mode of working.
Participants’ reasons for this preference in the survey included helping to save money, and allowance for more family and free time, which makes getting work done more manageable, and positively impacts their mental health.
The new work arrangements introduced over the past couple of years mean it’s time for employers to shift their mindset about what makes a good worker and what they should expect from their current employees.
Providing flexibility with working arrangements and duties and maintaining a clear indication of what lies within an employee’s job description will avoid burnout and lead to a better work outcome and employee retention.
Article by Michael Osmond, Head of People at recruitment management firm JobAdder.