American workers of all ages are actively disengaging from their jobs in a recent trend called "Quiet Quitting." In simple terms, the trend reveals that employees and independent contractors alike are putting down boundaries and no longer going above and beyond for their employers. Also called "acting your wage" or staying in scope, workers are seeking more work/life balance, especially if they're not being rewarded for the extra work.
Let's look at why more employees are quiet quitting.
The Pandemic Sparked an Employee Revolution
As we noted in a previous blog post, the pandemic and social justice issues of the past few years have prompted individuals to focus on their quality of life. The Employee Revolution recognizes that employees expect more, especially if they're giving over their own well-being so that companies can be profitable. They want to be incentivized as investors in their future or else given the autonomy to build a life of value without work as their highest priority.
In the meanwhile, employers have had to make adjustments for remote workers and new ways to maintain trust in their employees in general. Worker productivity is now being digitally monitored, measuring how long an individual is actively working from their remote locations. Of course, employees are fighting back, installing software to dupe their online activity movements or issuing complaints against companies that use productivity monitoring. Instead of building trust, being monitored damages trust, leaving employees feeling demoralized.
For American Employees, Work Must Have Meaning
The past few years have challenged Americans - including their physical and mental health - in unexpected ways. They no longer wish to be taken for granted or used as pawns in their employer's profitability. They're seeking work that feels important to them and reflects their values. Remote workers are even starting their own side businesses behind the backs of their employers. "Quiet quitting" is yet another way that they're asking more from the organizations they work for and also reminding management that their time and livelihoods are valuable.
What HR and Employers Can Do
The natural reaction to hearing that your employees are halting their productivity can be troubling. Instead of strongly reacting by pushing for even more productivity monitoring, see this trend as a call for help. Employers that are retaining high-quality employees are listening to their workers and stepping outside of the status quo. They're reexamining wage gaps and making adjustments. HR is becoming trauma-informed so they can have valuable and helpful conversations around mental health and well-being. Leadership must lead the charge by making business decisions around their company values and the values of those that work for them.
The employer/employee relationship was definitely shaken up by the events of the past few years. The future of work is still being determined, and we expect to see even more disruption in the coming months.