Future of Work

Quit Your Quitters. Re-engage the Disengaged

Leanne Hughes

It’s rare that a business owner stops me mid-conversation to ask about something that’s trending on TikTok. But that’s exactly what happened last week. He was concerned about the Quiet Quitting trend that’s occurring on the platform and the impact this movement would have on his Gen Z and Millenial employees.

Quiet Quitting means setting boundaries and not taking on additional work; for others, it just means not going above and beyond. Here are the two predominant themes:

  1. Quiet Quitting relating to time: Someone who clocks on exactly when they’re meant to, and clocks off as soon as it hits a certain time on the day. No more, no less. 
  2. Quiet Quitting relating to effort:  Operating in third gear and dropping the drive to go above and beyond in their role. Checking the boxes on their contract and declining requests for anything outside the scope of their role. 

Quiet Quitting is a new phrase, but not a new phenomenon

I personally find Quiet Quitting slothful and immoral…Too harsh?

I was astonished at the number of people on social media platforms who suggest that quiet quitting is healthy.  I do think boundaries are important and there are times in your life when you need to settle into a slower pace at work; doing what you can because life is chaotic. However, I don’t think it’s healthy to approach your workday with the goal of quietly quitting.

If you reflect on highlights from your career, it’s usually when you’ve been pushed to do or create something you once thought was impossible. It was challenging but you got through it. You showed up and went above and beyond to deliver. That’s rewarding!

What’s the solution? Well, how do you keep employees engaged? How do you make them care about a job when they’ve lost that lovin’ feeling? Re-set the standard!

Hold people accountable for results, not just tasks and presence

  • Reset expectations: Tasks don’t matter, results do. Encourage your leaders to hold your team members accountable for their results, not the things they do to fill their day (for example, rather than “Answer inbound client calls” shift this to “Every client feels amazing after they’ve had a conversation with you”)
  • Reflect on this by changing the title of your Position Description to Results Description. A subtle change shifts the focus of why your employees are there and drives purpose
  • Question your own assumptions: Being present for 40 hours doesn’t necessarily equal progress. You might have a high performer who can deliver in less time. That’s fine! This requires a shift from having a presenteeism culture to a performance-based culture.  

Recognise the impact your quiet quitters will have on others 

  • Consider the Kantian paradox: What if everyone in your business quietly quits? The answer in this case is a meltdown. 
  • Be aware that people within your organisation will look to you and your leaders to see how you are managing your quiet quitters. At a minimum, your leaders will need to discuss this 1:1 to coach and support their team members. At a maximum, you may need to let someone go.
  • Socialise the concept, acknowledge it, don’t fear it, and lead the conversation. Open the discussion in your team meetings.

Written by Leanne Hughes.
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Leanne Hughes
Leanne Hughes is an Australian businesswoman, entrepreneur, and high-performance business consultant. She advises clients worldwide on creating dynamic work environments and organizational cultures that improve business performance. She’s a 2022 Inductee in the Million Dollar Consulting® Hall of Fame and hosts the Leanne Hughes’ Work and Live Large podcast and the First Time Facilitator podcasts.

Leanne Hughes is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.