From the Great Resignation to Quiet Quitting

ByHanover Team
Posting date: 27 September 2022

If you work in recruitment or have recently been looking for a new position, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of some of the trends we’ve seen in employment over the last couple of years.

The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown restrictions caused a wave of people to leave their jobs, dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’, as people were forced to re-evaluate how they lived and worked, and decided their job wasn’t right for them.

Some did so after much consideration…and some quit in a blaze of glory. But now, a new trend is emerging - that of ‘quiet quitting’.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is the polar opposite of leaving in a blaze of glory. It simply means that you do your job as your job description dictates; no more, no less. You don’t go above and beyond, you don’t take on extra responsibilities or work overtime, you don’t answer emails out of hours, you don’t go out of your way to impress your boss.

When you quiet quit, it’s normally a sign that you’re completely disengaged from your role, and have mentally left your job even if you’re going through the physical motions of doing it.

Why are people quiet quitting?

Pre-pandemic, many employers offered office-based benefits like free snacks, gym local membership, table football - fun things you could do with your colleagues. A lot of the time, these types of benefits could go some way to offsetting potentially negative feelings about the expectation of going above and beyond day to day. 

So that’s what many people did - they went the extra mile and got some office perks.

The pandemic changed all that. With enforced lockdown and the knock-on effect of more people now working on a flexible basis, those types of perks don’t mean as much any more. But people are still expected to go above and beyond.

This has led to some people feeling very disengaged from their employers, lacking in motivation and perhaps burnt out or stressed. Quiet quitting, say the people who do it, is about getting your life back and restoring a healthy work/life balance. It’s a quiet act of rebellion against what they consider to be unreasonable expectations.

What can employers do to work with employees and re-engage them?

Quiet quitting isn’t really a healthy way to leave a job, either for an employer or an employee. But from an employer’s point of view, there are things you can do to support and re-engage your employees if you see signs of quiet quitting. 

These signs might include things like arriving slightly late and leaving slightly early, not attending meetings, not being as productive or efficient and generally showing less than average enthusiasm. So, what can you do if you notice something like this happening?

6 tips to support your employees if they show signs of quiet quitting

1. Communicate - this is key. Listen to what employees are saying and make sure you check in with them regularly, especially if they’re working from home. People need to have a voice and be heard, and employers should take the time to listen, feedback and ultimately make any necessary changes.

2. Recognise - make sure your employees feel that they are valued. People shouldn’t just be expected to go the extra mile so if they do, recognise it in an appropriate way.

3. Improve the working environment - is there anything you could do to support an employee in how they work? That could be to provide more flexibility in terms of hybrid working, different hours, a better set-up if they have to work from home, reduced or condensed days, or firm work/life boundaries. Think about what benefits can replace things like table football. 

4. Challenge yourself - do your employees have realistic workloads or are you expecting too much from them? Do you need to invest in more people rather than expect your existing employees to take on more and more? 

5. Look at the wider picture - put yourself in your employees’ shoes. In today’s world, people are looking more to having a healthy work/life balance. We’ve just come out of a pandemic. We’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis. There are many external stressors in life. People want to feel engaged and motivated at work, not put upon or expected to regularly go above and beyond.

6. Prioritise mental wellbeing - support your employees by prioritising mental health. This is not only the right thing to do, but employees who are mentally healthy are more likely to be high performing and committed to their role.

If your company needs help in supporting disengaged employees, you can find out more about Hanover’s solutions here, or contact me to start a conversation.

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