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Quiet Quitting: What do industry experts recommend?

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

For those who have not yet caught on, “quiet quitting'' is a relatively new term in the workplace coined by millennials to describe employees who feel disengaged from their work, resulting in lack of initiative shown and doing only the bare minimum to get by. Since the term’s creation on social media, an increasing number of millennials have identified with this approach to their careers, thus creating a new workplace trend.

Gallup, an American consultation firm widely known for its public opinion polls conducted worldwide, published alerting numbers on the subject. The report states up to 85% of the world’s population could be disengaged from work. Even in Asia, a region known for being career driven and ability to endure long working hours, did not fare much better. Gallup estimates that up to 30% of the working population in China identify themselves as quiet-quitters. These statistics are certainly reflected in the workplace, as corporations are urgently trying to understand the causes that trigger quiet quitting in the offices and implement solutions. Below we discuss what experts have come up with to combat this.

Make extra responsibilities optional

Far too often, managers assume that employees are always looking for more responsibilities and leadership roles, but that is not always the case. Not every employee is trying to climb the corporate ladder, and extra responsibilities may even be daunting for some. Experts suggest managers should continue to offer new opportunities and duties to their teams, but instead assigning them to a specific employee, they should bring about this in the presence of the entire team, and let willing employees volunteer to take on leadership roles. Alternatively, if managers already have an employee in mind, they should consult with them first to get their opinion on the idea of extra responsibilities.

Avoid piling managerial duties on employees if you don’t plan on offering a change in title or a promotion. These duties should be compatible with the employee’s goals and personalities, and not simply a way to offload burden off your shoulders.

Embrace an informal workplace and encourage honesty

Managers can foster a more harmonious workplace by encouraging informal discussions about topics unrelated to work from time to time, which helps employees have a sense of belonging in a place where they spend the majority of their day. Managers can even get the ball rolling by sharing their own hobbies and interests to employees. These interactions help create more meaningful relationships within the workplace and contribute to a positive work culture that keeps employees engaged. A more casual workplace makes it easier for everyone to open up and be honest. This will make it easier for managers to swiftly address any gaps in performance and encourage employees to be transparent when they are struggling with a certain task.

Don’t engage in “quiet firing”

As mentioned, managers should address instances of underperformance swiftly. There have been reports of cases where employers forgoes communication with a struggling employee and go straight to “quiet firing”. Industry researchers have identified a few behaviors that constitute quiet firing. They include assigning tasks to other employees, lack of communication, withholding feedback, and assigning duties that are beneath an employee’s job description or skill set while others continue their path of development. Therefore, this is why it is important for companies to promote honesty in the workplace, as it encourages both parties to be upfront about work issues which prevents quiet firing and quiet quitting.

Conduct timely performance appraisals

As there is no sign of the “quiet-quitting” trend slowing down, companies may have to conduct frequent evaluations to better gauge the performance and engagement of their employees. A lot of HR systems offers ability to conduct up to 6 different types of appraisals:

  • Straight-ranking appraisals: ranking employees from best to worst, easy to identify overperformers and underperformers, but most employees belong in the middle of the pack and may be hard to differentiate. Judges all employees based on the same criteria, which may be unfair as a successful business requires a mix of different personalities.

  • Grading: Allows managers to quickly give a letter grade or score to employees based on different categories, such as communication, punctuality, and productivity.

  • Management by objective: Employees are judged on objectives jointly set between each employee and the manager. The fact that the goals are highly personal means employees will be more committed to achieve them. To slow down the trend of quiet quitting, this method may be the most suitable as it promotes proactive communication between employer and employees.

  • Trait based appraisal: Employees are judged based on the extent they express desired personality traits related to the job. Results may be unfairly skewed in favor of employees who are more outgoing and extroverted and puts employees who are more reserved while still offering the same overall value to the company at a disadvantage. This method may not be more accurate to assess an employee

  • Behavior based appraisal: Looks at specific behaviors related to job description, eg. “Did employees greet customers when they arrive at the service desk?”. This is a more objective way to assess employees compared to trait based appraisal but may be more costly and time consuming to develop a standard that employers and employees can both agree upon.

  • 360 degree appraisals: Employees get feedback from multiple angles, including employers, colleagues, themselves and even clients they have worked with. This offers the most balanced view as employees may not entirely agree on their employer’s review. Employees are able to receive multiple perspectives and compare it with their own. This is also a great method for companies to adopt in trying to reduce the likelihood of quiet-quitting.

If you want more information on how the appraisal feature and other features in HR systems can help facilitate work engagement, please do not hesitate to contact us.



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