“Quiet quitting” is a new term that became popularized in late 2022 during the employment crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, quiet quitting is when an employee does the bare minimum in their job, refusing to go above and beyond or attempting to excel in the workplace.
Quiet quitters believe that work—or their career—should not be their focus in life. For example, they won’t pick up extra hours, do additional tasks, attend meetings that aren’t required, be assertive, or attempt to increase productivity in other ways. Instead, they’re focused on keeping their job and counting the hours until their shift ends.
This is a new term, but it’s not a new concept. The Harvard Business Review’s researchers have been studying “quiet quitting” for decades, asking whether their “work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile.” However, the popularity of “quiet quitting” has increased this past year, leading more and more workforce members to question their work goals and the energy they’re willing to expend in their workplace.
Most of the time, quiet quitting isn’t due to laziness on the employee’s part. Often, the workplace or manager has failed to create an engaging environment where employees feel they can expend energy to go that extra mile.
How Does “Quiet Quitting” Impact a Workplace?
When a company has a quiet quitter, they have an employee taking up a position who does the bare minimum but offers no additional skills, has no aspirations to move up, and doesn’t wish to strengthen the company by adding their portfolio of skills and experience. Many employers feel that an employee quiet quitting is even worse than an employee resigning. This is because a quiet quitter is not just doing the bare minimum—they’re reluctant to move up in the company or participate in other company measures, be assertive and attentive in their goals and projects, and are often not as communicative or a team player as a usual employee.
Employees quiet quit for a few reasons—most of which are the same reasons that would cause an employee to resign. An employee could feel like their tasks are overwhelming. Or, the pay is minimal, and they feel unsupported, fatigued, and disconnected from their job and workplace. Essentially, an employee feels that they’re not valued within their workplace.
Introducing: “Quiet Hiring”
According to a new Gartner report, in 2023, savvy HR leaders will turn quiet quitting on its head with “quiet hiring” to acquire new skills and capabilities without adding new full-time employees. This could include internal mobility, upskilling opportunities, leveraging alum networks and contract employees, and other ways to ensure your organization has future talent at the ready.
Quiet hiring means focusing on your current employees to make sure they feel fully engaged in their workplace. Leaders who use quiet hiring ensure that their employees’ voices are heard and given the time and space to advance their skills and work creatively on the job.
Quiet hiring emphasizes increasing skills instead of promoting turnover. If employees’ concerns and priorities can be solved and programs are in place to mobilize the employee base and improve their skills and training, you can increase employee engagement and productivity. Relying on alums and contract employees can fill the gaps while upskilling occurs.
According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, quiet quitting is less about an employee’s willingness to work harder—it’s more about the manager’s ability to build a relationship with their employees. This means that it’s up to the manager—using quiet hiring—to create an environment where the employee would feel motivated to give their all and spend their energy on advancing their work goals.