Quiet quitting has been something of a buzz-phrase since 2022. Following the Great Resignation that started post-pandemic – where employees began to leave organisations in greater numbers to take up new roles more aligned with their career aspirations, personal values or offers of flexible working – ‘quiet quitting’ as a phrase came from a viral Tik-Tok video and refers to those employees who stop doing anything above and beyond their basic role requirements.
Quiet quitters don’t actually quit, rather they become disengaged; they have mentally checked out of their role, their allegiance to the company, or seeking any sort of progression or development, but haven’t taken that final step of finding something they are more invigorated by and resigning.
Employee disengagement is a problem your organisation should already be familiar with tackling, but what makes quiet quitting a problem for your organisation now is the scale at which this is happening and the timing of employees’ disengagement. Gallup estimates up to 50% of employees are quiet quitters – half of your organisation could be, to some level, quiet quitting.
The impact of this? There’s an obvious hit on productivity, with less output from your workforce. Hearing “that’s not in my job description” is not helpful to businesses at the best of times but becomes a real problem to businesses that are trying to thrive, particularly during more challenging times, such as on the brink of recession. There’s also issues with stagnation, a lack of new ideas or innovation, an impact on culture and your ability to attract and retain new employees, all of which are crucial when your business faces into a challenging economy.
So, what can you do about it?
The first thing to consider is whether there is anything you can do to re-engage these employees. Are your managers having conversations about engagement, development, career planning? Are you listening to your employees around how and where they work? Have you offered any sort of training, development or coaching to your staff? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ then that would always be a great starting point to revisit and try to get your current employees back on board.
Chances are, though, you have already tried this. That’s the point at which it might be time to have a conversation about moving on. The trouble is that during a recession, employees are less likely to take the leap into the unknown and find something new, and we already know that quiet quitters are happy to bide their time. In this situation offering outplacement support can have a real, positive impact.
If people know they can work with an experienced career coach to identify their career plan and have practical support to execute it, some of that fear of the unknown is taken away. Disengaged employees change from being quiet quitters to positive leavers, excited about the future.
As well as allowing you to then focus on those employees that really want to be there and giving them the support they need to perform well, helping your quiet quitters to leave positively also helps to maintain, or even improve your brand reputation, and really importantly during times of recession, shows employees left behind that they will be looked after too if the worst happens.
If you need to make some changes to your business structure or headcount, you may even find that offering a voluntary redundancy programme accompanied by comprehensive, ‘as long as it takes’ outplacement support allows enough people voluntarily, removing the need for any compulsory redundancies. As well as removing the difficult decision of having to let people go during a recession, this can also help you save time and money and allow you to focus on other vital areas of your business.
Get in touch
If you recognise any of these issues within your organisation, we would love to have a conversation to see how we can help. Whether it’s helping to recession-proof your business, engaging your employees with our award-nominated development programmes, or helping people move on when the time is right, we have the experience and compassion to support you and your people through turbulent times.