Quiet Quitting and the Great Resignation: Our Top Employer Tips

Emma Crupi Category-01

It is widely known that burnout is a problem for many people after spending a lot of the last three years navigating multiple COVID-19 lockdowns. Because of a combination of remote work, lockdowns, and not being able to travel overseas for holidays or to visit friends and family, many people have been reflecting on what is truly important to them and taking steps to establish boundaries between work and life. A line that appears to have been permanently blurred by newly adopted working habits.

Quiet quitting is a growing trend among today’s employees seeking a better work-life balance. With a new set of priorities, employees are moving away from a “hustle” mentality and setting clearer boundaries as they adjust to and embrace new work environments.

Many organisations in Australia and around the world are currently dealing with ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘the Great Resignation’.

What is ‘quiet quitting’?

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘quiet quitting’? We recently attended a Culture Amp webinar, and one of the topics discussed was quiet quitting. So, what exactly is it?

Quiet quitting is a newly coined term for when workers only do the job that they’re being paid to do, without taking on any extra duties or participating in extracurriculars at work. Despite its name, the philosophy of quiet quitting is not associated with quitting a job, but rather with doing exactly what the job requires.

You may come across this term on various social media channels, with many TikTok videos emerging about the new trend.

Some straightforward causes of quiet quitting are:

  • Excess workload
  • Poor compensation
  • Blurred boundaries
  • Lack of support
  • Poor communication or conflict resolution skills
  • Unclear or shifting expectations

The ‘Great Resignation

In an interview in May 2021, organisational psychologist Anthony Klotz coined the term ‘the Great Resignation’. Klotz described a wave of people quitting their jobs because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which caused employees to reconsider how, where, and why they work.

A hand closing a laptop that is next to a pink desk clock.
The Great Resignation is a wave of people quitting their jobs due to the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Can ‘quiet quitting’ affect your business?

When unemployment levels are high, workers must often accept the negative effects, knowing that they have few other options. However, unemployment is currently at a decade low of 3.6% in the United States and 3.5% in Australia.

As a result, employers and organisations are the ones that will be affected.

Falling effort levels of employees can have a negative impact on output quality and quantity. If a talented employee who could have produced an item, closed a sale, or otherwise increased revenue no longer works those extra hours due to ‘quiet quitting’, revenue will clearly fall.

Some other effects that quiet quitting can have on your staff are:

  • Disengagement and dissatisfaction from your employees
  • Team conflict
  • Low workplace morale
  • Decreased output

The workplace is changing

Ongoing discussions have been had across the world about the disruptive effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace. The disruption caused by the pandemic is causing permanent shifts in desired ways of working, employee engagement, and, as a result, workplace mental health.

With Allianz Workers Compensation claims data showing a 17% increase in mental health (psychological) claims since pre-pandemic times, the need for open dialogue regarding mental health in the workplace could not be more pertinent.

As the initial impact of COVID-19 fades, employees are returning to work. These major changes are expected to have an impact on organisations that are slow to adapt to the rapidly changing workplace and the demands of a modern workforce.

According to Allianz Australia research, 42 per cent of Australians are experiencing fatigue and burnout, and 34 per cent have been affected by increased workloads due to staff shortages and a failure to replace lost employees.

It is estimated that approximately 2 million employees are very likely to consider leaving their current organisation within the next 6–12 months.

How to combat quiet quitting and the great resignation as an employer

Although the situation may appear dire, there are numerous ways to change the course of your staff’s quiet quitting and possible resignations.

It is necessary to rethink, reshuffle, refocus, and reset to overcome these new trends. Organisations can retain employees by emphasising human-centricity, agility, resilience, and sustainability.

HR Coordinator at hussetHR, Sophia Divirgilio, says, “Finding different ways to keep employees engaged as opposed to relying on traditional methods, such as salary increases, can be really effective at combating these new trends.”

Here are some strategies you can use to start making positive changes to combat quiet quitting:

Lean into ‘good enough’

A key element driving quiet quitting is that many people are tired of stressing about work It is critical to recognise the value of high-quality work, but also to recognise that ‘good enough’ is sometimes better than nothing at all. Perfectionism can actually cause people to put in less effort, not more, because their subconscious reasoning is: “If I’m not going to get this right, I won’t try as hard.”

Keep increases in workload short-term

Working at or above maximum capacity on a continuous basis is not sustainable long-term. Most employees are not opposed to working extra hours on occasion, but when willingness is abused and a favour becomes the norm, issues can arise.

Maintain boundaries

Quiet quitting can enable employees to set boundaries and prevent co-workers or managers from invading personal time. You can reinforce those boundaries on their behalf before they resort to this extreme reaction.

You can, for example, emphasise that answering after-hours calls or emails is optional, or you can reward employees who stay late by allowing them to leave early the next day.

Lead by example

The desire to set more firm boundaries on overtime and not be pulled into work during weekends and holidays is a key component of the quiet quitting movement. Therefore, to help prevent quiet quitting from occurring, management can learn to respect employees’ downtime, which will allow them to relax and decompress. It’s important for employers to make it clear to their staff that it is okay to take time off.

Some more strategies to consider:

  • Show gratitude to your employees
  • Properly compensate your team
  • Support employee wellbeing
  • Encourage breaks and sustainable growth
  • Employee recognition
  • Monitor mood and behaviour changes
  • Help people prioritise

How can hussetHR help your business?

At hussetHR, we can help you work with your employees to combat quiet quitting and implement positive strategies to boost their motivation and work quality.

We empower managers and employers to make informed decisions and assist them in achieving their organisation’s goals.

We are here to answer any questions you may have about how your organisation can deal with shifts in workplace culture and expectations.

When determining the optimal solution for your company, it is advisable to get experienced HR advice. hussetHR is always available via phone or email and ready to advise you on the best course of action.