The world of work has changed irrevocably in the past five years, with numerous global and national events introducing new technologies, new challenges and new motivations for the UK’s employed. One new phenomenon, which snuck in following the explosion in remote working and the cost-of-living crisis, is ‘quiet quitting’ – and it could be harming your business.
What is Quiet Quitting?
The term ‘quiet quitting’ began to grow in popularity on social media platforms, in the latter half of 2022. It describes a general attitude to work, in which individual staff members effectively discontinue going the extra mile for employers: no early starts, late finishes, special efforts or enthusiastic contributions. Essentially, quiet quitting is employees giving the bare minimum.
There are numerous factors at play in the recent promulgation of this phrase. A combination of exploitative businesses and working conditions, rising inflation, and other external pressures have created a climate in which workers feel undervalued – and led many to re-evaluate their relationship to work. Why give extra effort if it does not guarantee recognition, good pay or even job stability? To this end, the problem of quiet quitting is the employer’s problem to solve. But what might a business do to encourage more from their employees?
A Supportive Working Environment
For starters, it is important for employers to understand the nature of the ‘problem’. It is not a productivity issue to solve, but an industry culture problem – one where positive change lifts all ships. This needs to start from a Human Resources perspective.
Employees need to feel empowered in their roles, and having a clear line of communication with HR is a major step in this. For businesses with larger staff cohorts, human resource management systems are vital to streamlining queries and ensuring all voices are heard. Proactive approaches to employee concerns, as opposed to reactive ones, are ideal.
Of course, one of the central causes of quiet quitting is pay. Wages have been stagnant for too long, while inflation has made it harder for employees to put food on the table. In a world where work is not fairly compensated, employees are not incentivised to work ‘fairly’.
With this in mind, re-adjusting your salary offerings to better reflect a living wage in today’s society is a powerful move and one that will immediately assuage some fundamental concerns in your team. Not only this, but more competitive pay will attract better, more engaged talent.
Finally, no employer should expect their employees to work beyond contracted hours. Overtime should always be a choice, and always be well-remunerated. Otherwise, staff should feel comfortable carrying out their work day as outlined in their contract – and should never have to be ‘on call’ outside of work hours to answer queries.