Late last year, the term “quiet quitting” became a buzzword for employees nationwide. While the use of the term has faded over time, it has left many employers wondering if their employees are as passionate about success as they are. Here are some ways to tell if your employees are engaged and committed to the work your company is doing.

What is Quiet Quitting?

In the second half of 2022, a social media trend on TikTok and other platforms showed workers engaging in “quiet quitting” at work. These employees weren’t resigning – though many of their colleagues were. Instead, they were refusing to do more than was necessary to maintain their employment. This lack of passion about success and disconnection from the broader purpose of their work caused employers to keep workers on the payroll, but miss out on their creativity, skills, and full capabilities.

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While the term “quiet quitting” is no longer trending, the practice isn’t going away. Some employees are engaging in “Bare Minimum Mondays” – which, as the name suggests, involves doing nothing mare than absolutely necessary to start one’s week. Others are actively or passively seeking new employment, especially as once-remote companies issue “Return to Office” demands.

The trend was so popular that “quiet quitting” became one of the “biggest workplace buzzwords” of 2023. Economists attribute this to a few related factors:

  • Layoffs and, shifting duties to remaining employees
  • Cost-of-living compensation increases that do not keep up with high inflation
  • Lack of raises or promotions and meaningful raises

In each situation, employees feel that their dedicated work was not being matched by equivalent compensation and commitment from their employers. This caused them to become less passionate about success and more focused on being treated fairly at work.

Are Your Employees Disengaging from Work?

In less trendy language, quiet quitting demonstrates that employees are increasingly disengaged at work. A 2022 Gallup poll revealed that at least 50% of US workers were “quiet quitting.” The poll revealed that worker engagement was down, with only 32% of workers remaining engaged while 18% were actively disengaged. That ratio – 1.8 to 1, is the lowest level of employee engagement in decades. The people in between fit Gallup’s definition of being “not engaged” at work – a definition that overlaps the concepts of quiet quitting. Workers who are “not engaged” are psychologically unattached to their work or company. They put time, but not energy or passion into their work.

In addition to the compensation issues described above, Gallup says that disengagement can happen due to a lack of:

  • Clarity in expectations
  • Opportunities for learning or growth
  • Feeling cared about by managers and business owners
  • Connection to the organization’s mission or purpose

This last one can be translated as saying that employees are not as passionate about success as their employers.

This lack of passion was especially noticeable for young employees, below age 35. Engagement in this sector dropped 4% between 2019 and 2022, while actively disengaged workers increased by 6%. Younger employees working remotely or in hybrid arrangements were least likely to agree that someone at their job cares about them, encourages their development, and provides them opportunities to grow.

How to Get Employees as Passionate About Success as You Are

Interrupting a trend of quiet quitting in your workplace means finding ways to make your employees as passionate about success as you are. Most of these changes can occur at the management level. Managers can increase their employees’ passion for company goals by:

  • Making genuine connections with each employee
  • Acknowledging out-of-office pressures and obstacles they are facing
  • Engaging employees in the goal-setting and strategic processes
  • Setting clear and reasonable expectations
  • Developing a culture of mutual accountability and respect
  • Encouraging open communication
  • Coaching new employees and finding opportunities for skill growth and maturity

It is easy to see how these strategies address the non-economic factors behind employee disengagement. By acknowledging your employees’ needs (in work and at home) and involving them in the decision-making process, you can encourage them to be as passionate about success as you are. This will help workers see the value in going above and beyond their job descriptions and combat the discontentment behind the quiet quitting movement.

David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 30 years’ experience helping managers lead their staff and improve employee engagement at work. Contact us to meet with David to create a plan to respond to quiet quitting today.