Sarah McVanel is the founder of Greatness Magnified, an organization that specializes in providing training programs and certifications for employees at large. She is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, and creator of F.R.O.G.—Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness. She invigorates companies to earn great people and to see their people as exceptional so that, together, they can create a thriving culture where everyone belongs.
Despite its name, quiet quitting has nothing to do with leaving your job. It refers to employees doing what their job requires and nothing more—quitting doing anything extra. You still clock in on time, complete your assigned tasks, and leave when your day is over, not taking on any extra work outside your regular hours. It’s about doing your job but never going above and beyond.
A Gallup poll estimates that over 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged in quiet quitting, and that number is only on the rise. Is it just a U.S. thing, or even a “new” thing? Nope. Not even close. Maybe you used to call it “on-the-job retired.”
People are tapped out. What used to be a subtle struggle with the “work is life” mentality is now a direct, outright demand for work-life balance.
Some might suggest that it’s a matter of laziness and entitlement; others notice low energy and being noncommittal about the future. We also see a widespread trend of people thinking, “I probably won’t be here long.” In other words, the seeds of quiet quitting have been planted, and all it takes is just enough impetus to move on.
It’s a much-needed wake-up call for employers.
This has once again turned into a generational debate. For many, quiet quitting, like so many other workplace issues, is the fault of “lazy millennials.” Yes, this trend was made popular by Millennials and Gen Z on TikTok, but let’s not forget this is nothing new. Nor can one group or one social channel have that much influence. This trend has societal, economic, emotional, physical and philosophical influences.
What can you do now?
- Spark an internal conversation at work by sharing this article
- Notice and call out surface reasons given for turnover and look at deeper issues
- Give more depth to leadership development to support leaders struggling with the fallout of disengagement every day
- Call out subtle ageism when you hear generational groups being stereotyped
At its core, quiet quitting is this: disengagement. Let’s consider the value of the concept of “quiet quitting” as spurring us to action. However, let’s not get caught up in labels or jargon to distract us from the real issue. This new, buzzworthy term is a call to action.