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Quiet Quitting, Quiet Firing, and Quiet Hiring... What Are They and Why Should You Know About It?

For the past few months, the hashtag #QuietQuitting has dominated social media channels. It all started with a social media video of a user describing the idea behind “quiet quitting”.

“You’re not abandoning your job overtly, but you’re losing the concept of going above and beyond at work. You’re still doing your job, but you’re not buying into the hustle culture attitude that says work needs to be your life,” the person on the video argues.

It sparked many discussions since the post quickly struck a chord with hundreds of individuals disillusioned with the grind or hustle culture and agreed that going above and beyond for your job does not always result in a higher salary, recognition, or career advancement.

On the other hand, there are also two hooplas of “quiet” actions circling “quiet hiring” and “quiet firing”.

What is quiet firing? Simply put, a quiet firing occurs when an employer purposely behaves poorly to get someone to quit. Going years without a raise or promotion, moving duties to jobs requiring less experience, or purposefully withholding development and leadership opportunities are a few examples of quiet firing, according to LinkedIn News. It resembles someone who wishes to part ways with an individual but lacks the nerve to do so.

On the other hand, according to an Inc article, “quiet hiring” is Google’s little-known but incredibly effective recruiting method — just not for employees unwilling to go the additional mile. It’s Google’s under-the-radar recruiting strategy of honing in on employees who are already going above and beyond, perhaps even taking on additional responsibilities that prove they have what it takes to excel in a given role.

What do the two have to do with quiet quitting? Well, because of quiet hiring, those quiet quitters might miss their chance of moving forward in their careers. Now the next question is, can the idea behind quiet hiring entice quiet quitters? Let’s find out.

A quiet quitter’s agenda

The phrase “quiet quitting” refers to employees doing the bare minimum expected of them rather than truly abandoning their positions. If you’ve seen The Office (US), you’ve undoubtedly seen Stanley. We can view Stanley’s work style as a “quiet quitter.” Why?

Stanley works as a sales representative for Dunder Mifflin. He takes his profession seriously, yet he is a really miserable and dissatisfied employee who is indifferent to his surroundings, as seen by a frigid open in which he fails to notice any of the pranks going on around him. He is characterized by apathy and aimlessness. He works less than he should. He is uninterested in discussing views and frequently agrees with whatever everyone else has decided. Workers who quietly quit have long fought the notion that their workplace is their home and their coworkers are their family. They’re redefining healthy boundaries by keeping business interactions apart from their personal lives.

Did the pandemic trigger the quiet quitting trend?

There is no doubt that the pandemic created a slew of obstacles that increased what was expected of employees while also allowing them to rethink what alternative work models may look like.

According to a Denver University survey, employees are stressed even more by working from home. While some work-related things became convenient, like commuting, work ultimately dragged on.

However, remote work has discreetly driven the quiet quitting trend in numerous ways. For one thing, it has increased the amount of hours employees work, adding to higher levels of burnout. Moreover, according to research, burnout is a major concern in the workplace, particularly among younger Gen Z professionals in their twenties.

On the other hand, remote work provided new notions such as Fridays off, digital meetings, and flexible work hours. But with the “freedom” that employees have experienced, remote work has allowed these individuals to slack off undetected.

According to a KornFerry report, remote workers admit they aren’t working 25% of the time, confirming managers’ biggest worry. Slacking off at work can provoke schisms among coworkers because some are left to accommodate for others. This, in turn, could foster a toxic working culture, which may compound employee dissatisfaction.

But we cannot solely blame this on the new way of work that we have now. Saying no to “work is life” culture is a choice, and possibly some are rooted in an employer’s engagement strategies.

Employee engagement has declined for the first time in the United States over the past two years. According to a Gallup poll, from 2019 to 2022, the percentage of engaged employees under 35 fell by 6%. At the same time, the proportion of actively disengaged employees climbed by 6%. This is alarming to some extent because when employees get disengaged with their jobs, it allows them to reduce the amount of passion and energy they bring to their jobs, which may lead to them joining the ranks of quiet quitters.

Now the question is, is it too late to still flip the script for quiet quitters? Are there little-known ways to help combat the situation? Can companies use quiet hiring as a way to entice quiet quitters?

Tapping into the zeitgeist of quiet hiring

According to SHRM research, 51% of HR professionals are concerned about silent resignation. Furthermore, HR experts who are afraid that quiet quitting will have a negative influence on their business feel it will reduce employee morale in the workplace (83%), employee productivity (70%), or the quality of employee work products (50%). With that, can quiet hiring be the solution to quiet quitting?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, because quiet hiring is a way to entice “quiet quitters” to go for the gold and become more active in the team; however, not all workplaces are the same. Some workplaces are monolithic and have varying values and priorities. Values are an essential aspect of any organization. They define what is important to the organization and what employees are expected to do. Suppose the values of an organization are well-defined, aligned with leadership actions, and knitted into the fabric of the firm. In that case, employees who understand them will be more likely to act in the organization’s best interests.

However, having varying values and priorities doesn’t mean enticing “quiet quitters” is impossible.

Investing on effective managers

Quiet quitting is clearly a sign of poor management. According to data gathered by the Harvard Business Review, quiet quitting typically has less to do with a worker’s willingness to work more inventively and more to do with a manager’s capacity to forge bonds with staff members. However, we believe every organization can still flip the script by revisiting manager engagement. Only one in every three supervisors is actively working. Senior management must reskill managers to compete in the new hybrid environment.

Managers must learn how to engage with employees in order to help them reduce disengagement and burnout. Only managers have the ability to know their staff as persons, including their life circumstances, abilities, and ambitions. Managers need to foster a culture of accountability for results, teamwork, and customer value, and workers need to understand how their efforts fit into the bigger picture.

Giving employees a clear roadmap of their career trajectory

We believe expectations should be explicit and open and that they should be reinforced. Organizations should focus on deadlines, as well as availability for cooperation and communication, and a shared understanding of what amount of flexibility is acceptable.

Employers might implement good steps such as increasing family leave rights, menopause, and fertility worries policies and generally paying more genuine attention to employee health and wellbeing. Employers may find team-building events beneficial. They must, however, consider the impact of requiring mandatory attendance in tasks that employees may accomplish from home, as this can encourage both “quietly quitting” and outright quitting. Allowing for flexibility shows that you care about your employees’ personal lives.

These considerations should be factored into any decisions made regarding whether employees will work primarily from the office, remotely or a combination of the two. Most importantly, any organization needs an environment where employees are engaged and have a sense of belonging.

Binita Gajjar
Binita Gajjar

Content Marketing Lead

Binita is an experienced Content Manager with demonstrated expertise in advertising, editing, journalism, publications, and copy editing. With a strong media and communication background, supported by a Masters in Art, Design and Communication focused in Design and Visual Communications, General from the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT) University, Binita is the epitome of reliable and talented.

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