What does quiet quitting mean? - Secure Screening Services
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What does quiet quitting mean?

16.02.2023 | securesdev | Opinion Back To Blog Posts

Modern HR operates completely differently compared to how it used to in the past. In recent times, there have been major developments impacting HR procedures and policies such as technology and the arrival of the internet, the progression of women’s rights in the workplace, anti-discrimination laws, and of course, the pandemic!

Modern employers need to do all they can to keep hold of their highest-performing employees who possess immense talent.

High-performing employees constantly leaving for pastures new due to feeling unfulfilled or undervalued by their employer is a disaster for any business, and will have a negative impact on your productivity levels.

Here at Secure Screening Services, we have taken an in-depth look into what quiet quitting means, and how effective screening can be at helping to prevent it from taking hold amongst workforces.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is a term coined in the HR industry to describe employees who feel disengaged, undervalued, and perhaps also underpaid by the organisation they work for. ‘Quiet quitters’ basically focus on ensuring they get their heads down and go through the motions of working pay cheque to pay cheque and doing very little at work beyond that.

Life in 2023 is stressful, and UK employees under pressure can easily reach a point of ‘burnout’, where they become psychologically drained by the stresses of life and the demands placed on them by their employer.

A female employee rubbing her eyes in distress at her work desk.

Thriving businesses operating with a positive company culture should have workforces that feel generally satisfied and content with how they’re treated by their employer. Having an overall positive company culture should prevent quiet quitting from becoming a major issue. However, a recent study in 2022 found that only 9% of UK workers felt enthused by their work and workplace.

On the other hand, maybe there are some rational understandable reasons behind the trend of quiet quitting. Perhaps, for many years now workers in the UK have grown accustomed to workplace ‘hustle culture’ where they allow their employers to overwork them and detrimentally affect their work-life balance.

Could it be high time for employees to start speaking up about employers encouraging negative business cultures where staff constantly battle against burnout?

Why are people quiet quitting?

Now we’ve established what quiet quitting means, it’s time to look into why exactly people are quiet quitting and struggling to motivate themselves to work hard for their employer.

The long-impact of the pandemic

The impact of the pandemic could be one driving force behind why staff are quiet quitting. The pandemic was a shock to employers and employers alike, and it has had significant consequences on how staff work and operate. In no time whatsoever in March 2020, the world turned on its head, and many people had to adapt quickly and switch to remote working from home on a long-term basis.

Lockdowns and the pandemic have also led to increased levels of depression and anxiety among staff. 80% of youngsters worldwide have suffered from disillusionment, depression, or anxiety since the start of the pandemic.

Many employees in the post-pandemic era have been able to have a good think about how much time they dedicate to their family, out-of-work leisure activities, and whether their employer offers them a fair work-life balance.

The desire for a better work-life balance

Quiet quitting can at times be a symptom of employees feeling that their work-life balance is out of kilter, and currently leaves them feeling unfulfilled.

During the pandemic, some employees grew to appreciate the benefits that working from home had on their work-life balance. Maybe it took the pandemic for people to really start realising that their employer needs to do more to step up and offer them a better work-life balance.

Cost of living crisis

Times are undeniably hard at the moment. The cost of living crisis could also be another significant factor that is driving quiet quitting. Higher energy bills, inflation, and rising mortgage rates are all contributing to the money in workers’ pockets now being worth less than before.

Workers seeing themselves as undervalued and underpaid by their employers are feelings that are interlinked and which could be exacerbated due to the cost of living crisis, especially given the added expense it has on everyday things.

Childcare commitments

Childcare pressures pose both logistical and financial challenges for employees, and a lack of childcare provisions is something that can lead to quiet quitting. So, in order to reduce quiet quitting amongst staff with young children, employers should think about offering workers childcare benefits alongside their regular salaries.

Strong sentiments of being overworked can lead to quiet quitting in the workforce. One way to prevent this from taking hold is to offer flexibility and perks, such as giving employees half days once a week for instance. Your staff may greatly appreciate a few hours off work on a Friday afternoon at the end of the week!

Wellbeing related issues

Anyone going through a difficult time may find themselves needing to take time off at any point, so mental health and wellbeing related issues always have the potential to cause quiet quitting.

However, employee wellbeing is something that employers in 2023 must make a concerted effort to support and get on top of. Allowing staff welfare issues to fester will only lead to a negative company culture.

Be proactive. Show your staff you care about them through implementing wellbeing initiatives, rewards, constant communication, and offering structured support for any stress or mental health-related issues.

Toxic work cultures

Quiet quitting can in some cases stem from a ‘pushy’ or high-pressured toxic company culture coming from the management department. Poor management where employees feel overly pressured by managers over a long period of time can lead to staff becoming resentful and start thinking about quitting to work elsewhere.

Employers must therefore work to train managers properly, and teach them how to communicate effectively and respectfully with staff, considering their wellbeing at all times.

To create a positive work culture, staff ought to feel comfortable about approaching their managers about any issues or queries they have.

The effects of quiet quitting

The effects of quiet quitting can spell trouble for employers and be a clear sign that they need to reassess and make serious changes to their HR policies and company culture. Think about what you offer staff and why job applicants looking for work should pick you over other employers.

A female employee staring away from her laptop looking deep in thought.

Low productivity

Businesses need to consistently make profits in order to continue operating in a healthy way, especially in tough economic times. One of the most harmful effects of quiet quitting and low employee engagement levels is reduced business productivity.

Demotivated and dissatisfied employees are far more likely to bring low energy levels into work, and in turn, lack the desire to work hard and be productive for an employer that doesn’t appreciate them.

Underproductive businesses don’t tend to last long. This is one of the reasons why employers should take control and have a real good look at how they can improve their company culture to limit quiet quitting and its knock-on effects.

High staff turnover

Quiet quitting can also lead to a high staff turnover rate and low retention. High staff turnover will have an unsettling effect on the business overall since it leads to you losing your best talent, and spending endless amounts of time and effort on regularly having to recruit, train, and onboard new staff.

Employees like stability and knowing where they stand, and that is tricky to create when their colleagues are changing all the time and when nobody tends to stay very long.

How to prevent quiet quitting

Even during challenging times for businesses, quiet quitting is not inevitable. There are proactive steps that can be taken to help prevent quiet quitting.

Reward your employees

Firstly, it’s essential to reward employees for their efforts and ensure they know that their hard work has been recognised.

Rewards may come in the form of salary bonuses, extra holiday days, vouchers for their favourite store, or even spur-of-the-moment celebratory work social events when a team has put in hard work to achieve something.

To keep motivation levels high and help ensure staff feel valued, make sure merit-based workplace rewards are the norm. However, be realistic by understanding that every employee cannot go ‘above and beyond’ all the time. Employees should be praised for working hard, but at the same time know that it’s fine to have a healthy work-life balance in check.

Excellent employer-employee communication

A damaged relationship between employer and employee can stem from a breakdown in communication. Therefore, employers must do their best to communicate effectively with personnel to prevent quiet quitting from taking hold. This may be through regular in-person work meetings, emails, online messages, video calls, and more.

Failing to communicate properly and listen to employees’ grievances will only lead to workers developing heightened feelings of isolation and disengagement.

Offer mental health and wellbeing support

Have you noticed a significant number of your employees are taking time off work for wellbeing-related matters like depression, burnout, and stress? Lead by example and demonstrate you take employee wellbeing seriously by offering therapy sessions and support from trained mental health professionals as part of your staff’s employment package.

Adequate support provision for wellbeing and mental health should help to hopefully prevent quiet quitting from becoming a widespread issue amongst your staff.

Support employees’ professional development

In order to stay put and enjoy continuing working for you, staff need to see feasible opportunities for internal professional development. It’s therefore on employers to ensure they plan their HR procedures meticulously and offer employees real opportunities for internal progression.

One way employers can support employees’ professional development is by providing funding for work-related courses to help them upskill. Whether it be a diploma, university degree, professional accreditation, or another relevant vocational qualification, investing in your employees’ development is key to preventing quiet quitting.

Offer flexible working hours

Today, employees tend to enjoy having more room for flexibility when it comes to their working hours. Inflexible working hours get staff members down and produce employee burnout. So, try preventing quiet quitting by being as flexible as you can with the working hours you offer to staff.

How screening can help prevent quiet quitting

Ensuring you employ individuals who are a good fit for what you stand for as an organisation and share your company values by getting the screening process right will go a long way in preventing quiet quitting.

Here at Secure Screening Services, we are experts in providing employers with flexible, robust, and competitively priced employment screening services. Recruiting can quickly become expensive for your business if you consistently fail to get it right.

A group of happy employees smiling having lunch together.

We are customer-centric and there to help you optimise your recruiting process by carrying out thorough screening procedures for your new employees.

Are you an employer that needs to ensure higher levels of employee screening when recruiting for your roles? Perhaps you operate in a sector where employees will come into regular contact with vulnerable individuals. Here at Secure Screening, we’ve got your employment screening needs covered.

If you are interested in using Secure Screening Services to help take excellent comprehensive care of all your screening needs, get in touch with us today and speak to our friendly team by calling 01243767868 or emailing hello@securescreeningservices.com.