What Every Manager Needs To Know About Quiet Quitting

Quitting Quietly – What It Means For Managers. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Fifty per cent of the US workforce is quiet quitting according to a research poll from Gallup, and here’s what managers in Australia need to know about it.

Quiet quitting is a corporate movement where workers have said “enough” to overworking, and decided to set boundaries for their wellbeing. Workers are no longer willing to go above and beyond the scope of their job descriptions if it means sacrificing their mental health, and instead, they’re staying within the limits of their job description.

Meanwhile, the number of disengaged workers is rising, a trend that catalysed during the great resignation. Amidst inflation, workers are tired of being asked to do more without the compensation to back their responsibility level. And yet, according to the Gallup poll, many quiet quitters also fit the description of disengaged workers: a desire to do minimum required work – and psychologically detached.

The Great Resignation left a lot of jobs undone. As a consequence, employers have been asking their remaining workers to pick up the slack. Job responsibilities are growing without adequate compensation. And worse yet, workers are getting burned out.

A recent Monster poll showed that 60% of workers are quiet quitting for being underpaid for what they are asked to do. Or is this simply workplace “disobedience?”

The same Monster poll found that 34% thought quiet quitting was an excuse to be lazy and 44% said it wasn’t for them because they liked their job and they wanted to exceed expectations. Only a quarter of those surveyed were fearful of being fired, laid off, or demoted.

Gallup researchers blame this phenomenon on poor management, citing that only 1 in 3 managers is engaged and that senior managers are ill-equipped to work in the new hybrid environment. Interestingly, it wouldn’t take much to fix.

Solving the quiet quitting problem can be as simple as having one meaningful conversation with each employee per week, and according to Gallop, 15-20 minutes is sufficient.

Employees can still reclaim personal wellbeing and a sense of self despite the moving target of rolling responsibilities. But workers need to be willing to have a conversation – the employers need to listen.

Here are three tips to restructuring your job description so that you don’t get burned out or find yourself on the hunt for a new job.

  1. Have your job description updated and clarified. Responsibilities often deviate from original job descriptions. If you perform under the “new” role, you will be held not only to the new things you do but also to the items on your job description – you have effectively invited unspoken changes in your description. Instead, have your job description changed to reflect the work you do and work within those parameters. And if a raise is warranted, have that discussion or, at the very least, set up a meeting on a predetermined future date to have that discussion.
  2. Establish a project schedule. When you work as an employee, it can seem strange to set up a project schedule for additional tasks. But if you are asked to do something outside your scope, agree to take on additional responsibilities as if it was a project. Be clear that when the “project” is done, you will resume your regular duties. The schedule ensures that you are only doing extra work for a specified period.
  3. Set priorities. If you take on new responsibilities, set new priorities. Ask to speak with your supervisor and work through your job description and added responsibilities together so that you can set priorities. Let them know what priorities and tasks you have on deck currently, and which ones you plan to get to at what time. See if they’re in alignment with your timelines, and ask them to help you re-prioritize if not! You may learn that some of the things on your list either are not important anymore or have been passed onto another employee.

A slight word of warning though, as a lot of workers that quit during the Great Resignation realised that the grass isn’t always greener. One in four regret their decision primarily because they cannot find a new job. Of those that found a new job, 42% said it wasn’t living up to their expectations.

MBA News
MBA News is Australia's leading source of news, views and information about doing an MBA in Australia. MBA News was established in 2014 to provide prospective MBA students with the information and resources to start their MBA journey. We hope to inspire all of our readers to the take the first step on the long road to an MBA.