On the heels of the pandemic, many employees have altered the way they think about their workplace culture, leading them to reevaluate work-life boundaries. As a result, many are participating in “quiet quitting.” While the term has taken on many meanings, it can be described as the practice of an employee disengaging from the workplace by only performing bare minimum job requirements. A quiet quitter will not go above and beyond what is expected.
Supporters of quiet quitting argue the concept is merely a means to dismantle toxic workplace cultures and prevent burnout. But from an employer’s perspective, quiet quitting may be worse than the real thing. Employees’ refusal to come in early, stay late, or take on challenging projects results in low productivity and a loss in profits. Not to mention, quiet quitting has negatively affected business reputations. Due to the term’s growing popularity, employees have felt comfortable vocalizing their workplace grievances online, which can interfere with an employer’s efforts to hire talent.
The good news is that quiet quitting may not be all it is cracked up to be, as it does not shield an employee from consequences for putting it on cruise control. Oklahoma is an “at-will” state, meaning that cause and notice are not required for an employer to fire an employee. So, even though quiet quitters are technically meeting expectations, an employer maintains the ability to terminate absent any discriminatory and/or retaliatory purpose.
Employers should prioritize ways to curb the detrimental impact of quiet quitting. Now is a good a time for employers to review job descriptions to ensure they accurately encompass all job duties each employee is responsible for performing. The same is true for offer letters and employment agreements: Expectations should be clear. Employers should take advantage of the opportunity to examine their performance review process, bonus structure, incentives and pathways to promotion. It is imperative to gauge whether an employer’s expectations are effectively communicated in a manner that motivates the employee to create job goals.
Finally, continuing to be proactive in creating an environment where employees feel respected and valued will help employers combat “quiet quitting.” Maybe that will have a name someday, like “quiet managing.”
Don’t worry, there’s still time to think of something catchier.
* This article first appeared in The Journal Record on December 14, 2022, and is reproduced with permission from the publisher.