Amid ‘Great Resignation,’ Some Stay as ‘Quiet Quitters’

Disengaged employees dubbed “quiet quitters” now constitute at least 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, new Gallup research finds. The trend, which see millions of people meeting only their minimum job descriptions and feeling psychologically detached from their work, has gained steam on social media.

“Quiet quitting” arrives just as most jobs now require employees to make extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and meet customer needs.

Employee engagement began to fall in the second half of 2021, concurrent with large numbers of people quitting their jobs during “The Great Resignation,” Gallup said. Managers were among those whose job engagement dropped most.

Engagement levels for U.S. employees worsened during the second quarter of 2022. Even as the proportion of engaged workers remained at 32 percent, the share of actively disengaged workers rose to 18 percent.

According to Gallup’s findings — based on a random sample of employee surveys conducted in June of this year — the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees now stands at 1.8 to 1, the lowest in nearly a decade. Actively disengaged employees tend to spread their dissatisfaction on TikTok and other social media, Gallup found.

The research reveals a particular decline in employee engagement and satisfaction among remote workers who are younger millennials or members of Gen Z, those below age 35. These young survey respondents cite lack of clarity about what managers expect of them as a reason they’re dissatisfied with their jobs. Less than 40 percent of young employees in remote or hybrid settings said they clearly know what’s expected of them at work.

“Quiet quitters” also blame insufficient opportunities to learn and grow professionally on the job. Many young workers feel their managers don’t care about them. They feel no connection to the organization’s purpose.

According to Gallup, “quiet quitting” is a symptom of poor management. The firm suggests managers have one meaningful, 15–30 minute conversation per week with each employee.

Gallup also offers these tips for leaders:

  • Address manager engagement. Only one in three managers are engaged at work. Senior leadership needs to reskill managers to win in the new hybrid environment.
  • Managers must learn how to have conversations to help employees reduce disengagement and burnout. Only managers are in a position to know employees as individuals — their life situation, strengths and goals.
  • Managers need to create accountability for individual performance, team collaboration and customer value — and employees must see how their work contributes to the organization’s larger purpose. Decisions about where people work — on-site, remote or a hybrid schedule — should keep these factors in mind. Importantly, every organization needs a culture in which people are engaged and feel they belong.

[Photo credit: Lazy_Bear]

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