How ‘Quiet Quitting’ can harm you

Silent quitters will find themselves stuck in a rut in their careers if they don’t shrug off this attitude


The term ‘quiet quitting’ or ‘silent quitting’ has become a hot topic of discussion on social media these days. Many TikTokers such as Clayton Farris, with 48,000 followers and Zaid Khan, with more than 10,000 followers have talked about the act of ‘quiet quitting.’

So, what exactly is it? It is simply an act of doing the bare minimum at one’s job. That means, refusing to go an extra mile at work, and sticking only to tasks for which one is hire and compensated for. Therefore, taking up some extra work if another employee is absent, will be a ‘no’ for ‘quiet quitters’. They’d rather limit themselves to just the work or activities for the day or the exact number of working hours.

Going an extra mile actually helps one’s career, and therefore, HR leaders believe that such ‘quiet quitters’ are not just putting their careers at risk, but at the same time, spoiling the work environment. After all, if the tribe of quiet quitters begins to expand in an organisation, the employees will soon lose the zeal to have an edge over others.

“Many governed or strictly-regulated organisational cultures actually promote monotony, which bores the employees and leads to them developing a silent-quitting attitude”

Tanaya Mishra, global CHRO, Strides Pharma

“Quiet quitters are people who consider their jobs as exactly that — mere ‘jobs’— and not ‘careers’,” shares Sharad Sharma, CHRO, Pramerica Life Insurance.

Sharma says that such employees do exist in small numbers in every corner of the organisation. While he feels that a worker may be able to get away with such an attitude in a factory setup, employees in a corporate setup will have to be open to some amount of flexibility and be willing to work for extended hours, if required.

Impact of silent quitting

All HR leaders believe that ‘quiet quitting’ actually impacts the overall performance and also the culture of the organisation. Citing the example of brands such as Netflix or Google or other tech firms that started with nothing, Suresh Bose, CHRO, Jindal Stainless, says that such brands have put in a lot of effort to reach where they are.

However, markets are getting more competitive with each passing day. Every year, a new competition enters the market, and therefore, one needs to have that zeal to stay ahead. “The zeal to stay in the lead is lost when there are quiet quitters in the team,” says Bose.

Further, Sharma believes that companies tend to lose a performance-driven attitude in their culture if they have too many quiet quitters. He cautions, “Silent quitters tend to distort the organisational culture because they propagate the idea of quiet quitting and influence others as well”.

The population of silent quitters is on the rise. As per data collected by Resume Builder, about 25 per cent of all employees, across generations, simply do a bare minimum job at their workplaces.

Bose finds more ‘quiet quitters’ amongst the freshers or new entrants in the firm, and warns that such an attitude is not good for the organisation in the long term. According to him, a father may go out once again to fetch some grocery despite returning from work tired and exhausted. He does it for the family. Similarly, a mother will get to work in the kitchen immediately after returning from office, as she is filled with the thought of feeding her children. “This is the kind of parent-like attitude that needs to be shown at work,” assert Bose.

“Quiet quitters are people who consider their jobs as exactly that — mere ‘jobs’— and not ‘careers’”

Sharad Sharma, CHRO, Pramerica Life Insurance

A Deloitte survey also suggested that millennials and Gen Z give more importance to their work–life balance as compared to Gen X or boomers. Even a Resume Builder survey suggested that 30 per cent millennials have an attitude of doing just the bare minimum at work compared to eight per cent Gen X.

Tanaya Mishra, global CHRO, Strides Pharma, states that such an attitude can also be observed in experienced or senior leaders as well. For instance, in promoter- driven companies, if the promoters have an attitude of doing things only the way they want and refuse to listen to others, then even senior leaders will resort to ‘quiet quitting’. This happens when people feel that it is not their company, and therefore, a feeling of ‘why should I care’ sets in. “Naturally, such an attitude begins to cascade down the ranks as well,” shares Mishra.

Why is the number of quiet quitters growing these days?

With the term ‘quiet quitting’ becoming a hot topic on social media, many employees have started associating with it. While the term may be new, the behaviour isn’t. In fact, this attitude has existed for a long time. It is just the christening that has happened now. For many, the pandemic has triggered the need to focus on work-life balance. Remote working actually increased burnout amongst employees and now people want and rather demand a balance between professional and personal life.

Bose points out, “Youngsters do not find it very difficult to land a job these days. For them, not having a job and sitting idle at home is not a big deal either, since their parents are there to support them financially.”

Also, the job market is candidate friendly, as there is no dearth of opportunities.

“The zeal to stay in the lead is lost when there are quiet quitters in the team”

Suresh Bose, CHRO, Jindal Stainless

Sometimes, the culture of the organisation can also lead to the attitude of silent quitting. “Many governed or strictly-regulated organisational cultures actually promote monotony, which bores the employees and leads to them developing a silent-quitting attitude,” enunciates Mishra.

The reward strategy also matters here. As per HR leaders, people are supposed to be rewarded well for their efforts. If employees find they are not gaining anything substantial by going an extra mile at work, they will not be motivated to do it.

It is important to manage quiet quitters, and the best way to do so is by having a conversation with them suggests Sharma. “Find out the reason for such a behaviour,” he advises.

Quiet quitters must realise that their behaviour is harming their own selves. As per experts, such employees fail to go a long way in their career. Most often, they find themselves stuck at the same level / salary, without any promotions or increments.

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