Is ‘quiet quitting’ misunderstood?

The term ‘quiet quitting’ was coined by Bryan Creely, a career coach on social media


The term ‘quite quitting’ is trending on social media these days. In fact, there have been numerous articles in the global media about the same. Given the way the media and the industry leaders have portrayed this phenomenon, ‘quiet quitting’ has has come to acquire a negative connotation.

Leaders have been talking about how harmful the phenomenon can be for the careers of the employees and for the overall culture of an organisation. There is talk of about quiet quitting can disturb the ecosystem and take away the zeal to win and stay in the lead.

For those who are unaware, ‘quiet quitting’ is a topic that has gained a lot of attraction of late, thanks to social media influencers around the world. The term refers to the practice of employees choosing to adhere to just the job assigned to them. Simply put, it refers to the employees’ unwillingness to go above and beyond their duty, or choosing to not put in those extra hours that may require them to work beyond their key responsibility areas or KRA.

“There is a tendency to misunderstand things when one starts losing one’s employees”

Debjani Roy, CHRO, Mind Your Fleet

However, many leaders argue that this term has been misunderstood by the industry and its leaders. People have taken no time to ridicule the concept of ‘quiet quitting’, labelling ‘quiet quitters’ as mere ‘employees’ or ‘lazy people’ as they chose not to go the extra mile.

Some people argue that ‘quiet quitting’ has nothing to do with productivity and laziness in employees, and that it is more about not making one’s life all about ‘work’ alone. It is all about rejecting the idea of work dominating our lives.

Quiet quitting is more about giving importance to a perfect work-life balance, where there is nothing wrong in enjoying one’s life, spending time with the family and doing what one wants.

As per Debjani Roy, CHRO, Mind Your Fleet, post the pandemic, companies have been focusing strongly on scaling up the business. However, it was also the time where there were immense opportunities outside for people as well. This led to businesses losing their talent. “There is a tendency to misunderstand things when one starts losing one’s employees,” admits Roy.

In fact, some professionals argue that industry leaders and the media have been manipulating the term ‘quite quitting’ for their own benefit. With so much negativity surrounding the concept, the hard working lot of employees try to keep the philosophy ? which seems to be spreading like wildfire ? at bay.

Generally, this practice has been observed more in Gen Z, the youngest cohort of employees.

What drives them to think so?

The pandemic has played its role and made people realise that spending extra hours at work and slogging it out like a donkey pays nothing. They have come to realise that spending time with loved ones and doing what one loves is equally important.

“Organisations will have to actually move with this cultural shift in the new generation that expects to be instantly compensated for the hard work and every bit of effort they put in”

Manish Majumdar, head-HR, EMS, Centum Electronics

Gen Z has been witness to the economic recession a decade back. They saw their parents getting laid off. Even during the pandemic, they saw people losing their jobs. Naturally, it makes them think whether going the extra mile or putting in those extra hours is worth all the trouble.

Also, as Manish Majumdar, head-HR, EMS, Centum Electronics, rightly points out, “Companies will always have some flaws with the rewards and remuneration (R&R) system”.

Roy also agrees that hard work does not always translate to satisfying rewards for people.

In fact, rather than choosing to fight the idea of ‘quiet quitting’, organisations should accept it and act accordingly. “Organisations will have to actually move with this cultural shift in the new generation that expects to be instantly compensated for the hard work and every bit of effort they put in,” shares Majumdar.

Roy strongly believes that the industry needs to get more familiar with this new generation. “We need to accept that they are ready to work, but only on their own terms. And most importantly, for any extra effort that they put in, they will question, ‘What is in it for me?’’” asserts Roy.

Majumdar adds that the progressive companies try to enable their employees to go that extra mile by automating some tasks or supporting them by providing flexibility. However, he observes that only some companies are do it and some others are on their journey.

Maybe it is time for managers and leaders to ask themselves, ‘What is wrong in employees seeking ‘me’ time’?

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