Quiet quitting is real and it's a terrible idea. I am here to challenge the notion that finding balance in life comes from less effort in the workplace and a rise in the number of disengaged employees. Instead, we should raise a red flag and refuse to accept this insanity! We should be searching for employees that want to “earnestly engage” which means they are 100% in for culture, customers and creating a thriving workplace.
For any human resources folks out there, that are trying to recruit candidates in 2022, you probably feel like a salmon swimming upstream…in a frozen river. The “business” of people these days is arguably the most challenging it has ever been with not much relief in sight on the short-term horizon. And if the current economic climate is not enough to make you sweat, now TikTok is the new place candidates are going for employment advice. Seriously, people?? Of all the TikTok trends I’ve seen come and go, the most unfortunate one is being dubbed “Quiet Quitting” making this the latest HR buzzword (and nightmare) as employees are choosing to give their employers minimal effort under the guise of striking work/life balance.
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To understand how to reverse the trend, we should consider how we got here. COVID hit, employees went home to work and that put them in a position to take an introspective look at how, when, and where they want to work. Flash forward 12-18 months and the world began to reopen leaving many companies trying to figure out what to do…go back to the office or keep this remote thing going? Regardless of what choice was made, employees came out of COVID with new views on work and “quiet quitting” was born. Enter TikTok…Ugh!
As the old saying goes, “time is money”. I would suspect that the wave of employees choosing to give less of their mindshare, time and effort are not marching up to their CEO’s desk and announcing that they would like to get 60% of their pay because they intend to give 40% less of themselves. For those that have made a choice to work part-time for reduced wages, thanks for following the rules! The reality is that costs are going up and everything is more expensive leaving most people in a position of needing more salary…not less and tighter wallets that will certainly add stress to most households…so you can say “bye, bye work/life balance”.
Of the more than 3 million people that viewed the initial TikTok that started this disengagement trend, I would bet there are at least a few (plenty of sarcasm there) that spend hours upon hours looking for ways to connect with people via social media or activities outside of the office. Why would they do that? Barbara Streisand said it best “People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world”. Humans are social creatures, and we are meant to form friendships, communicate, provide emotional support to one another, etc. This is the beauty of regularly showing up to WORK (yes, actual work) in an office and ENGAGE with your coworkers. The concept of work is not new folks…it has just gotten lost in the shuffle of COVID fears, hybrid workforces, skyrocketing inflation and…I guess TikTok. As an HR professional, I challenge all my peers to find ways to re-engage your employees and that starts with YOU! Happy coworkers will go home and be happy husbands, wives, parents, and friends.
Lastly, do any of us really want to see what happens if we usher in the next generation of employees and set the bar halfway up? I certainly do not! As a parent of five children (4 of whom are in college right now), I want them to want to work. As an HR professional and as their parent, I consider it my role to teach them what it means to be an employee that “earnestly engages”.
So, what side of the debate do you fall into? Are you willing to watch your staff “quietly quit” as you frantically try to fill seats in your office? Or are you going to ask them to be all that they can be and devote the time and effort it takes to “earnestly engage”? Let’s start a NEW TikTok trend.