Quiet Quitting: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - Prophit Co.

Shot of a young businessman looking tired while working on a computer in an office at night

“Quiet quitting” has been a hot buzz term recently. The term refers to the concept of an employee staying in their job but avoiding doing anything more than the bare minimum to get by. For one reason or another, they lose their motivation to put in any more effort or thought into their work than is absolutely necessary. In doing so, they retain their job and often meet performance expectations, but never take any extra steps to go above and beyond. Obviously, this behavior can present problems for themselves, their leaders, and their employers.

Luckily, there are plenty of methods a leader can use to get ahead of the issue. These methods include but are not limited to sending out surveys to gauge people’s attitudes and checking on their feelings and engagement level regularly in one-on-one meetings. Most importantly, empathize with them, understand their situations, and seek a deeper understanding of why they might be quietly quitting.

Dialogue around quiet quitting sometimes tends to focus on making a commentary on an employee’s character. Some are convinced in their view that quiet quitters as lazy, irresponsible, and uncaring. Meanwhile, they are either unaware or unwilling to accept the reality of why it is that employees engage in quiet quitting behavior. Research shows that quiet quitting behavior has a lot more to do with stress and leadership quality than the character of the employee.

Data from a survey of over 13,000 employees and over 2,800 managers conducted by Zenger/Folkman analysts shows that the worst ranked managers had 14% of their employees quietly quitting, with only 20% of their employees willing to “go the extra mile.” Meanwhile, the best rated managers had only 3% of their employees quietly quitting, and a staggering 62% willing to put forth extra effort (Zenger and Folkman).

Meanwhile, employees are experiencing increased stress and burnout at notably higher rates for a multitude of reasons. External factors causing employees to burn out include an unpredictable economy and social unrest (Llopis). A Deloitte survey of 1,000 American professionals revealed that 77% of respondents reported experiencing burnout at their current job (Fisher).

A leader has a choice to make on how they address the issue of quiet quitting. They can insist on blaming the employees in question while making assumptions about their character, or they can take a proactive approach to building a workplace environment that motivates employees to do their best rather than the bare minimum. Only the latter approach solves the issue at its core, allows for growth in a leader and their employees, and helps an organization’s bottom line.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman write that the number one most important factor in addressing the issue is building trust, based on their survey of over 113,000 leaders. By cultivating positive relationships, being consistent, and showing expertise, leaders can earn the trust of their reports and decrease the possibility of them quiet quitting (Zenger and Folkman). Additionally, Glenn Llopis recommends that leaders go out of their way to “humanize work.” By creating a healthy work environment that fulfills employees for who they are, leaders can motivate their employees to a new level and naturally mitigate quiet quitting (Llopis).

Fisher, Jen. “Workplace Burnout Survey: Burnout without borders” [Article]. Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/burnout-survey.html [Accessed March 6, 2023]

Llopis, Glenn (2022). “The Cure For ‘Quiet Quitting’: Humanize Work” [Article]. 21 September, 2022. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2022/09/21/the-cure-for-quiet-quitting-humanize-work/ [Accessed March 6, 2023]

Zenger, Jack and Folkman, Joseph (2022). “Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not About Bad Employees” [Article]. 31 August, 2022. https://hbr.org/2022/08/quiet-quitting-is-about-bad-bosses-not-bad-employees [Accessed March 6, 2023]

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The Realities of Stress and Workplace Leadership

Friday, April 14, 2023 - Taylor Salm

Stress levels have reached unprecedented heights with the unpredictable economy and high social unrest, alongside the lingering effects of a global pandemic. As April is Stress Awareness Month, now is the time to unpack the very real effects that stress has on our bodies and minds. Data and research indicate that stress has been a growing problem in America even before the onset of the pandemic. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) shed light on a variety of statistics that indicate just how widespread and dire the problem has gotten. Here are just a couple:

  • Based on data from 2019, Gallup reported that 55% of Americans are stressed during the day. To put this in perspective, over one in every two people you see every day are experiencing stress.
  • Research conducted by Everyday Health concluded that one third of their US respondents had visited a doctor due to a stress-related issue. The same study from Everyday Health found that 57% of those experiencing stress felt “paralyzed” by it.

Stress is a constant problem in most people’s lives today, and has real consequences for their health and wellbeing – with much of that stress stemming from the workplace. The AIS sheds light on a survey conducted by Everest College, which concluded that 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. The effects of this are worrisome, with Korn Ferry reporting that 66% of those experiencing work-related stress as enduring sleep deprivation as a result. Additionally, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Survey showed that 51% of US workers are mentally “checked out” from their work (American Institute of Stress).

The burden of workplace stress is felt deeply by leaders. As a leader, you carry the responsibility of strategizing to meet company objectives and targets alongside completing your day-to-day workload. More than that, you’re responsible for ensuring that your team members work in a fulfilling environment that minimizes stress for them. These are hallmarks of a good leader, and it is a high ask for anyone to achieve them, which is why leaders tend to suffer a lot from the stress of their daily burdens.

Luckily, this is a topic that leadership coaches deal with all the time. Seeking mentorship from an experienced coach can greatly help you identify and address your stress problems to become a more fulfilled, more effective leader in many ways. For example, coaches can help leaders and executives identify their stress triggers, manage their emotions, and create healthier habits of responding to stress (Jody Michael Associates). Your experience with a coach will be individually tailored to your specific situation and their methods, which makes them the best mentors to help you deal with consistent issues like stress management.

Stress is a major issue in today’s world, with a majority of people experiencing stress every day, and suffering the subsequent mental and physical health effects. It’s even more prevalent in the workplace, with an overwhelming majority of employees suffering from work-related stress, causing its own set of detriments for both people and organizations. With increased stakes and responsibility in the workplace, stress management is one of the most important skills for a leader to learn. A leadership coach is the best possible mentor to help you get started.

“42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics” [Webpage]. The American Institute of Stress. https://www.stress.org/42-worrying-workplace-stress-statistics [Accessed March 6, 2023]

“5 Ways Executive Coaching Can Reduce Your Stress” [Article]. Jody Michael Associates. https://www.jodymichael.com/blog/5-ways-executive-coaching-can-reduce-your-stress/ [Accessed March 6, 2023]

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