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All Quiet on the Workforce Front

There is a strange hush across workplaces from coast to coast.  There’s an awful lot of “quiet” happening in today’s office – can you hear it?  And this quiet is having impact on recruitment, retention and how people think about their jobs. To understand these movements and the noise – or rather the silence they create – it is best to first define these new trends of:  Quiet Quitting, Quiet Hiring, Quiet Promotion, and Quiet Firing.

Quiet Quitting
Quiet quitting refers to an employee who disengages from their work and stops putting in the effort but does not formally quit their job. Reasons for this can include a feeling of being unappreciated, undervalued, underpaid, or not having clear goals and expectations. The employee may also be unhappy with their job or company culture. Quiet quitting can have negative impact on the employee’s performance and on the company’s overall productivity and morale – and worse, it can be contagious.

Quiet Hiring
Quiet hiring is when a company hires employees without formally announcing the new hires or providing information about the new hires to the existing staff. This can happen for a variety of reasons, most often because a company wants to keep the new hires under wraps for competitive reasons or not wanting to disrupt the existing team.  Many first heard this term when an Inc. magazine article cited it as ”a backward, yet brilliant recruiting strategy used by Google to look at staff who were taking their duties and responsibilities above and beyond their job description.”  This gave way to employees having the opportunity to advance their careers while being promoted from within; it frequently left easier-to-fill positions available to external pipelines for faster hires.

Quiet Promotion
One potential negative of quiet hiring is quiet promotion which happens when an employee is promoted without any formal announcement or explanation which can leave the employee wondering if they have indeed moved up the ladder.  Companies may choose to do so for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to keep the promotion under wraps for competitive reasons or not wanting to disrupt the existing team. Quiet promotion can lead to confusion and mistrust among the existing employees and can also make it difficult for the promoted employee to integrate into the new role or even feel good about it.

Quiet Firing
Quiet firing is the last link in this employment Quiet Zone and refers to employees who are fired without any formal announcement or explanation. These terminations may happen to avoid a public relations crisis or not wanting to disrupt an existing team. Quiet firing has been shown to have negative impact on an organization’s overall morale and again, may lead to confusion and mistrust among existing employees.

How Did We Get Here?
It is difficult to provide an exact percentage of workers who are quiet quitting as it can be hard to measure and detect. However, according to a Gallup study, actively disengaged employees (employees who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace) make up about 13% of the workforce.

Similarly, it is hard to provide an exact percentage of employers who engage in quiet hiring, quiet firing, or quiet promotion as these practices are not as common as the media might have us believe.  In order to mitigate any negative impact, it is important for employers to communicate clearly and openly with employees about staffing changes, and to provide regular feedback, goal setting, career development opportunities, and recognition to employees.

Transparency and trust are critical to a balanced, well performing workforce. Employers should be transparent about their hiring and promotion processes and communicate openly with their employees about any job openings or promotions. They should make sure to provide regular feedback and recognition for a job well done and provide opportunities for growth and development. Let your workforce celebrate their achievements.  Too much quiet is deafening.

Similarly, employees should be proactive in communicating their goals, aspirations and concerns to their managers and should be open to discuss opportunities for growth and development. They should also be aware of their own engagement levels and take steps to address any issues that may be affecting it, both personally and professionally.

 

The Silver Lining –  Quiet Workers
A healthy work environment that prioritizes employee well-being and engagement will lead to a more motivated and productive workforce.  Although it is has not gotten the attention the other “quiets” have received – Quiet Working was referenced in an article by Adam Bryant of the ExCo Group who talks about a whole other set of overlooked employees. Bryant writes, Leaders need to raise their game and do their part to make work more engaging and crack down on bad managers who make life miserable for their teams. They need to more clearly articulate how people can contribute and what is expected of them.”

Bryant continues, “This issue of quiet quitting is fraught, and I want to be clear that there is a balance of shared responsibility here. Bad bosses give their employees plenty of reasons to throw up their hands and disengage. Companies need to make work more engaging beyond just coming up with lofty purpose statements. But let’s also give a shout-out to the value of a strong work ethic.  A lot of companies are making progress and doing their part to try to figure out the new world of work. And so are the #quietworking employees – those who own their job, whatever it is.” 

#quietquitting  #quiethiring  #quietfiring  #quietpromotion  #quietworking


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