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September 29, 2022

Stop ‘quiet quitting’ before it starts

Here’s how to avoid the latest workforce trend by keeping staff inspired and engaged.

In the news

The phenomenon of “quiet quitting” has roared into the business landscape following its introduction a few months ago in a viral TikTok video. Among others, NPR has done an excellent series of stories exploring various aspects of the movement.

So it’s hardly quiet. Neither is it quitting. Rather than actually handing in their notice, quiet quitters simply change their work habits to align only with their agreed-upon work obligations—nothing further. As the saying goes, they begin working to live rather than living to work.

The Cognizant take

It’s hardly a secret that the pandemic has led many people to ask themselves deep questions about how and where they want to live, with a significant impact on their work-related choices.

“The fact that the discussion about the ‘great resignation’ has been largely replaced by talk of ‘quiet quitting' may reflect workers’ perceptions of tougher times ahead for the economy—even if they maintain a newfound desire for better work-life balance,” says Eduardo Plastino, Director at Cognizant Research and author of The Purpose Gap study. Keeping your job is safer than quitting if you fear a recession looms.”

While there is little employers can do about workers’ changing values, they can improve their understanding of what those values are, as well as how younger people in particular see the interplay between their purpose and their jobs.

“This is an excellent example of the disconnect between leadership and the workforce,” says Keahn Gary, Senior Manager at Cognizant Research. “Employees are taking steps to make clear their boundaries and what they want from their work experience. Leaders need to be open to the possibility that there’s a better work arrangement for team members.”

Workers value opportunities to develop their skills in their jobs. However, our analysis of data from a recent Economist Impact study found that executives across industries are implementing just three or four out of 10 well-known talent management best practices. Further, only 50% of leaders in the study considered employee engagement or motivation as being very important.

The lesson for employers: Create a work environment that both inspires team members and enables them to feel their career is moving forward. Create a culture that both acknowledges and rewards contributions.

By creating sound social and environmental policies and objectives, and ensuring employees understand them, as well as setting realistic targets for workers and offering them the support they need to grow professionally, businesses can ensure people are more engaged with their jobs and increase business productivity.

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