In recent weeks there’s been a lot of chatter on social media about the latest trend impacting companies and employees called “Quiet Quitting” – a term that’s confusing in itself and one that has a number of different definitions, depending on who you’re speaking to. It’s sparked intense debate relating to work life balance and more specifically the expectations of companies and employees relating to career progression.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is the idea that employees don’t resign, they just take their foot off the pedal and do increasingly less at work. They stop putting in the extra effort, the extra hours and do just enough to not get fired. Therein is the first controversy.

Employees are hired to do a job. The role and responsibilities are usually clearly outlined at the time of hiring along with salary and benefits. Anything over and above that is a bonus, yet that is not the general expectation. Employees are well aware that if they want to progress in their careers they  need to do more. In fact, the expectation is that in doing more they’ll be up for a promotion or salary increase.

But this trend of quiet quitting is showing that despite putting in the hours and effort, employees are not getting the expected career progression, and so they stop doing the extra – and then are accused of doing the bare minimum. There’s something very wrong with this picture.

Employers no longer have the power

It used to be that the power belonged to the payer. This led to a culture that deems it acceptable for companies to have the expectations of employees doing more, without any obligation to give more in return.  It took a pandemic to shake things up, for people to realise that they didn’t need to sell their soul for a pay cheque. And more importantly, that they could have expectations of employers too.

Some business leaders are bringing a different perspective. These are the leaders that recognise that employment is a partnership where both parties depend each other. If one takes more and gives less the benefits of the relationship get lost. In the end it’s the companies that usually lose the most.  Companies that listen to the needs of employees, support them in their roles, pay their worth and go the extra mile in terms of demonstrating empathy, won’t have to worry about quiet quitting.