Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I want to thank everyone for the notes and support after publishing “Quiet Quitting is Nothing New: What It Is and What You Can Do About It”. I appreciate you and am glad to hear that the article was helpful.
Regardless of what we label it, the concept of quiet quitting should concern organizations. According to some new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 51% of HR professionals are concerned about quiet quitting. 70% believe it will have a negative impact on employee productivity, which is an important organizational priority.
So, the question becomes, “What can organizations do about it?”
I believe the answer lies with management. Some people want to believe that quiet quitting is about employees, and specifically about them being lazy and poor performers. It’s not. I tend to think in alignment with this Harvard Business Review article that “Quiet Quitting is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees”.
In the same SHRM research, nearly half (45%) of HR pros said their organization has struggled to motivate and engage employees. While some of the responsibility for motivation and engagement belongs to the employee, much of it belongs to management.
Managers are responsible for staffing their team, organizing responsibilities, planning the work, controlling resources, and leading the group. That’s the classic definition of management. If managers are unable to do these things – because they’re understaffed, overworked, burnt-out, undertrained, and faced with a budget crunch – then that impacts their ability to build positive working relationships with their team. It keeps them from training and coaching employees.
Here’s the reason I’m bringing this up. If managers are frustrated and/or exhausted because they feel that they aren’t getting the tools and support to be successful, then they
might be are quiet quitting too. And if an employee sees that their manager doesn’t care, they might ask themselves, “Why should I care if my manager doesn’t?”.
I don’t believe that organizations are intentionally trying to hurt their managers. But sometimes the little “do it and do it now” and “make it happen” comments can add up. Managers feel an intense pressure to deliver results. Unfortunately, the pressure can have the opposite effect. Managers get overwhelmed and stressed. Organizations need to take an intentional look at their management practices. Here are a few places to start.
COMPENSATION: One of the best things about being a manager is also the worst. Most managers are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which (basically) means they’re paid a set amount each pay period. If a manager shows up to work late, not a big deal because they don’t clock in/out. However, the reverse is also true. Need someone to stay an extra hour late? The manager isn’t paid extra. Organizations need to make sure that they are not abusing exempt status.
WELLBEING: Speaking of abusing exempt status, managers need to take care of themselves. I’ve said in the past that I’ve never seen a stressed-out manager with a calm team. It’s true. When a manager is stressed, everyone around them feels it. Managers will do their best work when they are able to care for their wellbeing.
TRAINING: And while we’re talking about managers doing their best work, let’s add that managers need to receive the necessary training. This might be in the form of classroom training, coaching, mentoring, etc. but they need to get the tools to do their jobs well. One big mistake I see companies make is promoting the most technically competent person to management and then not giving them the rest of the tools to effectively do the manager’s job.
Managers play a critical role in organizational success. They are responsible for building engagement and making sure that employees do the work to the company standard. They can’t do that if they don’t feel respected and supported in their role. This can permeate the entire organization. Organizations should be asking themselves whether they have an issue of managers quiet quitting and what impact that has on the rest of the workforce.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Chicago, IL26