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Quiet quitting: what is it and how to deal with it in 2024?

Translated into French by the expression "silent resignation", quiet quitting describes the tendency to do more than the bare minimum in business. Rather, we believe it is decrying (note the nuance) outdated management. And rather than demonize quiet quitting, the companies concerned have an interest in doing everything to understand this movement and react positively.

From the great resignation to the quiet quitting

Let's first talk about the big resignation. The Covid19 pandemic has changed the place of work in our lives. The urgent need to rebalance professional and personal life has caused a good number of people to leave their jobs on impulse. This movement of "great resignation" was propelled by the difficult recruitment of companies: jobs, that's not what is missing, quite the contrary! Except that apparently resigning was not the best solution, because many regretted their departure. So, another response to the need for personal life/professional life balance was to stay in office, but to stick to contractual missions: silent resignation. 

From quiet quitting to Act your wage

Do what you are employed for, and no more… Should we really be offended by this way of working? Quiet quitting isn't doing its job badly, no. Quiet quitting evokes rather the notions of withdrawal from work, passivity and resignation. To go further than quiet quitting, which is perceived negatively, we are already beginning to hear about “Act your wage”, to remove any negative notion. The bottom is the same: work according to the missions set out at the time of hiring, no more.

How to detect quiet quitting in a company?

If you face quiet quitting in a company, this translates as follows: employees who until now accepted tasks that exceed their scope of work, now refuse them. If you are observant, you will realize that these are unmotivated and not very cheerful employees in the office. Are you beginning to see who is a quiet quitting enthusiast in your company? Now, what about quiet quitting? How to react as a manager or leader before it turns into a bore-out, or even burnout

What quiet quitting actually denounces

Let's refocus and expand the field of understanding and analysis of the quiet quitting movement. These are therefore employees who wish to work on the missions entrusted to them when they were hired. Act your wage. Nothing abnormal in itself. And since it is normal to work on what you are paid for, it is good that this movement denounces something else. For example, a management system rooted in a bygone era?… Just in case… Let's dig into the management side, because that's what it's all about. 

Measurement of employee engagement

Current management comes from a time when work did not have the same place in people's lives as it does today. If we reason as in this period, a good employee always does more than what he is paid for. Worse, he stays in the office the longest. “Look at Pierre, he is conscientious, the other day I saw him leave the office at 8 p.m. What dedication to his business! “How many times have you heard that said? At least if you are Generation Y and earlier…

Do we currently still agree with that? Perhaps today, a good employee is one who does the job they are paid to do, and who does it well. Perhaps today, the commitment of an employee is not measured by the time spent in the company. Today, we should agree that a good employee is one who achieves his objectives. But then, why is quiet quitting bothersome? We are getting close to the answer...

Act before it's too late

It therefore appears that companies still have progress to make in terms of their management, to recruit, motivate and retain their employees. The 2023 goal could be to make quiet quitting "normal", because it's not about doing its job badly (yes, we repeat ourselves). Here is how we think management could benefit from this movement:

  • Companies need to reengage their employees and give meaning to their work. They must work on the motivation of their employees. The salary is an index, but not only because it is no longer enough. A QVT strategy (quality of life at work) is a concept much more than just a trend that should make it possible to anchor employee commitment in a lasting way.
  • More than ever, employees need feedback, recognition and to be paid according to their work and their objectives. Be pragmatic and realistic. Open the dialogue, listen, progress together according to the objectives specific to each one. 

Quiet quitting joins burn-out and bore-out, which are part of what are called psychosocial risks in the workplace (RPS). They are to be taken into account as a priority by managers in order to keep their company in good health. 

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