How to deal with Silent Quitting

Effects and countermeasures

The Great Resignation has left its mark.

After organisations reacted proactively in some cases, many organisations failed to take the necessary steps to do so and hoped that the effect would not have a major impact. The opposite was the case.

Photo by Romain V on Unsplash

In the USA, forty-seven million people quit jobs of their own accord last year. This represents almost one-third of the working population. The European figures will not be quite as high but still show dramatic proportions.

Great resignation is now followed by silent quitting.

What is this about, and how can you deal with it proactively?

What is it?

Silent Quitting means silent resignation. However, no one quits. Employees will continue to show up for work. Work starts on time and finishes on time. Employees, however, adhere exactly to the agreed parameters. No extra work is done voluntarily. The German term Dienst nach Vorschrift (Duty by the book) describes this best. There are many reasons for this. Disappointment in dealing with the post-pandemic period, a lack of flexible working arrangements, and poor leadership.

The reaction

Immediately, the blame is attributed to employees. Statements by people such as Kevin O’Leary are particularly appalling (Source: CNBC, https://www.youtube.com/shorts/GRIeLMotUOY). According to him, silent quitting is bad for one’s career. In business, people are always grateful for extra work. The statement is not followed by any evidence. He even goes as far as to say in the same sentence that extra work must be managed because people have to want it. Otherwise, he denies employees adequate work attitudes. A narrative is quickly drawn that clearly states one aspect in essence: those who practise silent quitting are lazy, these people are not valuable to the organisation, and they must change.

The reality is different.

How to deal with it

Managers must stop repeating the same story: the narrative of lazy employees. The never-ending tirades are becoming so tiresome that even in the discourse of society, people rarely take sides with organisations that provide jobs. An important pillar of the free economy may be lost in the future. The preferred organisations for work after school have long listed the police, customs, and civil servants in general in high ranks of places school children wish to work. It is time for managers to stop sketching an unsubstantiated picture of a workforce allegedly unwilling to work. Claims such as those that no one works from home, that flexible working time models are not possible, and that inflation compensation is equally impossible only lead to one result: demotivation and fluctuation in the workforce.

Be proactive in the way you deal with them. Offer flexibility. The more, the better. Rethink payment models. Look at, evaluate, and improve the organisational culture. Get professional guidance for these changes.

With regards to the availability of talent in the market, especially with new generations entering the workforce, it is essential that you are positive, open, and willing to change in the face of silent quitting. If this is not done,
change-resistant leaders will soon become a significant problem and risk for the organisation.

Read more about Silent Quitting in
this week’s podcast: Apple Podcast / Spotify.

Is a proactive approach to the issue important to you?
Let’s talk: NB@NB-Networks.com.

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Niels Brabandt

Niels Brabandt

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Niels Brabandt is in business since 1998. Helping managers to become better leaders by mastering the concept of Sustainable Leadership. Based in Spain & London.