Quiet Quitting … or Career Correction?

BRANDON BIELICH

Author

CATEGORIES

Categories

Resignation, reshuffle, rethinking. We’ve come to know The Great Resignation as an economic trend that involves employees who hand in their notices in record numbers. While Quiet Quitting doesn’t involve resignation per se, organizations shouldn’t ignore the long-term effects of employees who observe the viral TikTok trend.

In this blog, UKG’s Brandon Bielich introduces the term Career Correction and Culture Correction which employers may use to address Quiet Quitting and improve employee wellbeing in their organizations.

One of the hottest trends up for discussion (and debate) in HR right now is the idea of “quiet quitting.” The topic went viral on TikTok, in which the original video posted July 25 presents the now-ubiquitous term. Since then, TikTok videos with #quietquitting collectively have garnered millions of views daily.

But don’t mistake the quiet quitting trend for the millions of workers who’ve actually left or switched jobs during the pandemic and amid the Great Resignation. Dig a bit deeper, or just watch the initial video, and you’ll learn quiet quitting is a misnomer.

Participants in the trend aren’t necessarily quitting their jobs outright. Instead, they’ve decided to quit making work the center of their lives, going above and beyond constantly, and measuring their self-worth mainly by their output and productivity at work.

Maybe what we’re actually witnessing here is a series of “career corrections.”

What’s a career correction?

In the stock market, a correction occurs when an index, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average or S&P 500, decreases by at least 10% but no more than 20% in a relatively short period of time (a more than 20% decrease usually indicates a bear market). Although a correction can be costly for investors, it’s not really a crash as much as a return to normalcy in an otherwise-inflated market.

When it comes to work, maybe we’re starting to see a decrease in hustle culture, where we’re no longer quick to praise or encourage employees who work countless extra nights and weekends for no extra pay or even added recognition. Don’t get me wrong: Hard work often begets success, and it can help land a desired job, earn a promotion, and establish a career. But it shouldn’t come at an unsustainable price.

Well past discretionary effort, constant hustling can lead to several negative outcomes — even from people who love their jobs — such as increased burnout, which takes a toll on employees’ physical, psychological, and occupational health and well-being.

That said, I recognize quiet quitting itself comes from a place of privilege. There are millions of workers across the United States — most who’ve remained on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, while millions have worked remotely or adopted a hybrid-work approach — who must work multiple jobs and/or more than 40 hours a week to meet their financial needs, especially in a time when inflation remains at record numbers.

Moreover, a July 2022 market survey from Great Place To Work of nearly 4,200 part- and full-time employees found that fewer than half of U.S. hourly workers find fair pay, promotion opportunities, or purpose at work. Salaried employees also report less stress and more meaning in their roles than their hourly colleagues.

And, studies show that salaried employees are more likely to take — or even receive — paid time off than hourly employees. Time off can help prevent burnout, though many hourly workers cannot afford to take the necessary time.

Second thoughts or necessary change?

The Workforce Institute led an insightful study earlier this year — “Resign, Resigned, or Re-Sign?” — on people who quit their jobs during the pandemic and whether they regretted the decision. According to our results, 43% (more than 15 million people) did regret it, and nearly 20% have already since boomeranged back to their prior employers. We also looked at the disconnect among employees and their managers as to why people quit, what would’ve made them stay, and other deciding factors.

It will be interesting to see if people end up having second thoughts about quiet quitting. I predict most employees won’t, at least at first — and most managers will. Workers will likely feel a long-elusive sense of balance as they career correct, while leaders will worry that employee productivity could decline, customers could feel the brunt, and business results could wane. Some companies may even resort to terminations, if they find employees who’ve fallen into “bear career” territory.

But, what if there’s a better solution?

The time is ripe for companywide “culture corrections,” where workers don’t feel pressured or required to work 60-80 hours a week, six or seven days a week at a 40-hour pay rate. Companies, instead, should focus on building cultures where employees feel safe talking to their managers when there’s a problem or they feel overworked.

If a worker starts to retreat, their manager should conduct a stay interview to see what’s on their mind. If it’s still not clicking, they can explore a better-suited role within the organization that will move the business forward while reigniting the employee’s interests, so they don’t resort to quitting — quietly or otherwise — and can continue to thrive in their career.

Perhaps then, the quiet quitting trend will be replaced by reenergized retention, where employees feel a renewed sense of passion and pride in their work, and even their companies. After all, when workers feel cared for, valued, and respected, they might willingly put in some extra effort, better serve customers, and help improve overall business.

That’s a welcomed correction that will yield positive returns for everyone.

Brandon Bielich

Brandon Bielich is the managing editor of The Workforce Institute at UKG.

BRANDON BIELICH

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees