Why UK Workers Quiet Quit and How Companies Can Reignite Their Engagement
In 2022, the term “quiet quitting” swept through social media, capturing the essence of a pervasive workplace phenomenon. Coined on TikTok, this trend highlighted a subtle but significant issue in workplaces across the UK. Quiet quitting refers to employees who meet the basic requirements of their job but withhold the extra effort that could propel a company towards greatness. Quiet Quitting: A Silent Struggle in the UK Workforce.
Recent findings from a survey conducted by Lanes Group plc in April 2023 reveal a startling reality – two-thirds of UK professionals have embarked on a journey of quiet quitting. These employees tread the line, doing just enough to keep their positions secure but holding back on the enthusiasm and dedication that could transform a workplace.
The Quiet Quitting Dilemma
The survey sheds light on some compelling statistics:
- Prioritizing Growth: When it comes to job satisfaction, UK professionals have their priorities straight. Better opportunities for promotion and career advancement (40%), a competitive salary (40%), and increased options for remote work (33%) top the list of benefits and incentives that matter most when evaluating a job offer.
- Reasons for Departure: Analysing why individuals leave their jobs, the survey identifies common factors. A lack of flexible hours and remote work options (38%), inadequate compensation (30%), and a sense of dissatisfaction or disinterest in their work (28%) are frequently cited as reasons for departing.
- The Quiet Quitter Population: According to research from BetterUp, a significant proportion of UK workers (one in three) classify themselves as “quiet quitters.” These employees show up to work with a simple objective – to do no more than what’s necessary to maintain their employment status.
The Trade-off: Wellbeing vs. Engagement
What’s intriguing about the quiet quitter category is the trade-off they make between engagement and wellbeing. This group excels in stress management (26% better), enjoys better rest (29%), and experiences a 24% lower risk of burnout, especially when compared to their counterparts, the “workaholics” – those deeply engaged but struggling with work-life balance.
However, this wellbeing advantage comes at a cost. Quiet quitters often lack a sense of purpose at work (16%), motivation to learn and grow in their roles (13%), and organisational commitment (13%) compared to workaholics. These disparities present challenges for employers striving to retain top talent and boost productivity in the competitive UK business landscape.
The Roots of Quiet Quitting
Quiet quitting doesn’t arise out of nowhere; it has roots. Ngaire Moyes, UK country manager at LinkedIn, points out that many individuals find themselves stuck in jobs that fail to ignite their passion or interest. While they desire new roles, a lack of opportunities in the job market leaves them feeling frustrated, stagnant, and devoid of agency. They remain in their positions not because they feel fulfilled but due to a lack of alternatives.
This is where quiet quitting takes its cue. Most often, it’s the nature of the work itself that triggers this phenomenon. Employees who feel uninspired and believe they lack the opportunity to leverage their strengths tend to contribute the minimum required effort.
A Cultural Shift Towards Engagement
During the hiring crisis, many employers offered greater flexibility and mental health support to retain their workforce. However, as talent shortages eased, some organisations may have scaled back these offerings. Yet, the core reason for quiet quitting remains unchanged – company culture.
Nela Richardson, Chief Economist at HR management firm ADP, underscores the importance of company culture in combatting quiet quitting. While external factors play a role, a lack of engagement often stems from a workplace culture that fails to inspire and nurture its employees.
Quiet quitting is a silent struggle that affects a substantial portion of the UK workforce. It’s a complex issue rooted in work dissatisfaction, limited opportunities, and company culture. To reengage their employees and curb the tide of quiet quitting, companies must prioritise creating a workplace culture that fosters growth, innovation, and a sense of purpose. By addressing these concerns, organisations can reignite the enthusiasm of their employees and propel their businesses to new heights in the post-pandemic era.
References: Quiet Quitting: A Silent Struggle in the UK Workforce