What is quiet quitting? How can we explain this phenomenon which is impacting more and more companies and what can they put in place to re-motivate employees? Here is the insight of work psychologist Christophe Nguyen.
“Quiet quitting is a new relationship at work which would concern 7 out of 10 employees”, as reported by Christophe Nguyen, occupational psychologist and president of the Empreinte Humaine firm, focused on the quality of life at work and the prevention of psychosocial risks. But what exactly does quiet quitting consist of?
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting (silent resignation in French) is a disengagement of employees, both in terms of energy invested and time spent, without however being accompanied by resignation. “It is one of a certain number of neologisms, such as the “big quit”, which appeared post-health crisis showing, beyond the fashion effect, the expression of a new relationship to work”, observes Christophe Nguyen. Also, “although it is deplored by many HR managers and managers, it clearly shows that we must adjust our efforts to the level of recognition necessary for the worker”, he adds. Besides, by disengaging, employees do not put themselves at odds with labor law : they accomplish their tasks, work their hours, but no more overtime for example. A way to preserve their health, without impacting their salary, or risking losing their permanent contract. For the occupational psychologist, this is a new balance of power with the employer (posing its salary demands, its requirements in terms of salaries, hours, etc.) supported by a labor market favorable to people, because recruitment becomes difficult.
Origin of this phenomenon
According to the president of Empreinte Humaine, “quiet quitting is the consequence of imposed teleworking and what the Covid-19 crisis represented”. In short, the impact that this had on the place and relationship to work in people’s daily lives. Among those who were entering the world of work or questioning their professional choices, this gave rise to a form of silent resignation which invaded social networks. Claim ? Do the bare minimum at workwithout really leaving the company. “They thus avoid over-commitment, too much effort for which they would not feel recognized and which would no longer have meaning”, analyzes Christophe Nguyen. And, if he concedes that the fact of taking one’s foot off has always existed, particularly when one feels that one is not recognized at its fair value or fairly treated, but we claimed it less, because there was no sounding board social networks. Now, we aspire to regain control by finding a better balance between personal and professional life. Our salary activity no longer constitutes the ultimate goal of life. At the same time, we are looking for a way to flourish elsewhere.
Causes du quiet quitting
Why does quiet quitting affect young people more?
This phenomenon particularly affects the new generation of workers because it was publicized in the United States via TikTok, then in France, and created a buzz in particular through a certain number of influencers who felt that it had to take our foot off the gas. Moreover, it follows the big quit, a very significant wave of resignations during and just after the health crisis, which took place in the United States. Phase during which entire sectors of the economy lost labor. In France, we have not had to face the same phenomenon: despite an increase in departures, reorientations and absenteeism for health reasons. “What is central to this phenomenon is the question of health at work, well-being in the broad sense and balance in one’s relationship to work”, estimates our expert. And especially young people, who demand a very strong connection between professional life and personal life. “For them, work is a way to have a rich personal life and to be able to devote time to their loved ones”he reports.
What are the signs that an employee is silently resigning?
The employer can observe a process of Changing behaviour. “There is a before/after that must be striking. No one arrives at a position and does as little as possible”, recalls the psychologist. The employee was perhaps used to arriving a little earlier than the others and this is no longer the case. Same in the evening, it will tend to leave earlier than before. If he was very cooperative and frequently offered help to his colleagues, he may also stop doing so. “We also frequently observe a less investment in proposing creative ideas and taking initiatives in general”, he explains. The employee shows himself a lot less proactive, more passive. Without taking sick leave, he is content to do the minimum.
How to re-motivate employees?
“For some time now, the notion of life balance has been much more present in business”, rejoices the president of Empreinte Humaine. To re-engage their employees, employers must, according to him, work more on what matters to employees : namely their working conditions (workload, fairness), their recognition, their salary, but also the atmosphere within the teams and management. “By working on psychological well-being at work, people will be more motivated and therefore efficient and invested in their profession”concludes Christophe Nguyen.