How Covid Unleashed Quiet Quitting and The Great Resignation + 5 Strategies to combat this Development
“Quiet Quitting” and “The Great Resignation” – two extraordinary phenomena have rattled the corporate world amidst the Covid pandemic and leave companies wondering what is going on with their most valuable assets – their employees. In the next few paragraphs, we shall shed light on the mechanisms behind these exodus trends and explore the underlying motivations that propelled the average Jane and Joe, to either stealthily or very publicly exit their positions.
Decoding Quiet Quitting
Quiet Quitting, is the art of making a silent getaway from one’s employment without fanfare or explicit announcement. As opposed to an actual resignation, employees who “quiet quit” actually stay in their jobs and on your payroll. They still show up. What they don’t do anymore is to go beyond what is required. They do the bare minimum they have to do to not get in trouble and “keep the lights on”, so to say. But they for sure won’t put in any extra time or effort. And with the pandemic blurring the lines between work and personal life, it’s easier than ever to get away with it unnoticed.
Unleashing The Great Resignation
As the pandemic triggered widespread introspection, it set the stage for a seismic wave known as The Great Resignation. Professionals across industries, from entry-level workers to seasoned executives, began to question the status quo, and seek greener pastures. The allure of a reset, a fresh start, and a renewed sense of purpose became irresistible. So, they quit their jobs – oftentimes even without a plan B.
But why would your people embark on a covert departure or downright quit their safe and stable jobs?
The pandemic has affected employees in a multitude of ways. To put it simply however: It has served as an awakening, forcing individuals to reevaluate their priorities and question the conventional notions of success.
Most of all, it affected your people in the following three areas:
a. Work-Life Reassessment: Remote work blurred the boundaries between personal and professional life, offering a glimpse of what a more balanced existence could be. All of a sudden, employees became aware of what was possible in terms of flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to prioritize family, personal interests, and well-being.
Let’s just consider working from home as an example. Before the pandemic, working from home was more of an exception in most companies and industries, for when you had a sick child, or an electrician or plumber come to your home. With the start of the pandemic, working from home suddenly became possible on a broad scale. And while it was a new challenge in the beginning to juggle family and work in one place, people learned to embrace it and started valuing not having to commute, having more time for their families or even being flexible enough to go to the gym during the day.
b. Existential Reflection: I still very vividly remember the panic about all the statistics that were thrown around in the beginning of the pandemic. The scariest one I heard was that one out of seven would die. I remember us sitting in the office that day, counting through the colleagues to figure out how many of us wouldn’t make it. It was surreal.
The pandemic compelled individuals to confront their mortality, leading to profound soul-searching. People started asking themselves, “Am I living my best life? Am I making a difference?” And with that, the focus changed away from traditional values like stability and job-security towards meaning, purpose and fulfillment. For some people the focus changed so much, that it propelled them to abandon unfulfilling roles and seek work that resonated with their values.
c. Pursuit of Growth and Learning: The pandemic disrupted routines and challenged individuals to adapt swiftly. With that, your people realized the importance of continuous learning and personal development to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape. Stagnation became unbearable, pushing them towards new opportunities for growth.
Corporate Challenges in the Face of Exodus
With Quiet Quitting and The Great Resignation sweeping through the corporate realm, organizations are grappling with multifaceted challenges. The departure of talented individuals leaves skill gaps, hampers team cohesion, and threatens knowledge retention. Companies are left with no choice but to act decisively to address these issues, to not be caught in the tempest of talent scarcity.
5 Strategies for keep your people (happy and engaged)
In order to counteract the development of people leaving (physically or just mentally), companies have to take into consideration the following five pillars that became the foundation of job-satisfaction for employees (and thus ultimately the foundation of people retention):
a. Cultivate a Purpose-Driven Culture: Align the organization’s mission with individual values, instilling a sense of purpose in your people. Communicate the positive impact of their work and foster an environment that supports their growth and fulfillment.
b. Prioritize Employee Well-being: Demonstrate a genuine commitment to employee well-being. Invest in comprehensive wellness programs that cater to their physical, mental, and emotional health. Provide resources and support systems to navigate challenges. And I am not just talking of just the “new challenges” like remote work. With your people being more critical about how their jobs affect their well-being it is more important than ever to also address the known challenges, like stress, burnout, interpersonal conflicts, and underutilized talent.
c. Enhance Flexibility and Autonomy: Embrace the lessons learned from remote work experiments. Offer flexible work arrangements that empower your people to strike a harmonious balance between work and personal life. Trust them to deliver results regardless of their physical location.
d. Foster Continuous Learning and Development: Create opportunities for growth and skill enhancement. Invest in training programs, mentorship initiatives, and career advancement frameworks that empower your people to evolve professionally and personally.
e. Evolve Compensation and Benefits: Regularly review and update compensation packages to remain competitive in a changing landscape. Especially with the growing awareness of inflation, your people will expect more than the usual 2.5% pay raise. I know, times are tough, but they will get even more complicated when your people don’t feel valued. A tailored approach can enhance retention and loyalty.
As we conclude our expedition through the labyrinth of Quiet Quitting and The Great Resignation, the intricacies of these phenomena come into sharper focus. The Covid pandemic acted as a catalyst, igniting a desire for purpose, growth, and work-life balance. Organizations must adapt swiftly, employing strategies to retain their talent and navigate this period of turmoil. Remember, amidst the chaos lies opportunity. Embrace change, nurture your workforce, and emerge stronger from the storm.