We have all heard of the phenomena of ‘quiet quitting’ where employees report they are not willing to go the extra mile, or even the extra inch, above what is required in their job.

According to this recent study published in the August 31 edition of the Harvard Business Review ‘quiet quitting’ is associated more strongly with the quality of the manager, not the employee. The lowest rated managers had significantly higher experience of ‘quietly quitting’ employees as compared to the higher rated managers according to authors, Zenger and Folkman.

So, what does that mean? At the heart of the issue is trust. Do I, the manager, trust my employees to do what is right for the business, and to make smart decisions? Do I, the employee, trust that management understands the demands on me, and is willing to support me with what I need? The pandemic and its associated layoffs and work accommodations have laid bare a fault line in those trust relationships. When the expectation was that I would see you work every day, no one had to have to question if I trusted you or not.

The work world has gone topsy turvy, and the demands on workers have gotten larger (home school, anyone? Pandemic quarantines? Closed day care centers?) so workers are juggling more stress related to how they manage their time.

Building trust is hard and takes time – but there is no time like the present to start the process. Really examine the status of your relationships with your employees, or with your boss. When you see a gap, make a plan to fill in. What can you do to demonstrate trust – or to ask for more trust from the other side?

Now is the time to re-evaluate what and who we trust and to recommit to the people and institutions that we value. Fair warning: This may result in actual quitting – or it may result in a renewed commitment to a job that brings us satisfaction. Quiet quitting is the middle ground that only prolongs the agony of picking a side.

See the data below, drawn from the article, to get a better picture of what is happening:

Zenger , J., & Folkman, J. (2022, August 31). Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2022/08/quiet-quitting-is-about-bad-bosses-not-bad-employees