We’re in the Business of Earning Staff, Not Hiring Them: The Quiet Quitting Revolution

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

Last week we examined “quiet quitting,” and we’re so grateful for your feedback and recommitment to keep tackling it.

Here’s what you shared with us: you get that it’s deeper than it seems.

image of several office workers climbing ladders in a race to reach the topFor so long, employees have subscribed to the idea that in order to be successful, you have to do it all. I tilted my head back, looked up that corporate ladder, squared my shoulders, and said, “Okay, better get climbing.” From my very first job, when my boss told me to jump, I asked how high. When I didn’t think it was a good idea and spoke up, if they insisted, I did it. After all, we knew if you weren’t the hardest worker there, put in the most hours and produced the most, you could kiss that promotion goodbye. You’d be stuck mid-rung on the ladder, unable to go up but too embarrassed to go back down (even if you missed it down there.)

People aren’t so worried about the ladder anymore.

During the pandemic, these unspoken expectations were called into question. Many employees were expected to step up, take on extra tasks, work longer hours, and adopt leadership roles. And they did. But when no promotions were offered, little to no pay raises were given, and for many, little recognition or acknowledgement for their efforts, they were fed up. For many, quiet quitting isn’t about slacking off, rather, it’s about setting boundaries, preventing burnout, and not taking on extra unpaid work. Employees no longer see the value in going above and beyond for an organization that has little to offer in return.

Some are confused as to why this is even a trend. Many are asking a very fair and valid question:_ Isn’t doing what you’re paid to do just called working?_ A legit question. We can’t criticize employees for doing the job they are paid to do. If you want people to go above and beyond for you, then you need to do the same in return.

We’re not in the business of hiring staff, we’re earning them. What are you doing to earn employees? To motivate them to do more than what’s expected? If you want people to go above and beyond at work, you need to create a culture that recognizes and rewards them when they do.

Quiet quitting has presented us with a unique opportunity to reconsider how we view work. For so long, we have been accustomed to the “live to work” mentality, but we are seeing a clear shift to a “work to live” mindset. People are reevaluating what work means to them and how much space it should occupy in their lives. Organizations need to take note. Current policies, standards and the unspoken expectations are no longer relevant. Rather than motivating employees, they are pushing them to quietly quit.

image of a chalkboard on a table that says small steps big changesWorkplace cultures need to be examined.

To reflect changing employee needs and values, we need to listen more and respond faster. It’s clear people are no longer willing to go above and beyond for employers giving crumbs in return. The good news is a complete overhaul of your organizational culture isn’t required. There are small simple steps you can take to motivate colleagues and employees that can combat these trends. That’s where we’ll pick up our conversation in this three-part not-so-quiet-opinions-about-quiet-quitting blog series next week.

In the meantime, can we help? Message us anytime at info@greatnessmagnified.com. We’re 100% on your side, even if the message is hard to hear. Reach out, and we’ll lend a listening ear and give you a hand. Speak up… no point in being quiet now 😉

Here is more info about The Great Resignation and how you can work to retain your best:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

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Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

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Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

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Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

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Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

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