As the rise in employee voice and employer expectations will take center stage at our upcoming Washington Policy Conference next month, a “quiet quitting” trend seems to indicate the opposite – some employees choose to disengage without much to say. The consequences of quiet quitting will permeate the organization creating animosity amongst employees and will undoubtedly impact your competitive advantage.
Why is this happening? It appears a lot of this has to do with lack of trust, fears and feeling insignificant, compounded by constant and biased feeds of information. Employees also feel invisible yet overworked at the same time. If we feel underappreciated and/or insignificant, human nature kicks in and we tend to pull away to our comfort zones. According to Kirk Schneider, an expert in existential-humanistic therapy, “one reason we tend to become fixated and polarized is because of the individual and collective trauma that associates with a profound sense of insignificance.” American Psychological Association 2021. Do employees feel as though they are just another cog in the wheel and have resorted to simply completing tactical remote functions?
The shift in influence in the workplace from employer to employee begs the question– have we flipped the standard trust and organizational performance structure on its head? As employers have opened themselves to being more aware, caring, transparent, and authentic, so did the employee as they were posturing for remote worker rights and assignments – they want to do their jobs, be heard and trusted! However, too many changes and missed calls on behalf of management begin to impact the employee's view of your character and competence – both are significant and foundational pieces of trust.
Additionally, a survey of 1,250 employers in the U.S. by Digital.com reveals that 60% of the surveyed companies have installed work monitoring software on employee devices and participate in actively monitoring employee activities during working hours. This includes their physical location, monitoring keystrokes, video check-ins, mouse movement, clicks, etc. While such monitoring tools can be effective, employers should also be careful if too much could begin to erode trust.