Quiet Quitting Linked to Poor Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting is a phenomenon that occurs when an employee mentally disengages from their job but continues to show up for work. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, Gen Zs are most often associated with quietly quitting. Unlike their predecessors, they approach work differently, prioritising more meaningful work, career growth, and a company culture with strategies in place to promote the mental wellbeing of its workers.
At a broad level, the trend of quiet quitting can have significant economic and social impacts. In sectors where there is a shortage of skilled labour, employers might have to pay higher wages or improve working conditions to retain employees. In sectors where there is a surplus of labour, quiet quitting can lead to a situation where workers have less bargaining power and are more likely to be exploited or mistreated.
Poor mental wellbeing can have significant consequences for both the individual and the business.
What challenges do employers face with quiet quitters?
Employees who have quiet quitters face three challenges. These include:
- Decreased productivity
- High turnover costs
- Damage to company culture and reputation
Additionally, many companies have now adopted a hybrid (or remote) working model for their team, and this means that if managers don’t know the signs to be looking out for or are not considerate in how they approach sensitive conversations such as mental health, they never get to know the state of mental wellbeing in their team and essentially, the financial impact it is having on the success of the business.
According to an analysis by People Management, some businesses are consequently incurring a financial loss equal to 20 per cent of the ‘quietly quitting’ employees’ annual salaries. In contrast, the annual cost to the UK economy amounts to some £340bn. This cost is primarily due to presenteeism, where employees are physically present but mentally disengaged.
Why are employees quietly quitting?
Understanding quiet quitting is essential because it can help companies identify potential issues before they become significant problems. By encouraging open and honest communication, companies can identify areas of improvement and address them before they cause employees to leave. With that in mind, Onebright looks at some of the possible reasons why employees quietly quit.
Lack of recognition and valuation
Part of disengaging can sometimes be employees not feeling they get paid adequately and, therefore, not wanting to do the extra work. Solve this problem with performance-related salary reviews or open discussions about objectives and KPIs and how this links with their role and salary within the business
Also, some people do not feel recognised or rewarded when they engage in behaviours such as going above or beyond or working late one evening to meet a deadline or a customer – rectify this by discussing good working boundaries to help promote balance and receive either compensation or recognition for more work.
Poor work-life balance
If workers are consistently overworked and unable to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it can lead to burnout. Furthermore, depending on an individual’s financial situation, they may not be able to take sick leave or annual leave and so will push through. This is where effective mental health training can improve communication to understand what employees are going through.
Lack of autonomy
Employees that feel micromanaged or feel they have limited control or freedom over their work situation can refuse to take initiative on tasks. If individuals don’t feel trusted by leadership to manage their time or complete tasks, then this can stunt growth, innovation and creativity within the company.
Toxic work culture
A toxic work culture can contribute to poor mental wellbeing and vice versa. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and even mental health issues, making it difficult for employees to cope and perform their jobs effectively.
How can businesses address quiet quitting?
As a business leader or manager, it’s essential to recognise the signs of quiet quitting and take steps to address the underlying causes. Here are a few strategies businesses can use to manage quiet quitting:
Create a supportive work culture: Prioritise employee mental wellbeing by investing in programs and training to develop a supportive work culture. Businesses can play a vital role in preventing employees from feeling undervalued, overwhelmed, or burned out.
Provide mental health support: Outline mental health support services and update mental health policies to show how the business plans to commit to managing stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues in the workplace. This can include access to mental health professionals, employee assistance programs, or stress management training. A collaborative mental health plan or policy about what support someone would find helpful if they were struggling, how they might want to communicate or have work appropriately adjusted to support
Prioritise employee development: By investing in employee development and providing training opportunities for growth and advancement, businesses can create a leadership team that is confident in helping employees feel valued and motivated to succeed.
Outline your commitment: It all starts with a plan. Businesses should conduct a mental health needs assessment or mental health audit to understand the current situation in their workplace. This can include surveys, focus groups, and interviews with employees to identify areas of concern.
Impact of quiet quitting on business culture
When an employee leaves without any formal explanation or quietly quits, it can breed confusion, resentment and mistrust among the remaining staff. Aside from the impact quiet quitting has on company culture and employee happiness, there is a very real financial risk to ignoring poor mental wellbeing in the workplace.
To assess the impact employee mental wellbeing is having on your business, undergo a mental health audit with a Onebright mental health consultant and from here, you can make more informed decisions about the happiness and wellbeing of your workforce. Fill out the form below to enquire.