Many young employ­ees from Gen Z are tak­ing to Tik­Tok to express their frus­tra­tion about the work­place and pro­fess their prac­tice of qui­et quit­ting. Essen­tial­ly, they are remain­ing at their jobs and still receiv­ing pay­checks and ben­e­fits, but they are stick­ing strict­ly to their the job descrip­tions and main­tain­ing pre­cise schedules.

On social media, some are brag­ging about doing the bare min­i­mum because of their dis­ap­point­ment in their employ­er or sim­ply as a lifestyle choice. Some old­er work­ers are sug­gest­ing this is a result of lazi­ness or lack of ambi­tion. Many in Gen Z argue that they are sim­ply doing what is expect­ed of them con­trac­tu­al­ly, and noth­ing more, to main­tain work-life balance.

The Phenomenon of Quiet Quitting

More than 3.9 mil­lion Tik­Tok posts (and pre­sum­ably count­ing) have addressed this phe­nom­e­non. Many explain that qui­et quit­ting is real­ly about set­ting bound­aries and improv­ing work-life bal­ance or fight­ing the prover­bial man.

“You’re not qui­et quit­ting,” says Clau­dia Alick in a Tik­Tok video. “You’re just resist­ing being stolen from. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s how cap­i­tal­ism works. That’s how they make a prof­it. The prof­it comes from you not get­ting paid your full value.”

But some career experts and even oth­er Tik­Tok users sug­gest that young employ­ees are play­ing with fire. By nev­er going above and beyond, they are mak­ing them­selves vul­ner­a­ble to lay­offs at a time when bud­get is a con­cern. In addi­tion, they might rule them­selves out of pro­mo­tions down the road.

Emi­ly Smith, a Tik­Tok user, reminds peo­ple that their boss might not know all their tasks or how long it takes for them to get every­thing done. She sug­gests hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about what to pri­or­i­tize and how to spread out the dead­lines is a bet­ter route than qui­et quit­ting. Oth­ers sug­gest this prac­tice is bad news for employers.

“Experts say any lack of moti­va­tion among a  company’s youngest work­ers can become a trou­bling sign. ‘Orga­ni­za­tions are depen­dent on employ­ees doing more than a min­i­mum,’ ” says Mark Roy­al, senior direc­tor for Korn Fer­ry Advi­so­ry, accord­ing to a Korn Fer­ry blog.

What Should HR Do?

HR lead­ers should inves­ti­gate the phe­nom­e­non of qui­et quit­ting to deter­mine whether it is hap­pen­ing at their orga­ni­za­tion. After all, a lack of employ­ee engage­ment is top of mind in Human Resources. Thir­ty per­cent of those who respond­ed to the lat­est State of HR report said employ­ee engage­ment and expe­ri­ence is their top priority.

The pan­dem­ic forced peo­ple to rethink their lifestyle and repri­or­i­tize work. For many, fam­i­ly, friends, and per­son­al pur­suits have replaced work in the top spot. Some say that qui­et quit­ting is the new check­ing out. Regard­less, the Great Res­ig­na­tion has shown that employ­ers, who do not take these shifts in cul­ture seri­ous­ly, will pay in a loss of talent.

At the same time, the top con­se­quence of the pan­dem­ic, accord­ing to the respon­dents of State of HR, was burnout. That may be why Tik­Tok users are lead­ing the charge to demand bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions. Cer­tain­ly, HR lead­ers are respond­ing with dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits, such as unlim­it­ed PTO and zen rooms, and poli­cies like devis­ing rules that lim­it calls and emails out­side of work hours.

Even Gold­man Sachs, famous for its 100-hour work weeks for asso­ciates, is requir­ing employ­ees to take paid time off. Sales­force is test­ing work weeks with no meet­ings. Oth­ers are exper­i­ment­ing with four-day work weeks, flex­i­bil­i­ty in when and where employ­ees work, and com­pa­ny-wide vaca­tion days. This exper­i­men­ta­tion is part of the trans­for­ma­tion of work that every­one is wit­ness­ing post pandemic.

The ques­tion becomes whether qui­et quit­ting is an afront to employ­ers that will degrade their abil­i­ty to serve cus­tomers and inno­vate or is sim­ply a new way of work­ing that puts peo­ple’s per­son­al lives and well­be­ing above every­thing else. Per­haps, this is just part of the cul­tur­al shift and work­place trans­for­ma­tion the coun­try has been expe­ri­enc­ing since the start of the pandemic.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on HR Exchange Network