Quiet Quitting: What Should PR Pros Do?
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
#QuietQuitting is not quitting quietly. Instead, it's what Gen Z is doing to reclaim their work-life balance: abandoning the idea of going above and beyond at work.
The idea of quiet quitting isn't new, but the trend jump-started on TikTok by Zaid Khan with 3.5 million views. In addition, the hashtag has earned 97.6 million video views on the platform.
"You're still performing your duties, but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it's not — and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor." - Zaid Khan
#QuietQuitting is doing the minimum at your job; clocking in at 9, out at 5, and only doing your job description. It is an extension of The Great Resignation - "the record number of people that have left their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic - shows no signs of abating."
After a long period of working remotely, many have decided that their work-life balance is essential to them - hence the trend.
Many still believe that quiet quitting is fake and it's nothing more than a buzzword among Gen Z.
Don't be fooled; it's real, and it's dangerous. Let's look at the numbers:
Up to 67% of US employees and 85% worldwide could be quiet quitting.
79% of employees report they would stop quiet quitting if given more recognition.
73% of US employees are considering resignation.
The PR industry cannot handle quiet quitters. Picture this: one of your clients is going through a crisis at 7 pm, and you need to issue a press release, but your employees say, "nope, I'm acting my wage" (which is a blog article for another day).
So, what should you do to keep your employees encouraged and feel recognized?
Listen to your employees.
I get it, you're a communicator, but you can't communicate if you don't listen. Often, employees express their concerns, but you're too busy because of the post-pandemic workload, and you all need to put your heads together and keep things running. Unfortunately, this habit encourages employees to disengage and maybe even lose faith in you.
You must keep listening to your employees (and acting on their concerns) to keep things running smoothly at your firm. Empathize with them, and show them you have their best interest in mind (here's an idea: create a safe space for employees to express what's on their minds; how about a weekly meeting?).
Reinforce common boundaries
Your employees avoid your phone calls and emails past 5 pm because it's not part of their job description. That's a passive-aggressive attitude, and you don't want to have it around.
Be as vocal as possible with your employees and positively remind them of their boundaries. For example, you can say, "I want you all to be aware that responding to phone calls after working hours is optional, but if there's an emergency, we will send out a priority email and discuss your overtime compensation." Small acts like that can go a long way.
Of course, compensation isn't always about money. Many people can be financially compensated for their overtime hours but feel burnt out. One thing you can consider is mental compensation. For instance, "Thank you for working late tonight. Why don't you take a couple of hours off tomorrow morning or leave earlier? It's up to you!"
These things are not hard to do but can save you from quiet quitters.
Don't promote the hustle culture mentality.
Many managers guilt-trip their employees to overwork themselves. One of my previous managers once told me, "If you don't put your all into your work and do the overtime, you'll never make it in this world." If that's what the professional world is like, I don't want in; I'd instead stick to freelancing and determine my projects and hours.
Do not enforce that kind of mentality. Instead, create a healthy workplace that makes your employees feel valued and appreciated for their hard work. Be a team member and create a collaborative environment where you all work hard together and attend to your well-being together.