Moneycontrol PRO
Upcoming Event : LeapToUnicorn - mentoring, networking and fundraising for startups. Register now
you are here: HomeNewsBusiness

No! Employees aren't giving up on their jobs: Busting myths around Quiet Quitting

As the term Quiet Quitting gains resonance across India Inc, several myths have sprung up around the term. Moneycontrol dispels some false assumptions around the trend.

September 06, 2022 / 11:02 PM IST

The term Quiet Quitting has been doing the rounds lately. Although it seems like a new trend, experts say it's just another hashtag, a legacy of Covid-led disruptions at the workplace.

Simply put, Quiet Quitting is a practice by professionals who refuse to go the extra mile and just stick to doing the job they are being paid for.

There are some wrong assumptions around the phrase. For instance, some people associate the term with an employee who is lazy and tend to presume that employees across sectors are following the practice.

Here is a list of myths surrounding the term.

Quiet Quitting means slacking off

This is perhaps biggest myth around the term. People Strategy expert Neil Shastri says this is how some business leaders are reading the phrase. Employees, however, see it as "doing as much as asked" and not more.

“If you (employers) want them (employees) to stretch, you need to communicate why,” he says.

That 'why' could, for instance, be the inspiring mission of an organisation, Shastri says, citing the example of the army, whose men are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their country.

People are giving up on the job, they should be disciplined

If employees are performing only their assigned tasks and ensuring they spend quality time with their families, are they wrong? Although triggered by Covid-19, isn't the reset of priorities something positive?

But if employees are experiencing burnout at work, setting boundaries can help them regain some control and focus on their jobs, says Joel Paul, managing director for Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) at talent specialist Randstad RiseSmart.

Additionally, Paul says, having a transparent culture where workplace conflicts can be addressed and discussed head-on or encouraging someone to opt for a change of roles can ease a difficult situation. Both options are "better than someone suffering quietly on the job,” he says.

It is simple math 

Many employees presume that for an X amount of salary, a certain amount of work is “fair”  and one doesn’t need to go beyond that. Employees, who in the past would do a bit extra to keep their jobs started doing a little less amid the Great Resignation trend that followed Covid.

Talent expert and HRnext CEO Anurag Shrivastava says there is no question of math about fair work for a particular salary.

“This dangerous miscalculation about ‘doing enough,’ therefore, leads to employees underperforming and coming under the scanner for poor performance, termination and being unemployable,” he says, implying that such dangerous myths are derailing careers.

Shrivastava had multiple opportunities to work with business managers to decide on employees who will be let go as a part of workforce reduction exercises. “The names that would be first on the list will be those who were doing just enough,” he said.

In an economy with low growth or even negative growth globally, he says the last thing an employer needs is someone not putting in extra work to meet the challenges facing a company.

Everyone can Quiet Quit 

The choice of Quiet Quitting may not be possible in every sphere of employment. For instance, some professions are, by their very nature, time-insensitive and have regular and urgent requirements to be met. Legal and medical professionals fall into this category.

“Their job description assumes working late hours or attending to work/exigencies at short notice,” says Priyan Garg, Senior Manager, DSK Legal.

These professions are not amenable to a clear-cut demarcation of work and off-time. Garg adds that people in such occupations must consider the nature of their job before opting for Quiet Quitting.

It's a new term 

According to Gallup, only 20 percent of employees are truly engaged with their work. Human Resources expert Gautam Ghosh says employees have been practising Quiet Quitting for a long time.

“You call it Quiet Quitting or anything else. It's just how engaged your employee is,” Ghosh says.

According to Ghosh, only 10-20 percent of employees in an organisation go beyond their stipulated duties, another 20-30 percent hardly think of going beyond the call of duty, and the remaining are just the average employees who come to work for a paycheck.

“People have always chosen their priorities regarding working independently - some choose to go above and beyond expectations, while others don't,” says Nishigandha Shendge, manager-people success, at tech company Fynd.

Quiet Quitting is defying the norm of stretch

In several organisations, the concept of stretch, which implies projects or tasks that are outside of an individual's usual work, is communicated as the norm whereas it is an employee’s choice to stretch or not, says Amit Sharma, an HR leader at a multinational conglomerate.

“If an employee leaves or an additional assignment needs to be done they would ask employees to stretch, which is not how it is supposed to be used,” he says, asserting: “Quiet Quitting is forcing companies to answer ‘What is in it for me’ now.”

When Sharma worked on similar projects in India and abroad, he noticed two key differences in India: artificially and often unrealistically created additional working hours and hurried planning that only leads to ad-hoc work for long hours.

The ideal stretch should be for the sake of an employee’s growth and focus on an objective with a well-prepared plan. If it is not a part of a plan, employees are now saying ‘no’ or demanding overtime wages, he adds.
Abhishek Sahu covers HR and Careers at Moneycontrol.
first published: Sep 5, 2022 11:29 am