What Is Quiet Quitting, Why It Matters, And How Is It Impacting American Corporates?


What is Quiet Quitting and Why is it Setting Off Alarm Bells in American Corporates?

In recent months, there has been much media coverage about a workplace trend called Quiet Quitting, which signifies the reluctance of American workers to work beyond what is needed from them. In other words, Quiet Quitting refers to employees who do the bare minimum at work and nothing over and above the basic duties as given in the job description. In other words, Quiet Quitting essentially is a form of giving up on work, and just existing to fulfill the basic responsibilities.

Taken together with The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting is yet another manifestation of the overall sense of “disconnection” and “disengagement” being felt by American professionals, in the aftermath of the pandemic. Indeed, much like the former worried business leaders, Quiet Quitting too is setting off alarm bells in the offices of executives and business leaders across the United States, coming as it does on the heels of a severe productivity loss being experienced in American corporates. So, this is the reason why Quiet Quitting matters to one and all in the American corporate world and it is high time they addressed this disturbing trend.

Quiet Quitting Has Been Around Since The Industrial Era! The Digital Age Is Different

Having said that, there are some who believe that Quiet Quitting is nothing new and employees have been doing this much before the pandemic and indeed, since the early days of the American corporation in the 1930s, when Henry Ford molded the initial avatar of America Inc.

In other words, ever since modern work began, workers and professionals have resorted to working only according to the job descriptions and not over and beyond what is written down in the contract. Indeed, concepts like overtime and extra work bonus emerged mainly because American corporates who were insisting on workers and professionals to go beyond the bare minimum were forced to pay extra for such work by the unions.

Of course, one can say that the Industrial/Manufacturing era cannot be compared to the present Knowledge Economy where the brains are the only assets of the employees and hence, terms like Quiet Quitting should alarm the business leaders. What this means is that the Digital Age thrives on innovation and resourcefulness and so, there is nothing like bare minimum at work and all professionals should engage and involve them in giving more than 100 per cent which negates the concept of Quiet Quitting.

Quiet Quitting

What is Driving American Millennials and Gen Zers to Extremes like Quiet Quitting

On the other hand, Quiet Quitting emerged in response to the overall sense of stress and burnout being felt by American Millennials and Gen Zers in recent years, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Indeed, the epidemic of mental health issues that is sweeping across the world and more particularly, the US is responsible for both The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting.

In addition, the pandemic with its forced isolation and lack of physical contact made us all heavily dependent on technology. While these are usually manageable for older professionals like the Boomers and Gen Xers, the younger age cohorts do not have the luxury of older year’s maturity and sense of balance and this is really the crux of the problems being faced by the American workforce.

So, if business leaders are looking for ways and means to fix the problem of Quiet Quitting, they should focus on reengaging the Millennials and Gen Zers who for various reasons have been feeling out of sorts and are driving these trends. Moreover, the angst of these age cohorts is making them feel rebellious, which is showing up in trends like The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting, both forms of rebellions.

America Inc. Would be Hit Hard Unless it Addresses the Workforce’s Existential Crisis

Of course, while the American workforce is in the throes of an existential crisis, the hit to the bottom lines of American corporates is substantial and this is the reason why corporate America is suddenly talking about ways and means of overcoming this malaise. The stakes could not have been higher for America Inc. as the risk of losing a generation or two of future leaders and innovators should alarm them.

Moreover, if this spreads to other parts of the American economy in the non services segments as well, then corporate America has a serious problem at hand. On the other hand, in our working experience, we have seen how our employers would place such employees exhibiting these symptoms in PIPs or Performance Improvement Plans as the notion of not going beyond the bare minimum was considered slacking and worthy of pay cuts.

Perhaps the present generations can learn a thing or two from their older counterparts in how fulfilling work can be once they are engaged and in the zone as far as the workplace are concerned. Our suggestion for American employers is to first diagnose the problem and then put in place measures that address the Millennial angst.

The Job Market is Swinging Back in Employers Favor and Why this is a Good Thing

Last, Quiet Quitting is leading to declines in productivity and output in American corporates and this should worry us all. In addition to the pandemic era lows in output, trends such as The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting can spell doom for the US and so, it is high time these problems were addressed.

However, there is a silver lining here and that is the American job market tilting towards employers after years of being in favor of job seekers. Perhaps the threat of losing jobs and unable to find alternative employment would focus the minds of Americans on work.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.