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'Quiet Quitting' and other Loud trends


Head of Talent at weGrow, Saskia Radmaker picks up 5 trending phrases within the workplace, contextualises them before signing off with her take on this latest buzzword.


When HR topics tend to trend on social channels, it’s usually an exciting phase… but this has been an extended summer where work culture, interview hacks, new phrases and so on have dominated more social media space than ‘real’ news. But all this points in one direction - the current work culture is broken - broken not in the sense that it cannot be fixed, but that it’s misaligned in expectations from organisations, ways of working of managers and motivations of employees.


Having led Recruitment and HR processes for over a decade now, here’s my quick take on 5 of the current trends:



1.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash


This topic was trending even before the pandemic was upon us, and the shift in workspace and mindset was accelerated by the challenges of Covid. Remote working isn’t going anywhere, also providing an umbrella cover to flexible work hours, hybrid work and a general empathetic set-up where there is room for employees to prioritise home affairs, children and such commitments even during the typical 9-5.


It’s no longer about the virus. Workers simply don’t want to come back to office full-time and prefer the focus on output vs sitting at a desk. However any form of remote working has to be built in an atmosphere of trust and transparency - from both the organisation’s leadership and the teams performing under it. And this potentially calls out for stronger communication development.


Saskia's take - this one is a big thumbs up only when the right balance is achieved between teams and organisations, and their expectations!



2.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash


In 2021, roughly 50 million people moved on to greener pastures (in the “Great Resignation”) only to regret the jump because:

  1. They chose salaries over work culture

  2. The pandemic had changed the way they worked and they still needed to find their comfort

  3. The previous company actually had a better work culture or empathetic outlook


Now, in two surveys that I peeked into, almost 50% of the respondents said they’re heading back to the company they left. In almost all scenarios, you would be welcomed back because managers prefer hiring someone who is familiar with the company culture and ways of working, therefore requiring less training and a shorter learning curve. But to people on the verge of making the boomerang, ask yourselves “Why did you leave?” and whether a jump back will give you the professional satisfaction you were expecting when you left.



Saskia's take - this is an untapped pool for hiring managers struggling to fill roles, but both employee and manager should reflect on the earlier exit before jumping into a re-marriage!



3.

Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash



This trend is not just impacting large corporations, but even traditional work spaces like a teaching job. Quiet quitting means different things from different perspectives, but in one line, it’s the act of doing the bare minimum at the workplace that keeps you employed, or even sets you on course for the ‘great resignation’. Employees are asking - “what’s wrong with working as per contract, finishing what is expected and heading home?”


Recently, a few CEOs have spoken out on long hours and the learning curve only to find themselves at the receiving end of the harsh stick. Quite a few of us at weGrow worked long hours and the graveyard shift through the initial few years of our career. Personally, I loved it. Would I expect the same from my team now, no!


A workplace requires a motivated team, and if quiet quitting or quiet firing are underway, my advice - don’t tolerate it. To employees, take the conversation one rank upwards, speak up and speak out, but also be ready to face some harsh comments. By doing the bare minimum, the career graph will not progress as sharply as your professional and financial ambitions, so it’s important to get ahead via initiative. But, it’s a 2-way stream and without a strong manager, progress will be hindered.


To managers, don’t shy away from the ugly truth of a situation; open communication channels and nurture talent.


Saskia's take - Not a fan of quiet quitting and quiet firing, but it needs strong communication to make both the employee and manager feel “heard”



4.

Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash


Recently, an article in a British newspaper asked whether choosing a beautiful sunset over a fat paycheck was the end of ambition. Is it? This is now increasingly being called the age of “anti-ambition” but the past decade has seen the highest degree of burnouts as well. In UK, 1 million people are dropping off the labour market exacerbating the shortage of qualified workers.


From Beyoncé to Lewis Hamilton, the self-professed, all-focussed workaholics are talking about building “a new foundation” around love, fun and rest. Just take a look at the Formula 1 summer break photographs and the drivers seem to be making the most of the Sun and an opportunity to get some physical and mental rest.


Balance for me is not the division of hours by ¼ and ¾ between work and personal time, rather the active use of personal time to build on your own interests. I was driven by long, unhealthy hours and there are those for whom work is everything… but even to them I say, take a break and explore your interests.


Resilience strategies for entrepreneurs, as written about by weGrow’s founder here emphasise on the need for rest and recuperation.


Saski'a take - Balance comes from contentment at the workplace, and an atmosphere of trust and delivery. Balance could also be something achieved over a longer period - a month, for instance, where the first fortnight is hectic but a getaway in the second fortnight assumes the perfect “recharge your batteries” moment.



5.

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash


As this is a written piece, you’ll have to imagine hearing ominous bells tolling in the distance. A recent news report mentions us entering the “Big Freeze” as a growing number of companies, especially tech ones, start to put the brakes on hiring. Initially, this was not given major consideration with overheated start-ups being the ones to shed weight, but as tech corporate giants entered the fray, with some showing signs of the freeze by firing their recruitment specialists, the worry wrinkles are around.


However, statistics showcase a different story. There is a shortage of relevant talent in almost all European nations (UK included) and in US, while 3% of staff has been let off, over 4% has been hired which scripts a different story altogether.


Recent numbers show that the world is at the lowest rate of unemployment and yet more positions are open. The Captain has asked you to fasten your seatbelt due to an impending storm, but turbulence doesn’t always toss the plane around. Our own team has tripled in this period because far too many companies are hiring and have a long waitlist to tend to.


Saskia's take - movement is good; especially as people are not switching to the same position but new roles and designations are coming in to play.






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