FIRST IT WAS QUIET QUITTING! Now it is Getting Loud!

According to research by Gallup recently released, employee engagement has declined for the last two years.  There is a growing share of the workforce that is disengaged, or resentful that their needs aren’t being met by their employers.  Workers’ frustrations have been building since 2021.  In 2023, more companies are trying to bring workers back to offices as employers face concerns about worker productivity and loyalty.

According to Gallup, engaged workers are more productive and tend to stay at their jobs longer.  More than half of US respondents to the survey indicated they thought it was a good time to find a new job.  In many cases, the dissatisfaction stems from being asked to return to the workplace, and many workers have stepped up protests against the change.

Quiet quitting started as employees started shifting their boundaries by not taking on additional work or going above and beyond what is expected on the job.  Approximately 18% of global employees are actively disengaged, or loudly quitting, according to a new Gallup report of more than 120,000 global employees.

Loud quitters are defined as employees who take actions that directly harm the organization, undercutting its goals and opposing its leaders.  The majority of the world’s employees are engaged in quiet quitting – approximately 59%.  Only 23% of those responding to the survey consider themselves to be thriving or engaged at work.  Loud quitting can signal major risks in an organization and should not be ignored.  For example, disengaged employees report feeling more stressed at work.  Whereas only 30% of engaged employees felt “a lot of stress.”

Quiet or loud quitting employees responded they would switch jobs for less pay, as compared with engaged employees who would consider it for a 31% pay increase according to the analysis.  And it would take a 22% pay increase on average to get disengaged workers to look elsewhere.

Many employees see shifts from flexible work schedules and remote work options as a signal that they are not trusted to do their jobs outside of the office.  Others say that the benefits experienced during remote work, i.e., more time with family and eliminating a commute, are critical to their happiness.  Employers requiring more time in the workplace are partially motivated by trying to bolster workers’ loyalty and increase productivity.

There will likely be more changes as we continue to navigate the future of work.  Technology allows more flexibility in work schedules or hybrid work arrangements.  Many employers are encouraging employees to take care of their physical and mental health.  And many employers are actively trying to engage with their employees and build connections between management and staff.

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