In many ways, heading into 2023 is like all previous years. Experience and wisdom tell us to expect surprises and challenges. We affirm there will be wins and losses. Our year-end perspective is shaped by planning for success and anticipation of growth in the coming year. However, this year is also different.
We are not alone in observing and commenting on the current state of the American workforce and the recent employee engagement downturn. This decline is manifested in two current trends – “quick-quitting” and “quiet quitting” – which are expected to continue into the New Year and beyond.
Rob Miklas’ article, The New, Bottom-Up Job Market, points out the difficultly presented by the increase in America’s “short tenure rate” – and the reasons why employers must embrace work environments supportive of individual development and success. Along with the expectation of career advancement, employees expect good work to be acknowledged and rewarded.
Giant Collective Break
Another trend compounding the challenge of employee engagement is “quiet quitting.” Among employees who remain in their jobs, there is a growing number that choose to throttle productivity – doing no more than what is contractually required. The Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) Allan Schweyer, writing about this trend, points out that quiet quitting is different from past engagement woes – it seems more intentional. The impact of this “giant collective break” on productivity is the largest since 1947.
Schweyer’s comments are part of his research reported in the article entitled “The Role of Incentives, Rewards, and Recognition in Addressing Quiet Quitting.” He makes a convincing argument that while some leaders view the trend as the result of the tough pandemic experience and therefore temporary, there are more factors to be considered when trying to see a path forward.
These factors include a “combination of declining employee well-being and greater expectation of the total rewards at work.” Among the challenges facing employers today are those that must address the social connection at work – leveraging resources to bring employees together, connect them, and build trusting relationships – creating “relatedness at work,” whether physically an/or virtually.
Whether the current engagement downturn is temporary or permanent will depend upon addressing the factors behind the trend, not by “explaining the greatest drop in US worker productivity in 75 years” as sudden lazy workers or a surge in existentialism.
You can read Allan Schweyer’s entire article here.