Davos 2023: Quiet quitting isn’t new and can only be stopped by bosses, say WEF leaders
Now more than ever the world of work is witnessing disruptions like never before. This calls for a thorough deliberation on existing predicaments to find out pragmatic solutions. Leaders including Anjali Sud, Martine Ferland, Adam Grant, and Thierry Delaporte met during the ongoing World Economic Forum, also known as WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, and discussed an important matter plaguing workplaces - Quiet Quitting.
In early 2022, the term emerged as a much-publicised trend, which simply means doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. While many assume quiet quitting is a new-age phenomenon, the world-renowned organisational psychologist Adam Grant stated that it’s not.
“We have had terms for quiet quitting for generations. Earlier it was called phoning or mailing it in. Hence, it’s not a new term and it is not specific to any generation,” said Grant and shared insight from a 1980s study. “One of the classic studies was done in the late 1980s and the finding was you can tell who is going to quiet quit six months before it happened.”
Now we know quiet quitting is not a new trend but one that has existed for generations. However, this doesn’t take away from the fundamental question of what can be done about it. Anjali Sud, the CEO of video platform Vimeo believes that “It’s on leaders and companies to change the current situation where employees are giving up on what they are doing.”
Reskilling and upskilling shouldn’t just be limited to workers at bottom of the hierarchy chart. Instead, leaders must also upgrade their skills. “I don’t think most leaders feel equipped to do that (reskilling) and I do think that without it the same phenomenon of phoning it in or quiet quitting can, in fact, lead them to not being able to retain and make productive great talent,” said Sud.
Resonating with the CEO of Vimeo, CEO and managing director at Wipro Limited, Thierry Delaporte, said, “Reskilling can be a great chance for leaders to reflect on how they need to adjust to the changing labour force.” After all, the current and future generations are constantly looking for a great company culture that provides a “sense of purpose” to them.
As we try to find answers to what can be done to avoid situations like quiet quitting, the light must also be shed upon its consequences. One thing that is elementary about quiet quitting is that the employee is not resigning from the company. But what if the boundaries are pushed? It leads to Great Resignation. According to Adam Grant, quiet quitting is a continuation of Great Resignation.
“I think underlying that is still the fundamental psychology of fairness. They’re trying to figure out given what I receive from my employer, what’s a fair way to reciprocate?” stated Grant.