Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fifty Percent of American Workforce Are ‘Quiet Quitters’: Gallup Poll

Customers look on as a Walmart cashier rings up their purchases at a Walmart store in California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Fifty Percent of American Workforce Are ‘Quiet Quitters’: Gallup Poll

By Naveen Athrappully

“Quiet quitters”—employees who strictly stick to their job descriptions and do only the bare minimum required of their tasks—now make up a majority of the U.S. workforce, according to the results of a latest Gallup survey.

Most quiet quitters fit Gallup’s classification of “not engaged” at work. Apart from the 50 percent quiet quitters, the proportion of “actively disengaged” workers in the country during the second quarter this year was at 18 percent, Gallup said in a Sept. 6 report. At 1.8 to 1, the ratio of “engaged” to “actively disengaged” employees is the lowest in nearly a decade. Of the remaining workforce, only 32 percent were “engaged.”

“Loud quitters,” which refers to employees who are actively disengaged from their work, accounted for 18 percent of the American workforce.

Most of the employees who are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” are looking to switch their jobs, the survey found.

Among Gen Z and younger millennial employees (including those below the age of 35) who work remotely, there was a decline of 10-plus percentage points of those who “strongly agree” that someone cares about them at work, encourages their development, and that they have opportunities to learn and grow.

In this demographic, the percentage of “engaged” employees fell by six percentage points between 2019 and 2022. At the same time, the percentage of “actively disengaged” employees rose by six points. Less than four in 10 remote or hybrid employees admitted to clearly knowing what was expected out of them at work.

In an interview with CNBC, Michael Timmes, a senior specialist at Insperity, a human resources consulting firm, warned about negative workplace consequences due to quiet quitters.

“From an office perspective, quiet quitting can cause conflicts between employees, as some employees will feel others aren’t carrying their weight,” he said. “Overall, this can backfire on the employee and can also create a wave of inadequate and underdeveloped employees.”

Manager Role in Quiet Quitting

An analysis done by Harvard Business Review published in late August found that bad bosses play a critical role in the quiet quitting trend.

The least effective managers were found to have up to three to four times more quiet quitters in their groups than effective managers.

Such poor managers only had 20 percent of direct reports willing to put extra effort into their work. In contrast, managers who are rated highly by employees had 62 percent of their direct reports willing to go the extra mile.

The Sept. 6 Gallup survey report also insists that quiet quitting is a symptom of “poor engagement.” It actually ranks addressing “manager engagement” as the first step to resolving the disturbing trend of quiet quitting.

The report points out that only one in three managers are engaged at work. It recommended that managers have one meaningful conversation of around 15–30 minutes with each team member every week.


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