Quiet Quitting: The Great Resignation or The Great Realisation?

Quiet Quitting: The Great Resignation or The Great Realisation? 

Quiet quitting is having a moment, not so quiet anymore. It is the trend where employees choose to not go above their KPIs and do what their job scope covers, but nothing beyond that. Prioritising their mental health and time with families, this current trend seems to be the next thing in the Great Resignation. To find out more on this emerging phenomenon of quiet quitting in the workplace and how employers address this across multi-generational workforces, Bharati Jagdish dived deep with Carrie Tan, Selfwork and Transformation Coach from Lightbearers, and a Member of Parliament on Prime Time.

Bharati Jagdish: I think it’s important that we define what we mean by quiet quitters. With nothing above and beyond their respective KPIs, quiet quitters are not going to sacrifice their mental health and personal relationships because of work. Wouldn’t you say that it's a very reasonable expectation to have and a healthier way to live? 

Carrie Tan: This phenomenon of quiet quitting follows the Great Resignation, which actually is trailed by another phenomenon - the Great Realisation. People are feeling the disruption caused by the pandemic, and it’s making people realise that their lives have got to be more than their job and chasing an income. When the pandemic first struck, it brought time for self-retrospection. These individuals felt the disconnect and would not be able to find these answers at the workplace in terms of self-fulfillment and purpose. This begs the questions for corporate giants and employers - how can we bring more meaning and purpose into the workplace to employees? I believe that is a very valid question to ask. 

Bharati: Experts have also pointed out that if your employees are made up of quiet quitters, employers are clearly doing something wrong. These are symptoms of bad bosses and not bad employees. What’s your perspective on this? 

Carrie: I think it’s unfair to judge and label people on what is good or what is bad. We need to observe the phenomenon, and further identify what are the needs and the gaps present. This judgement presents itself in such a pronounced manner that makes us feel like we are not able to express ourselves about our needs authentically - but how many of us actually understand the meaning of it?

Bharati: Are you suggesting then, that people should look into themselves and figure the meaning of it? We’ve been labelling quiet quitters for months now, should that stop too? 

Carrie: What is more productive and helpful, I think, will be an emphasis on ‘feel’. In Singapore, we’re not facing a competency gap because there’re always training developments and skill enhancement programmes available to drive that. However, there is very little emphasis on guiding individuals to be more connected with their emotions and allow them to express their feelings and needs - instead of being labelled or judged. With an age diverse workforce, there is a preferred way of communicating and it stands a difference in the generations and what their needs are. 

Bharati: How can the chasm be closed, so to speak and how both bosses as well as employees can work towards a greater emotional awareness that would be mutually beneficial? 

Carrie: Workplace training, talks and employee wellness programmes ought to start looking into the development of emotional and self awareness. The minute that we’re not aware, we may find ourselves judging someone or responding in a manner that can come across as judgmental, creating defensiveness or stonewalling. It is also worth noting the communication gaps in the workplaces and how the dynamic in this inter-generation has fed the flames of workplace dissatisfaction.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Listen to the full podcast on Awedio: SPH's free digital audio streaming service, as Bharati Jagdish speaks with Carrie Tan, Selfwork and Transformation Coach from Lightbearers, and a Member of Parliament, on this emerging phenomenon of Quiet Quitting in the workplace and how can employers address this across multi-generational workforces.

Download the podcast.

For more, tune in to Prime Time with Timothy Go, Bharati Jagdish & Finance Presenter Chua Tian Tian on weekdays from 4PM to 7PM.

This interview was broadcasted on MONEY FM 89.3 on 21 Sept 2022.

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