Author: Mike Scaletti
The U.S. labor force is sending a message about its priorities and expectations by "quietly quitting" or even resigning entirely from their jobs. A recent Gallup survey showed that half of the country's employees identify themselves as "quiet quitters" who simply do their job without going above and beyond. This trend runs parallel to and is part of the ongoing Great Resignation, where over 47 million people left their jobs last year. The largest reason for this mass exodus from work and shift in priorities in the workplace is that work-life balance, holistic well-being, and workplace culture are becoming increasingly important to employees, and employers are failing to recognize that.
In a world affected in rapid succession by the pandemic, an economic downturn, and soaring inflation, employees are struggling. The desire to avoid stress and burnout is driving employees to seek a better work-life balance and better benefits. This shift in workplace expectations presents an opportunity for employers to better attract and retain top talent by understanding and addressing the root causes of disengagement and fostering employee engagement and well-being.
Some of the main reasons employees are leaving their jobs is low pay, lack of advancement opportunities, feeling disrespected at work, childcare issues, lack of flexible hours, and poor benefits. Pew Research found that these factors are the primary motivations behind the Great Resignation. It's important to note that while quiet quitting reveals the gaps in a company's culture and benefits, "boomerang employees" who return to their previous workplace can provide valuable insights into what a company is doing well.
To foster employee engagement, leadership and HR teams need to create a culture of care and address wellness in a holistic manner. This involves leading with empathy, actively listening to employees, fostering inclusivity, recognizing individual needs, and addressing total wellness through competitive benefits and rewards, while also ensuring that an employee is compensated fairly for their work.
Mental wellness is a growing concern, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Employers can promote mental wellness by offering stress management training, mental health days, and employee assistance programs. Healthcare costs are also a major concern for employees, and employers can reduce the financial burden by encouraging preventive care, providing telehealth services, and offering health insurance to their employees.
Financial wellness is also becoming increasingly important to employees. Over half of employees believe that employers have a responsibility to assist with improving and maintaining financial wellness. Employers can do this by offering personalized financial wellness benefits, educational resources, and investment resources to help employees achieve financial success. It is also important to give employees regular pay raises that recognize their hard work and take into account the rate of inflation.
By quietly quitting or resigning, employees are sending a clear signal that their expectations and needs from their employers are not being met. Companies that understand and address the root causes of disengagement, foster a culture of care, and nurture all aspects of well-being will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent while doing the right thing for their employees.