Saving the Employment Relationship
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Quiet Quitting On the Rise

Quiet quitting continues to dominate the headlines. Today's report in the Wall Street Journal features a Gallup study that suggests nearly half of American workers are "psychologically detached" from their jobs. This study (if true) is troubling for the future of the employment relationship if indifference forms the foundation of that relationship. Indifference can only thrive in a workplace lacking a well-articulated mission the employees believe in. And the feeling of detachment -- that someone can phone it in, do the bare minimum, and disown the results -- is more likely to exist when an employee senses professional or personal disinterest. So how can the employment relationship be saved in this environment?  The pandemic-driven transformation of the workplace has created unprecedented employee self-determination that will be difficult to wrest away. Employers should accept that and manage to the notion that employees will use good judgment in doing their jobs (with the right dose of management guidance). A relationship can only be fixed if there is mutual commitment to make it work. So employees also need to accept that their jobs and careers may not flourish from the family room - employees must show up, speak up, and give their managers feedback about what the employee needs to thrive. The parties to the employment relationship are equally responsible to make sure detachment, indifference and apathy do not endanger the employment relationship. There is no magic fix for a successful employment relationship these days because there are just too many human variables at play, and too many laws that lead employers and employees astray.  But mutual commitment to making that relationship work seems like a step in the right direction. 

Gallup said workers who reported declines in engagement cited a lack of clarity about expectations from managers, not feeling connected to a company’s mission or purpose, little to no recognition for hard work, and receiving little career development as key reasons for their disengagement.