There are two kinds of employees in an organisation.

The ones that think, “I am only paid to do this, so I will only do this–nothing above and beyond.” And the second kind that puts more energy into their work and goes the extra mile. Recently, many people self-identified with the former notion and have started this trend of quiet quitting.

What is quiet quitting?

Quite quitting is when employees only fulfil their primary job responsibilities and are unwilling to stay extra hours, or volunteer for unnecessary meetings, and so on. 

What can HR and founders do to stop quiet quitting? What is the larger picture that you need to understand? Is quiet quitting awful, or is there something good that can come out of it?

We sat down with Chitbhanu Nagri, Senior Vice President, People & Operations at Razorpay, to answer all these questions and hear his thoughts on quiet quitting. Chitbhanu has more than a decade of experience in the HR world and has unique experience in handling large multinational organisations and some of India’s respected technology startups. 

Without further ado, let’s get to it. 

“Everyone has their perception of quiet quitting. Some think it’s a good thing that people are giving time to themselves, while others think that it leads to poor organisational performance. What are your thoughts on quiet quitting?”

In my mind, there are two ways to look at it. If it’s about people giving priority to their personal well-being, i.e., “I am committed to what I am doing at work, but I am equally committed to my emotional & mental wellness”, then I am supportive of it.

But the popular opinion today is that Quiet quitting is a sign of disengagement. If it’s about just doing the bare minimum of your work to stay afloat, then it is concerning. There is a need to go deeper into the root cause of this trend and look for answers. Ask honest questions. Because the fundamental premise of a fulfilling work life is that each one of us would want to give our best and go beyond just our job descriptions.

“You talked about asking honest questions. So what are those questions that the HR or founders should be asking?

Questions like, 

  • Are we doing enough to inspire our people and demonstrate how they contribute to creating a meaningful impact?
  • Are we providing our people with an environment where they feel comfortable working with no fear or discomfort, or anxiety?
  • Are we rewarding and compensating them right?
  • Do we have systems in place through which we track, people’s contributions and genuinely reward the right outcomes?   

If the answers to the above questions are no or Maybe, or we struggle to justify our actions, then we need to take a hard look at our ways of working and change them.

“How to find out if employees are quite quitting? What are its signs according to you?”

The contribution that employees make adds up to the cumulative organisational performance. Organisations where individuals contribute the “bare minimum” will not be able to excel and become super successful in their respective areas.

So, the most apparent sign of this phenomenon is decreasing organisational success, lower quality of outcomes & a lack of ambition to go beyond the ask.

“Coming to the burning question now, how do you stop the ‘quiet’ from quitting?”

We need to recognize first that we are dealing with adult professionals. In this frame of reference, it is difficult to retain someone from doing something if they have made up their mind.

In such a scenario, I would focus on creating an environment that connects to people’s aspirations and ambitions. I think if we create a healthy environment, and make people feel secure to put in their best and reward & recognize them well, we will achieve our objectives.

“How do you go about gauging the preferable environment since employees might have different ideas of a healthy or positive environment? Like how for some people spending more time with family is important etc. ”

Even if a person wants to spend more time with family, ideally, they should not do it as a trade-off to their professional commitment. Of course, sometimes there are situations where a person needs to prioritise family or other personal matters. In this situation, the organisation and the manager must rally behind that person and provide support. 

So, for me, different aspects such as family, self-care, and work–all of them–do not exist in an ‘either-or’ scenario. They co-exist. At various times, different things might be more important to individuals. So we need to be sensitive, mindful, and empathetic towards employees.

“So does this mean that the quiet quitting phenomenon ultimately boils down to the managers? Since they are the main point of communication for employees?”

Not really. I firmly believe that the starting point of all this is organisational culture. The kind of culture you’ve set up in your organisation will trickle down to how your leaders behave with the managers and, in turn, how the managers behave with their teams. So at a macro level, we need to understand what kind of organisational culture we are creating.

And then, the next steps would be making enough investments to ensure the organisation’s culture is well understood and practised. Next, you must ensure that you hire the right kind of managers, train them well and make them aware of the culture. You should also have mechanisms to reward the managers for practising the culture. And in the case of managers working diagonally opposite to the culture, we need to give them timely feedback and coach them. 

The Bottomline

A lot of organisations spend their time improving their customer experience and service. There is lesser time spent on identifying and understanding the behaviour within the company. Very few founders take a step back and say, “what kind of behaviour do I expect from my people?” Second is whether you have systems and mechanisms to identify if people are behaving the way you want them to. 

If you don’t have these mechanisms, then your best intentions will never translate into actions. Seek honest feedback from the ground up and then communicate it to your leaders. All these three things form the pillars of a healthy organisational culture. And that is when we would finally get rid of quiet quitting.

(If you are into building employee-first experiences in your organisation, check out RazorpayX Payroll. It is an HRMS and payroll software that automates payroll calculation, salary disbursals, and compliance filings such as PF, PT & TDS so that, as an HR, you can focus on strategic tasks such as identifying and stopping quiet quitting from your company. Try it for free!)

FAQs related to Quiet Quitting

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is when an employee only fulfils their primary job responsibilities and is not willing to stay extra hours, volunteer for unnecessary meetings - basically not going above and beyond their role.

What is causing quiet quitting?

The reasons for quiet quitting vary in employees. But in general disengagemnet and unhealthy organisational culture is causing quiet quitting. Read more details in our blog.

What are the signs of quiet quitting?

The most apparent sign of this phenomenon is decreasing organisational success, lower quality of outcomes & a lack of ambition to go beyond the ask.

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    Alish Gill
    Author Alish Gill

    Alish is a writer at RazorpayX. Zoophilist. Coffee Addict. And now a FinTech enthusiast. When not writing, you'll find her taking a long walk (or run) with her dog or Netflixing.

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