Is Someone on Your Team Quiet Quitting?

Is Someone on Your Team Quiet Quitting?

November 2, 2022
Annette Maggi

By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I am late to awareness of the full movement that is quiet quitting. Stacy Bates from H-E-B brought it to my attention and schooled me in the basics. I have since discussed the movement with multiple retail RDs, done my fair share of reading on the topic, and talked with my Gen Z son about it. Here are my thoughts on its application to the life of RDs working in the retail setting.

Quiet Quitting isn’t a New Phenomenon
Most people engaged in quiet quitting are members of Generation Z. According to this article in The Hill, they are “no longer looking for a dream job, but a job that can support their dreams.” This generation believes that work fuels and funds their life but doesn’t take it over, preventing them from going above and beyond on the job. In the 1990s, this was defined as presenteeism, meaning employees were present in the work environment, but not fully functioning, sometimes due to illness or other medical conditions, which led to a drop in productivity. In the 2000s, there was concern about employees’ lack of engagement, where they didn’t bring their full selves to work as they didn’t believe their leaders or managers valued them enough. Across the decades, the concept of the employee being fully attentive and committed to their role and responsibilities has ebbed and flowed as an employer concern.

This Generation is Different
During my son’s childhood, I was sometimes asked if I was raising him the same way as I was raised. Unequivocally, my answer was no; it simply wasn’t possible given how much the world had changed. Gen Z has been raised on technology which has in part driven them to be masters of multitasking, they have seen entrepreneurship at a level that never existed before and expect to change jobs frequently, they value authenticity, they’ve been exposed to many different opportunities and disciplines, and because of COVID, they are capable of working at a new level of independence. Based on all this, how they approach their first and second jobs is different. Of course, they have different expectations of their employers and look at the values of companies in a new light.

Managing and Leading through Quiet Quitting
If you are managing individuals who are a part of Gen Z, get really curious about them. Seek to understand their realities in these entry level roles, which are most likely different than when you were in their shoes. Hear their concerns and recognize their perceptions of work. Try to find the bridge between their needs in their work life and the demands of the company. Explore new ways to do things.

The bottom line is to not let quiet quitting prevent crucial conversations from happening with your team as well as your leadership. Valued employees and strong working relationships are essential to accomplishing business goals and understanding and aligning with the factors that drive excellence and commitment for this new generation of employees is essential.