There’s a current phenomenon called “quiet quitting”. As business owners, we need to be aware of trends like this because they can potentially affect us. In particular, this approach to life is being promoted by Gen Zs but anyone could jump onboard with it.
So what exactly is “quiet quitting” and how can small businesses prepare for its possible impact? In this episode, I explore generational differences, the quiet quitting movement, post-pandemic mental health, clear expectations, having regard for others, and more. How does this all tie together and what might it mean for you and your growing business, lovely CEO? Let’s talk about it.
“We do have the least prepared workforce… I do not say that to be disparaging. I say that because that is true… There is more responsibility now than ever on employers to help people learn what it means to work. And also to work with balance.” – Kris Plachy
What You’ll Learn
- Generational differences
- The quiet quitting movement
- Post-pandemic mental health
- Honesty, clear expectations, and quality communication
- Find balance and lead well because we need each other
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Let’s talk about the TikTok phenomenon called “Quiet Quitting.” It’s affecting you. Did you know that? Let’s go!
Well, heydi, hey, listen, I am not a Tiktoker, but I’ve got my eyes on a TikTok phenomenon called Quiet Quitting, #quietquitting. And it’s Gen Z viral movement on TikTok. And yeah, I’m poking fun a little, but it’s real. And so we should talk about it, I think it’s a real, real problem for employers to, first of all, understand it, and then I think—you know, I’m always about like, “All right, so this is a thing, what do I want to do about it? How do I want to think about it?” And then ultimately, if I’m running a company, and this is the legit potential issue in my business, then maybe I need to consider it.
So basically, the premise of Quiet Quitting is that Gen Zers are sort of saying—and maybe others too, it’s just that that’s kind of who they’re targeting here on Tik Tok—is that they want more work-life balance, they don’t want to hustle, they don’t want to go above and beyond to the point where they are completely burnt out and exhausted, and they want more balance, right?
So, listen, I don’t actually think that’s a bad thing. And I think it’s a little bit of an interesting commentary, that there is the #quietquitting, and that people are—like, it’s become a thing, when in actuality, it should be the expectation. You shouldn’t have to always be over-delivering, always going above and beyond, always hustling in a work environment. But there’s a real philosophy that that’s true. And so, actually, there’s lots of different people who’ve been bringing up different things in my How to CEO program that relate to this, that touch this. And what I want to say first is that, you know, understanding sort of generational belief systems, and I hesitate to over stereotype entire groups of people based on when they were born. But I think we can all sort of make some general agreements that we know some things, right?
So right now, we potentially could have four, even five generations at work, depending on where you work. You can have the Great Generation, these are people who were, you know, World War II, you know, they’re in their 70s, 80s, and beyond. And then we have the Boomers who were really more in their early 60s at sort of crossover there. And then we have the Gen Xers who are getting up to about 58-ish, 59, and then I don’t know, somewhere around 45. And then we’ve got Millennials and then we’ve got Z’s.
And what we know is that the belief system about work has changed so dramatically over the course of all of these generations. So, the Great Generation, this was after the depression, these were people who worked for everything they had, these are the people that you still know, who have things, you know, they have two pieces of bread left, and they pack it and they cut it into four slices, and they freeze half of it, then they make banana bread, right? They’re incredibly thoughtful about the value of what they’ve earned, and what they bought with their money and maximizing.
Boomers have a little bit of that. Boomers really, really got the notion of hard work. And not that the Great Generation didn’t, but work meant something different when half of them weren’t working, and the other half were in the middle of war. Your Boomers are the ones who really, really laid the groundwork for that nine to five, started really, really building that management class and the CEO class, like really developing that piece. And then the Gen Xers came along. And were the children of these Boomers and saw how hard they worked. And of course, we had all the kids, latchkey kids, including myself, my key was on a ribbon literally that I wore around my neck. Single mom, couldn’t get a credit card, right? She had to work so hard to put together a life for the two of us to live, and she did a beautiful job with that. And I know so many other people like that.
And so as Gen Xers, we came along and said, You know, I kind of want to work [inaudible 04:47] I kind of want to go be a ski bum for a little while, and we started that notion of self-help. We were the ones who were the self-help generation, like, “How many books have you bought?” Explorig yourself, figuring out your feelings, how to pursue your purpose, right? The Boomers were not doing that. Great Generations, not doing that. We were, we were like, “There’s got to be more than what we just watched our family go through, right? There’s got to be more than to retiring…”
This is my experience. My grandparents retired and they laid on lazy boys all day and watch the Price Is Right. Like, really? And they were young, they were like, probably not even the 60. I don’t know, they were really young—such different perspectives. And then the Millennials came along and they really pushed the envelope, right? That’s why even Xers are annoyed because Xers like to talk about how hard they’ve worked. And now we have the Z’s who are like, listen, y’all are working too hard. Life is amazing, why we got to work so hard?
And that is not to disparage anyone, I actually think we need a lot more of balance. And I work in the entrepreneurial space. So I watch my clients, especially before they’ve really developed how to think about and build team, run themselves into the ground. And for what, and then they hire people. And if a leader is not self-aware, she will burn people out, she will burn them through and churn them through a cycle in her company because that’s the only way she thinks work gets done. And so the Gen Z’s are putting the brakes on, according to this movement.
And what we’ve also got now is we have generation of people who, especially the younger of them, right, we’re coming out of pandemic, where mental health issues are—we are at an all-time high, huge crisis. Suicide rates are huge. And what all that means to me—I am no psychologist; I am just an observer. But what that means to me… Oh, and let’s just couple that with people on their phone, insatiably buffering, not feeling feeling, not in their life.
And so we come into a work environment where there’s expectations, there’s deliverables. And because I haven’t learned the landscape of my own feelings, I don’t have as one of my clients said to me a while ago, feeling acumen, and I’m a younger adult, and I’m feeling pressure, I’m feeling anxiety, I’m feeling fear, I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m here, I’m feeling burnt out. But I don’t know how to communicate that, because I haven’t really been in an environment yet where I have to communicate that with a boss. I’m pretty confident this is why we have people just quitting by text. And if you’ve got a difficult person at work, they’re not going to negotiate that relationship, they’re just going to leave.
And so as leaders, we have to, you know, I’ve had this conversation with several of my clients, honestly, over the last several years. We can get mad that people are coming into the workforce now who are overly informed about all of the potential things that could be wrong with them because of social media. But underprepared for actually communicating them in a professional way and at work. And I think we should couple that with our own expectations of what it means to be a high-producing professional. Does that mean we should compromise performance? 100% no. If you’ve listened to my podcast, for any hot minute, you know that that is not true. What is true to me is that you’re clear about expectations—that you need to be honest with people about what it means to work for and with your business. And you’ve got to gut check that, because if your expectation is that people should be working 10 to 12 hours a day, unless you are matching their desired needs on the back end of that, you will fail. You will have turnover.
And if we aren’t creating space to have the discussions…I teach having one-on-ones with all of my clients. And I feel as though sometimes I’m begging people to please do them, because it’s the only way I think you’re going to get the kind of information you need from your team. So, if you’ve started noticing the people in your business, you know, I hear it as half-assing, lack of work ethic, phoning it in, right? These are words that I think we might say. They’re like, ‘I’m quiet quitting, hashtag.” How about before we just rule them out and character assassinate them and be pissed at them and judge them? How about we first say, “Hey, what’s going on here?”
And there’s a series of questions you could ask yourself, the first one, have I clearly established the values of my business? And if the answer to that is yes, have I communicated them? And if the answer to that is yes, do I communicate them on a regular basis? Do I recognize people who align with them? Do I fire people who don’t? Have I clearly set expectations for what it’s like to work here, what the behaviors are, how we roll with each other? How we support each other, what we can expect of one another? Have I clearly defined that? If the answer is yes, have I clearly communicated that? If the answer is yes, do I clearly and consistently. revisit them, talk about them? Have I clearly defined performance expectations for all the roles, productivity expectations for all the roles. If I’ve clearly defined them, have I clearly explained them? If I clearly explained them, do I clearly review them on a regular basis? Which is what one-on-ones are for.
We do have the least prepared workforce coming into the workforce than we’ve ever had before. And I do not say that to be disparaging. I say that because that is true. And so there is more responsibility now than ever on employers to help people learn what it means to work. And also to work with balance, because if you don’t know what real work feels like, all it feels like too much. And if you have clear expectations, and you sign up for what you know, it’s going to be like, and that’s what’s delivered, then we know as the owner of this business, you are clear, you are delivering on a promise of a position. But if there’s grey area there, and you’re random with your request, you’re consistent with your expectations, you’re inconsistent with your requests, they’ve got a difficult person whose behavior is getting ignored. All of those things will contribute to someone thinking, “I’m working way too hard right here.” And like I say, you can argue with me all day, and tell me, that’s ridiculous. They need to toughen up. This is time for the adults…All the things that I know I hear people say.
Listen, I don’t disagree. I think people need to understand if you’re going to go to work, you’ve got to work. But I also think it’s incumbent upon the leader of a business to outline what that means, and not just expect people that are going to show up and do whatever you ask them to do. Those days are gone. All you have to do is like look in the world and look at how irreverent people are. I think that’s a whole other commentary that I’ll talk maybe about another day. I mean, I just don’t think we have regard for one another, like we did. And so as a result, we have to look…I hear it on both sides, I see employees who are very disrespectful and have no regard for their employer. And I see employers who are incredibly disrespectful and have no regard for their team. We need each other, right? You need them to deliver on the role, and they need you to generate revenue and make money for themselves. We need each other. But we have to find a new way to connect here.
And I know the employers who go all in on that will thrive. And that doesn’t mean you have to pay people a ton more money. That’s an easy out for people, “Oh, well, there’s a lot more money.” I don’t actually agree. And that has not even been my experience. People want to work somewhere they feel valued, heard. They want to grow. They want to be mentored. They want to be led. They want to be coached. So you, as a leader, you’re the one who has to change to match so that you attract the team member who does want to perform, who does have pride in their work. But if you’re no different than the rest of them, they’re going to come in and see it and walk out. And if you get the text that they quit, you’re lucky.
So, I don’t say this to you because this is your personal problem. I say this because I believe it’s a systemic issue. And I think in entrepreneur cultures, we fall more into hustle and grind than even some big companies do. Big companies, people can hide. It’s the small ones where everybody’s really seen and if the founder’s working 14-hour days that sets the tone for what it means to work there. And if you need more support to get the work done, and you’ve got to have to start to evaluate that. So, there’s a balance here, this isn’t all employers need to get with this program and listen to the quiet quitting. And this also isn’t, all the employees need to get over themselves and stop quiet quitting. We have to find a balance here. But you have to look at this, honestly, this is happening.
So, we can either argue, and come up with all the reasons and shame all the people while it’s happening, or we say, you know what, I think they make a point. I think I’m 55 years old, I’ve worked my whole life. And if I had to do it over again, maybe I wouldn’t have worked quite as much and I would have saved some stuff along the way. Why can’t that be a win also? And it’s all based on your values. I’d like to make money, but money is not a value for me. Connection is, authenticity is, relationships are, kindness, fairness, loyalty. So, if I went to work for someone, that money was their top value, I might be in conflict.
So, let’s just be honest about what our values are. It doesn’t mean you have to change them. Because there are 18 people that you could hire right now. If you’re all about money and hustle and grind and work in hundreds of hours, I get it. And I’m not saying that’s even mutually exclusive, you can have the value of money and life balance. So, they don’t all have to go that way, but you’ve just got to be honest about it. So, if all of a sudden, you’re noticing the dial got turned down on the team, then I would pay attention.
We had a guest speaker in the lab in our How to CEO program to come in and talk about mental illness at work to huge issue. How do you handle that? There’s you as the person and then there’s the business and mitigating risks. How do we handle conflicts when people really feel unsafe? Like, these are the words we’re hearing now, right? “I feel unsafe, I feel attacked,” when really, maybe it was just somebody asked them where their timecard was. But in their brain, because they haven’t developed the skill to have that kind of a conversation. If they mean it, we have work to do. And I think it’s an opportunity. I think, as a woman running a business, you have an incredible opportunity to develop and mentor, and demonstrate and model for other young people in the world, what’s possible when we listen to each other, and we lead, and we invest in ourselves as leaders, so we can be better for them. So, I don’t know, I always love to know what you guys think, but quiet quitting is a thing. So you can argue or ask yourself, “Okay, it’s happening. What do I want to do about it? What do I need to know about it? What’s true about it in my business?” And then we look at the other things I mentioned, vision, values, expectations, and roles, and get honest, okay.
Hey, we’re going to be registering for How to CEO here. So, if you’d like some support during these crazy times of running your business and figuring out team dynamics and team design and who to hire next, and should I fire them and how do I delegate? And oh, yeah, how do I just get people to do their job, we’d love to work with you personally. So come on in. We’re having a great time over here. It’s lovely to be supported by and supported with other women like yourself. Talk to you next time.
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