Quiet-Quitting vs Quiet Thriving

What if we decided to make a minor tweak in our thinking that enables us to see more value in our present job, rather than doing the bare minimum? That is Quiet Thriving. Read on.

All through the years surrounding the pandemic, we have heard the buzzword ‘quiet quitting’. Quiet quitting refers to employees doing the bare minimum- engaging in the bare minimum way with their job, doing the bare minimum that is needed out of them.

It all happened as during the pandemic many people realized that life is too short to stress over a job that they do not like. Life is too short to stress over frustrations in the professional sphere, the office politics, colleagues they don’t gel well with and bosses who don’t hear them out. And so, people just did the bare minimum and focused more on their life outside work.

But soon many people also started to realize that although life is too short to do a job you do not like, it is also not a very good practice to do the bare minimum when the job pays your bills and lets you live a life of comfort. After all, boredom comes when there’s the space and comfort to be bored.

Enter Quiet Thriving. It is essentially understanding that the job may not be perfect, but still finding ways to engage with it in the best way you can.

Before we go into our definition, a word: If one looks up online, there will be tons of articles mentioning some Quiet Thriving strategies. One of them is setting up boundaries. For example, not checking work emails after an agreed upon time, or being clear with how much work you can handle before you approach a burnout. Another strategy also includes finding a few colleagues you can become friends with. One more strategy is taking little breaks, or setting realistic intentions about accomplishing just a few things on your to-do list and so on. But let us face it, we all must have tried one thing or the other at some point, and it can still not be enough to find a way to thrive at your job, to find it more likeable and less tedious. Quiet Thriving is actually a lot more about changing your perspective as these articles rightly mention.

 It is actually about doing small tweaks in your thinking, more than attempting to control the factors outside. 

Quiet Thriving in simple words is a shifting of perspective. It is a reframing. It is asking yourself questions like:

  • ‘Do I really dislike my job so much that I am closing my mind to everything?’
  • ‘What is that one thing about my job that I genuinely like?’
  • ‘This is my job, and it is necessary that I see some value in it. What can I do to add more meaning to it?’

And so on.

What are some strategies that can help one get that shift in perspective and actually start to Quietly Thrive?

  • The number one strategy is in the above explanation itself- shift your perspective! As cliché as this sounds, looking at the positives of the job can help you find more meaning and motivation to do the job. Sure, there are negatives (they are everywhere!), but what are the positives? It could be something as simple as recognizing that this job gives you a sense of structure. Or it could be something as complex as connecting it to wider purpose. Miss P didn’t like working for an online shopping portal company because she thought they were acting as middle-men between vendors and customers. A shift in perspective helped her understand the wider purpose- they weren’t just acting as middle-men, they were making life easier for the vendors who might not always know whom to approach to sell their products online, giving them more sources of income and more reach. Her company was making lives better.
  • Another strategy, similar to shifting your perspective is called ‘job crafting’. There will be certain responsibilities you might enjoy more than other responsibilities. You can seek out more of those responsibilities by asking your manager or the team leader, and find a way to ‘craft’ your job a certain way, such that you end up doing more of what you like. It will be a work in progress, but it can offer a high sense of thriving and fulfillment nevertheless.

Once we get the ball rolling, it can actually a become a fun activity to finding ways to Quietly Thrive at work. It can become a fun activity to shift your perspective and understand that the job you dislike might actually not be that bad. Quiet Thriving could be that one positive missing ingredient in your perspective.  

Keys to Retaining Talent

Global trends  say ,when it comes to talent and hiring point that there is a shortage of talent. Correction: there is a shortage of talent that stays. As discussed in one of our earlier articles about candidate experience, the new generation of employees and job-seekers have their expectations set, and are not afraid to walk away from an offer they do not like. Companies and organisations are facing challenges in retaining talent.

One part of the challenge is to find skilful talent. Often ignored, the next part faced by employers, and by extension recruiters is to find talent that stays, as we already mentioned in the earlier article(link).

Let us quickly take a look at what one can do as employer, or ‘talent-finder’ to retain talent.

Combat Quiet-Quitting:

Late in 2022, this buzzword came about. It is a phenomenon where employees are becoming increasingly disengaged with their jobs, and are doing just the bare minimum.  The term thus refers to how employees are so disengaged that it feels like they are quietly drifting away, quietly quitting. Burnout, stress, low levels of motivation are often been attributed to it.

At some point, burnout and low motivation are bound to make the employee finally quit. At some point, the talent might walk away. Or a new talent hired might drift into these patterns. Low motivation doesn’t just mean a lack of motivation to work, it also means a lack of motivation to find ways to prevent stress and burnout.

To prevent this, the organisation and the employee need a little realignment to ensure the motivation levels remain optimal.

It is important companies take necessary steps. As an article by People Matters puts it:

‘…employers must shift with it and understand that if their employees’ goals align with company objectives, engagement and productivity will follow. If this isn’t accomplished, companies will have to get used to facing a low return on their investment when it comes to hiring staff. Retention levels will plateau or continue to fall, and collaboration and engagement will become something to strive for rather than a cultural baseline.’

So, what concrete steps can be taken to ensure these motivation levels remain high?

Make them feel heard:

The same article by People Matters continues how companies can be more ‘listening’ in their approach. Sometimes, employees might be going through events in their lives that demand that the company extends some flexibility to them. Having company policies is necessary but if a little tweaking can improve someone’s productivity, maybe it’s not a bad idea to consider it without changing entire policies.

 In other words, companies can make sure that the individual needs of employees are being met so that family situations, life emergencies etc do not become the reason that an employee becomes demotivated, or can only manage to do the bare minimum.

So many times, good candidates might get away due to location issues, or/and employees might quit because of aforementioned reasons. So many women and new mothers might quit the jobs they loved because of lack of flexibility and options. Truly, a little flexibility can go a long way in retaining talent.

One-on-one meetings, time-to-time company-wide surveys, and just general wellness check-ins are some steps to gauge individual situations pertaining to company policies.

Of course, there’s only so much a company do about flexibility. What are some other ways companies can ensure motivation levels remain high and talent stays?

Combat stagnation, provide opportunities:

One of the major reasons companies are unable to retain talent is because at some point an employee can feel stagnated in their career. They might be looking for new challenges.

New candidates might be hesitant to apply if they think there won’t be much professional growth in future.

To combat both these scenarios, organisations can offer various upskilling and reskilling opportunities so their employees don’t have to look elsewhere unnecessarily. Options galore, based on the scale and capacity of the organisations. Right from sponsoring further education, to offering certificate courses, organising seminars, and other L&D workshops. Many large companies like have set up initiatives to sponsor college fees, and many apprenticeships have also been set up.

On a similar tangent, companies can also offer more opportunities for internal mobility.

As mentioned earlier, top talent sometimes cannot be retained for the simple reason that they jump ships for ‘better opportunities.’ It is the fear of stagnation. This fear can be combated when the employees know that there will be opportunities within the organisation to grow. Opportunities within the organisation means instead of jumping ships, the employee can continue to climb the ladder within. Isn’t that a great source of motivation?

In this era of the Great Resignation and Quiet-Quitting, companies and organisations need to look beyond the hiring process and think long-term. Thinking long-term means companies think how they can retain the talent they hire. Talent will be retained when their levels of motivation continue to remain as high as they were when they first joined. Long-term thinking ensuring opportunities for growth and a sense of being heard could be major leaps into retaining talent.