Quiet Quitting to Loud Leaving: What Leaders Can Do About #QuitTok

Job resignations have seen quite an evolution in the last several years. While there is the occasional Jerry Maguire “Who’s comin’ with me?” moment, by and large, quitting a job used to standardly be a process of polite meetings and formal notices. Considering many of the workers we’re discussing today weren’t even born when that movie came out, it’s safe to say things have changed. 

“Quiet quitting” emerged during the pandemic, a trend wherein burned-out workers elected to do the bare minimum in their professional roles, generally withdrawing from work without formally quitting. Of course, there was the actual quitting too. Burnout led to 26% of U.S. workers changing jobs in the first year of the pandemic. And it didn’t stop there. A 2022 Deloitte survey found that roughly 40% of Gen Z and 24% of millennials would like to leave their jobs within two years.

While the so-called Great Resignation churns on, many workers — especially those on the youngest end of the labor pool — have shifted from an attitude of quiet quitting to loud leaving. Some employees are even documenting their resignations with the help of social media platforms like TikTok, using the hashtag #QuitTok. As workplace dynamics continue to change, it’s important for employers to understand these shifts and do their best to support their workers in all the ways they can. 

Amid these big shifts in the workplace, here are a few things modern employers should be considering.  

Understanding The Rise of #QuitTok

As the youngest generation in the workplace, Gen Z has grown up online. It is normal, encouraged even, for them to share openly on social media. So, while the idea of #QuitTok may seem surprising and even inappropriate to some, it’s important to recognize that in some ways, it’s par for the course. Why wouldn’t they share this moment? 

Gen Z is also particularly guarded about their mental health. And perhaps it’s because research shows they are under the most stress. In fact, 91% of Gen Z say they’re stressed about work. Their early careers have been heavily upended by the pandemic, which has created a series of “spinoff” stressors, like shaky global markets and high inflation. Indeed, there is a collective sense of stress among workers. So when workplaces become viewed as “toxic,” it is easy to see how quitting in a bold moment and filming it might be considered aspirational, or even empowering. 

On the flip side, many in leadership are struggling to find silver linings in the trend. Matt Weiss, President of creative growth agency Huge said this about this trend on LinkedIn: “I am struggling with the Quittok trend. It feels performative more than marking a milestone and it disrupts my belief in being good to each other.” 

In reply, Steve Palmisano, Founder of AdElevate took it a step further. “It is simply bad behavior, with a large dose of narcissism. Anyone doing this has to be able to realize it is bad form on so many levels.”  

What Employers Can Do About It

Whether your company views #QuitTok as a generational quirk or an unprofessional move, it’s important to understand why it’s happening and how you can best position your team to respond. 

  • Listen. Do you really know what your workers want? The concept of exit interviews is a good one at face value: Collect feedback from the unhappy worker who quit to see what went wrong, in hopes of preventing such a problem in the future. But, by that point, you’ve already lost the worker. If you start listening sooner, you have an opportunity to head off these problems, not only retaining the worker but also positively shaping the company culture. 
  • Act Quickly. When workers do share their sentiments, it’s critical that leadership teams take the time to act on the information soon after it is shared. This olive branch is an opportunity for employers to prove that they are invested in the happiness and satisfaction of workers. The less time that passes between the time of sharing and the time of acting, the more impactful your response will be. 
  • Be Accountable. “Accountability” may be touted as a company value, but Gen Z will not be taking your word for it. Leaders need to take care to not only listen to what employees say, but also to close that loop and let them know what you did with their feedback. By keeping this open dialogue going, you show a clear sign of respect to your workers. You are actively telling them “Hey, we hear what you’re saying, and this is what we’re doing about it. This active engagement also encourages that same respect back. 

Leveraging WorkHound in the World of #QuitTok

WorkHound can be a powerful tool for improving communication with employees and addressing their concerns before they escalate into retention problems. By giving workers an outlet to share feedback, they feel heard and included, which in and of itself can be a positive change within the workforce. And beyond nurturing these needs, WorkHound also helps employers capture important information from the workers themselves, giving them a roadmap for problem-solving, and an opportunity to positively shape company culture. 

To learn more about WorkHound, schedule a free demo.

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