From "Bare Minimum Mondays" to "Put Your Boss on Blast on TikTok Fridays," there's a bold new trend called loud quitting. Instead of resorting to quiet disengagement, employees are now using social media as a platform to voice their frustrations and announce their resignations in a very public manner. This new trend affects workplace morale, productivity, and employer reputation.
What is Loud Quitting?
Loud quitting is not just a fad among Gen-Z or millennials; it cuts across generations. It involves disengaged employees taking actions that actively harm the organization, undermining its goals, and challenging its leadership. In the past, these individuals might have quietly disengaged, but now they're openly influencing others to do the same.
This vocal resignation movement relies heavily on inflammatory digital communications that spread like wildfire within the workplace. The fallout can be severe, leading to damaged relationships, plummeting morale, waves of resignations from talented staff, increased workload for remaining employees, disrupted operations, and decreased productivity resulting in lost revenue.
Why is it Happening?
Employees resort to assertive resignations, making their departure known with clarity and force, due to several underlying reasons:
- Unaddressed grievances – When employees perceive that their concerns, such as unfair treatment, lack of recognition, or unresolved conflicts, are consistently ignored or brushed aside by management, they may opt for an assertive resignation to demand attention and bring these issues to the forefront.
- Toxic work environment – A toxic work environment, characterized by harassment, bullying, or a culture of fear and hostility, can push employees to their breaking point. If the situation becomes unbearable and management fails to address or rectify the toxicity, individuals may choose an assertive approach to express their frustration and seek resolution.
- Lack of opportunities for growth – Employees who feel stagnant in their roles, with limited opportunities for advancement or skill development, may resort to assertive resignations to break free from a perceived dead-end situation. By leaving loudly, these team members highlight the lack of growth prospects and advocate for change within the organization.
- Ethical concerns – Instances where employees witness or are asked to engage in unethical practices within the workplace can be a significant cause for assertive resignations. When individuals find their values compromised or encounter situations that contradict their ethical standards, they may choose to make a strong exit to demonstrate their commitment to integrity and morality.
- Ineffective leadership – Poor leadership characterized by a lack of transparency, inconsistent decision-making, favoritism, or incompetence can lead to frustration and disillusionment among employees. When employees lose faith in their leaders and perceive their actions as detrimental to the organization's overall well-being, they may resort to assertive resignations to call out the failures of leadership and demand change.
- Lack of work-life balance – Consistently facing excessive work hours, unrealistic expectations, or a lack of support for maintaining a healthy work-life balance can push employees to their limits. Assertive resignations can serve as a way to express dissatisfaction with the organization's disregard for personal well-being and demand a change in policies or practices.
- Discrimination and inequality – Instances of discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, age, or religion can lead employees to assertive resignations. Experiencing unfair treatment, prejudice, or witnessing systemic inequalities within the workplace can trigger a strong emotional response, prompting individuals to use their departure as an opportunity to raise awareness, advocate for equality, and push for necessary reforms.
- Burnout and excessive workload – An overwhelming workload, high stress levels, and little support from management can contribute to burnout among employees. When individuals feel physically and mentally exhausted, with their well-being compromised, they may choose to assertively resign as a form of self-preservation. This act allows professionals to prioritize their health and send a message about the detrimental impact of excessive work demands.
In each of these cases, the loud quitters aim to communicate the seriousness of the underlying issues and prompt the organization to address and rectify the problems at hand.
Key Considerations for Employers
Employers need to be proactive in addressing loud quitting. Here are some strategies to combat this phenomenon:
- Identify Quiet Quitters: Employers should keep an eye out for disengaged employees who may be on the verge of becoming loud quitters. Engaging with them to understand their concerns, offering solutions, and empowering them with the tools to be more productive can help prevent a public resignation spectacle. Utilizing better productivity metrics can aid in identifying less-productive employees, but privacy rights and labor relations should be respected when monitoring their performance.
- Educate and Mentor: Workplace training programs are invaluable in setting expectations and fostering an inclusive environment where employees feel heard and respected. Implementing mentorship programs can provide a safe space for employees to share their frustrations and find solutions, reducing the likelihood of turning to platforms like TikTok or Instagram to vent.
- Review Handbooks and Policies: Employers should regularly review their employee handbooks to ensure that communication and professionalism policies are up to date and applicable to both remote and in-person workers. Encouraging an open-door policy can also create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns and ideas.
- Find the Right Fit: A careful evaluation of candidates during the recruitment and advancement process is essential. Soft skills should be considered alongside technical abilities, and employees should receive the necessary support and resources to excel in their roles.
- Document and Improve: Tracking instances of loud quitting and identifying patterns can help employers address common root causes and make necessary improvements. Conducting exit interviews can also provide valuable data for enhancing the workplace.
ASE has several resources available to address some of the issues identified with loud quitting:
HR Diagnostic Surveys – Discounts Through July
McLean & Company has exclusive ASE member discounts on their diagnostic surveys and enhanced memberships through the end of July. Diagnostic surveys include engagement surveys, 360 feedback, new hire survey, exit survey, etc. along with action planning calls after the survey to find out what are the next steps towards improvement. For more information contact Dana Weidinger at 248-223-8004 or [email protected].
Handbook Policy Review
If you would like a comprehensive review of your employee handbook, ASE offers review services that includes a compliance check and an inventory of policies with recommendations for missing policies. For more information on this service contact Michael Burns.
Download a handbook checklist here.
Principles and Practices of Supervision I - This course provides the foundational skills for supervisors, either new or experienced. This nuts-and-bolts class looks at popular managerial models and provides practical tools and knowledge to help supervisors conquer the ten most critical tasks of a supervisor. This is a multi-session course over several weeks.
Principles and Practices of Supervision II - This class is the sequel to Principles and Practices of Supervision I. This class builds on the nuts and bolts learning in Principles I and takes a look at the strategic and leadership aspects of the supervisor role. In this class, supervisors look at ways they can influence their teams for better performance and some things that might hinder their success. This class provides supervisors an opportunity to gain insight into how they supervise. This is a multi-session course over several weeks.
View upcoming courses here.
Sources: CCH; Littler Mendelson; teambuilding.com