business news in context, analysis with attitude

On Friday, our Eye-Opener cited an NBC News reports on a new Gallup survey saying that at least half of all US workers are what is known as "quiet quitters" - doing "the bare minimum of what's required from them at their jobs," consciously rejecting "the hustle culture that has dominated conversations around work and career for decades."

The survey concluded that "there are still more workers who are engaged at work (32%) compared with people who are actively disengaged, a third category that Gallup refers to as 'loud quitters,' who make up 18% of survey respondents. They have checked out of their jobs and are not hiding it."

I commented:

This study seems right in line with issues we've been discussing this week on MNB - the fact that business leaders have a responsibility to provide clarity about a company's purpose and the employee's meaning within that framework.  Many workers are disconnected because organizations don't make an effort to connect them to the broader ecosystem, which isn't smart.  Or forward looking.  Or fiscally responsible.

"Quiet quitting" has been getting a lot of attention in the media, but it ought to be an Eye-Opener - not about workers, but about the organizations within which many of them toil.

One MNB reader wrote:

I say good for those that may change the corporate culture.

Early in my career I, and many others, went above and beyond only to find we were resetting the “expectation”. So, what was extra effort now became the standard.

The company was good to me and I am not saying I would do anything differently but the real winner was the company.

From another reader:

I've worked at a northeast supermarket chain for forty years.  The problem here isn't what may be defined as "quiet quitters".  It's management's attitude towards the work force that has changed.  There seems to be no expectation that a new hire work with a sense of urgency.  As a matter of fact, I dare say that management expects its "old timers" to do more to pick up the slack rather than address these new hires.  The pervasive attitude is that it's just the way things are nowadays and at least they show up.  Until that managerial attitude changes, nothing will change and animosity from the more senior employees will keep building.  Many of us (senior employees) joke about what will become of the company when we leave or retire and none of us foresee a positive outcome unless this attitude changes.

And from another reader:

There is nothing new here. It’s called “phoning it in.” I’ve done it, my father did it and I imagine my grand and great grandfather, most likely, did it as well.

The only difference is we kept it to ourselves.

For whatever reason, people can’t keep their mouths or social feed shut in todays “bare it all” world.

And, finally, from another:

Looks like another big step down the slippery slope towards socialism.

Let me take this last one first…

I had to go check the definition of socialism to see if there was something I'd missed back in political science class, but didn't see anything that related to "quiet quitters."  I can only say that for some folks, whenever and wherever people behave in a way that they do not find acceptable, it must be socialism that's the problem.

Now, let me address the other comments for a moment.

I don't honestly thinking that there is anything wrong with companies having high expectations of their workers, and that when they meet those expectations, it raises the bar for everyone.  it is a lot worse in an organization when the bar is set so low that nobody innovates and excels.

I'm not sure that this what "quiet quitting" is addressing.

Let me repeat:

"Business leaders have a responsibility to provide clarity about a company's purpose and the employee's meaning within that framework.  Many workers are disconnected because organizations don't make an effort to connect them to the broader ecosystem, which isn't smart.  Or forward looking.  Or fiscally responsible."

Expectations without context, without feedback, without reward … these are things that create problems in organizations.  That's what people are responding to.

Is this "phoning it in" in the traditional sense?  Maybe, except that I think that the "quiet quitting" trend is something larger than that, something more reflective about a disconnect between leadership/management and employees.

And you can get angry about people talking about it, or posting comments about it on social media, but that strikes me as counter-productive.  That's how several generations express themselves.  Seems to me that it would a better idea to actually address the problems.

We had a story last week about how Target Corp. said that CEO Brian Cornell has re-upped for three more years in the job, which will take him past the company's mandatory retirement age of 65.

I commented:

I'm a little conflicted about this philosophically.  I do think it is important to infuse companies with younger and more diverse DNA, and when older guys don't leave, it sort of clogs up the executive supply chain.

But … speaking as someone who would be out of a job if MNB had a mandatory retirement age of 65, I also think that there are a lot of folks who aren't nearly ready to give up being productive when they hit that age.  (Thank goodness I write the MNB rules.)

One MNB reader responded:

When you say "clog up the executive chain", that assumes the leader needs to go.

Ageism is the only 'ism' that is actively practiced that never gets acknowledged but rarely ever addressed. I would argue that age restrictions should be eliminated and let performance dictate tenure. All organizations owe it to provide career opportunities knowing if they unable to do so, good leaders will find a path elsewhere. But if you have a good leader in place, this can happen. It does all the time.

Well, I did say I was "conflicted"…

And this note from MNB reader Monte Stowell:

I had to smile after reading the changing demographic of who is shopping at the Dollar or Dollar and twenty five cent stores. Being retired from the food industry, as are many of my friends who are doing quite well financially in their retirement years, it is interesting to hear many of them who say that they shop in the Dollar stores here in the NW. One category really stands out, Greeting cards and party favors. Hallmark cards sell for $1.00, and you can go elsewhere to buy Hallmark cards at major food chain stores, and are paying $4.00 and up. That is how you make 300-400% on your money. I finally got my bride to buy greeting cards at the Dollar store. 

What the hell is a "greeting card?"

Actually, I'm just kidding.

But young people today have no idea what a greeting card is, or if they do, they'd probably relegate the concept to the same dusty warehouse where they store rotary dial telephones, buggy whips, and first class stamps - all things that seem irrelevant to their lives.

I'm glad your dollar stores are doing a big business in greeting cards, but I'm guessing that this is a category with an expiration date.  (An observation that no doubt with earn me the enmity … and some resentful emails … from some MNB readers.)