We’ve all heard of the Great Resignation but what about the Quiet Quitter? Rather than going above and beyond, working all hours, taking calls/doing work at the weekend and on holiday – these are the people that do just enough to keep from being noticed as a slacker – but no more.

Covid has changed the world of work, we can all recognise this and a few of the changes have been positive – from a recruiter’s point of view the flexibility around working from home is fantastic. Anyone that couldn’t face that 90-minute commute every day is prepared to do it two or three days a week.

But the Quiet Quitter isn’t engaged at work and they’re just not willing to go the extra mile anymore – is that due to not being in an office or other factors connected to what psychologists call ‘occupational citizenship behaviours’?

I think it’s the latter, but does that follow for the ‘professional’ sectors – the actuarial, risk and investment people that I talk to? I’m always amazed by the number of people I talk to who work 12-13 hours a day on a regular basis and then at weekends. It gives me a great excuse to let them know what roles I’m working on!

But why do people do it?

One thing that did strike me was the necessity to have other activities and interests that provide an escape, ideally something planned that happens every week which forces you to get out. Children are good for this – when my two were younger, they’d book end my day very effectively but then I would go back to work after the bath and bedtime routine!!

But if you’re not interested in TV programmes about doing up your garden/house/escaping to another country, soaps or watching attention seeking, chemically enhanced Love Islanders (don’t get me started….) then you’ve got to find something else to do?

But there are a lot of people out there who will have worked their socks off passing all the exams and climbing the greasy pole only to realise that they’re not quite a fulfilled as they feel they should be? I’m reaching an age when women of my age (I’m in my 50s!) are going down to 3/4 days by choice just at the time they could be aiming for the Boardroom. Most of them say they’ve had enough, earned enough and value their time too much (and you couldn’t accuse them of being ‘woke’).

From an employer’s point of view it’s all the about the magical word – engagement. This quote from Dr Ashley Weinberg, an occupational psychologist at the University of Salford sums it up well: ‘If you’re committed to your career and feel an emotional bond with the organisation or the career, then if an event happens that violates the psychological contract, the unwritten expectations, then that abuses our sense of whether we can trust the organisation’.

We’re already experiencing a massive shortage of talent in our industry so companies really do need to engage their employees before they become Quitters themselves and opt for an easier, more fulfilling life elsewhere.

The article that inspired me to write this was written by James Tapper in the Observer.