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Quiet quitting: what is it and should contact centers worry?   

Quiet quitting: what is it and should contact centers worry?   
Melissa Cowdry
Melissa Cowdry Field Marketing Director – UKI

Quiet quitting or soft quitting has become a worldwide trend affecting every industry and profession. It may not be what you think though, and there are distinct differences that set it apart from the Great Resignation. Discover the details and find out what concerned contact centers can do in the face of this new influence on workplace culture.

February 21, 2023 3 min of reading

To tackle any pain point, or proactively prepare for new ones like quiet quitting, you need to know how to define it, spot the triggers and what to do about it. For more targeted information about employee engagement in the face of quiet quitting keep an eye out for the follow-up blog. 

What is quiet quitting? 

The name is somewhat misleading because quiet quitting doesn’t actually mean quitting your job outright at all. It’s all about engagement and effort — quitting doing more, not going that extra mile. Forget above-and-beyond, it’s actively disengaging from the organization you work for, which is pretty much what rings alarm bells for managers and supervisors trying to provide quality customer service.  

Disengagement and detachment are a slippery slope; if you aren’t invested in your job, teamwork, empathy and problem solving erode or even stop. So why are behaviors which are traditionally viewed positively and associated with raises, promotions and career development falling by the wayside? It’s all about expectations and the mismatch between recognition, reward and effort. 

When did the quiet quitting trend start?  

Employees who just aren’t invested in their job are nothing new. A job for some is simply a way to earn money. Quiet quitting is not a lifelong attitude, however. It represents a decision: “From here on I will only do the amount of work I feel I am fairly compensated for.” This is nothing new; people have been making this type of unspoken personal decision for some time. Only now has it gained popularity, momentum and a name, largely due to a viral video on TikTok.  

On the surface, it almost seems to be the antithesis of the Great Resignation. Instead of wanting more out of work, believing a better way exists and taking steps to find it, it comes across like giving up. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply a frivolous social media trend. As suggested in a recent BBC article, the endemic culture of hard work and long hours in China was probably the much more serious root of the trend. When businesses are so used to people doing more, they expect it all the time, it gradually becomes an unhealthy and dangerous contributor to burnout. Quiet quitting is the backlash to employee exploitation, whether real or perceived.  

Why do agents choose to quiet quit? 

It’s important to understand that people who are quiet quitting aren’t lazy! On the contrary, they are probably excellent employees who have burned out trying to gain recognition which hasn’t been coming. You can’t work full steam all the time; there needs to be rest and recovery or something will eventually break. This will be the case for many agents battling long call queues, taking on extra shifts, supporting co-workers, problem solving, connecting empathetically with customers and being under pressure to perform. With the synergism between agent and customer satisfaction, what can contact centers do in the face of quiet quitting to ultimately enhance both?  

Recognition counteracts the urge to quiet quit   

The need to feel valued is a key driver of quiet quitting. It’s not about inventing reasons to reward people though, it’s about using real data and performance insights to see the value in each individual in your team. An analytics dashboard makes that much easier. Consistent improvement or even maintaining performance in the face of challenges should be obvious triggers for recognition. It is also entirely possible that someone is putting in all the right effort in all the wrong places! Data visualization is an easy way of showing agents where to direct their energy. 

Not everyone is a top performer though, so to combat quiet quitting and provide well-deserved recognition, attitude and effort should also be considered powerful triggers. Impromptu or regular feedback mechanisms for colleagues and customers help highlight actions, behaviors and important moments that can be lost when viewed as a data point.         

Engagement minimizes and helps reverse quiet quitting 

State-of-the-art supervision tools can easily be used to identify the concerning signs which may precede quiet quitting or signal disengagement. Good performers dropping to below-average performance, lack of progression and a change in attitude – to an observant supervisor – are all signals that something is going on. What follows should be a 1-to-1 to engage agents in problem solving on the individual level and begin to reverse the mindset behind quiet quitting.  

Maintaining day-to-day engagement also gives meaning to time spent at work. Automated and AI-led services help reduce the number of low satisfaction tasks to promote a greater sense of fulfilment, counteracting the sense of being employed doing repetitive, thankless tasks. Additionally, during more challenging interactions, AI suggestions can support agents by offering next-step prompts, thereby helping bring about informed decision-making, positive outcomes and the sense of a job well-done.  

When an agent is engaged in their tasks and recognized for their effort and achievements, it has a strong influence on job satisfaction. This sense of fulfillment is the most potent way to counteract quiet quitting. 

Help make their contribution count with CCaaS 

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions offer a suite of tools complete with quality management and workforce management. Not only does this give clear indications of when agents deserve recognition, it also helps shape the effort they put in, channeling it to where it will be most beneficial.  

Coaching creates the conditions for individual acknowledgement of achievements to combat the drivers of quiet quitting. Someone may not be the best performer, but consistency and improvement should be recognized, nonetheless. CCaaS can help bring meaning to the efforts of agents for whom career, recognition and a desire to succeed drive engagement and performance. It’s all part of nurturing talent and improving well-being at work.  

Look out for the follow-up to this blog focused on maintaining engagement in the face of quiet quitting. In the meantime, are you interested in finding out more about contact center culture?     

Melissa Cowdry
Field Marketing Director – UKI

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