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Quitting quietly, or the urgent need to reinvent our ways of working.

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If the year 2022 witnessed a great resignation following the health crisis, it is currently a quiet resignation, that is, a silent resignation, which occupies the forefront. Negatively surprised to discover that the grass isn’t greener anywhere else, many employees confid in their regrets about quitting their jobs. A large part of them also admit that they are more reluctant to resign given the geopolitical context. For all these reasons, more and more employees are deciding to adopt the following credo: stay at one job but do what needs to be done, nothing more, nothing less. The result ? Leaders were faced with assigning large costs to frustrated and therefore less efficient employees. In the face of this major problem, what are the levers that must be activated internally to re-engage employees in a collective dynamic and corporate culture?

An increase in silent submission: the result of strong cognitive dissonance

In 2022, according to the Department of Labor, there were 520,000 quarterly resignations over the course of one year. The health crisis, by rebalancing the periods of life, has profoundly transformed the organization of work and called it into question. Whereas in 1990 60% of employees gave work a very important place, now it is only 20%. At the same time, current climate issues and openness about employee well-being only widens an already significant gap. 39% of employees in the private sector say they feel a gap between their convictions on social and environmental issues, the work they do and the activities of their company. This cognitive dissonance strongly underscores the frustration of employees whose daily tasks do not meet their contribution needs and are not aligned with their personal values. In fact, it leads to questioning and discouragement in the face of a similar or even exponential workload that can cause occupational burnout or the well-known burnout.

Although they thought quitting was the best decision to make, 72% of respondents said their new position or company did not live up to their expectations. 48% of them even admit that they tried to get their first job back. Faced with this disappointing note, great resignation soon gave way to great regret. At the same time, given inflation, more than one employee feels sluggish at the idea of ​​quitting. Unlike the US, being a CDI holder in France denotes a certain legality (access to loans, housing in some big city, etc.) but also social recognition. If leaving is no longer an option, staying in these working conditions is also not an option.

This is why 37% of French workers have recently chosen to keep their job but are no longer investing so much in the business. They are called “Quiet Leavers”. For these, it is imperative to find meaning elsewhere, outside of their career alone. For this, it is out of the question to leave the office after working hours or to accomplish tasks not listed in the job description. Currently, 45% of French people say they have taken on the role of “doing only what is necessary” in order to take the time to implement actions in line with their values ​​(joining an association, taking action for climate, launching an entrepreneurial venture, etc.). This new direction reveals real questions, above all on the part of decision-makers. When we know that a disengaged employee costs the company €11,660 per year on average, we understand the challenges facing business leaders to activate the appropriate levers to re-engage their employees. The fact remains that this phenomenon is an illustration of a general lack of satisfaction on the part of employees, whose annoyance is often masked under the auspices of the famous “what’s the point?”.

Imagine a company of tomorrow that is committed to compensating for resignation.

24% of employees believe that the profession they are currently pursuing has no meaning for them and feel detached from their personal values. This figure, further underpinned by the increasing salary disengagement, only points the finger at an organization that today is showing its limits and is directly seeking to fail. In fact, employees have new expectations from their company. If they withdraw, it is necessary above all to protect themselves and conserve their energy to carry out tasks that satisfy their need to contribute. This observation therefore raises the urgent need to radically rethink the world of work. And for this shift to take place, changes must take place internally, within the companies themselves. While most employees regret the perceived inaction on the part of their company, a third remain convinced that it is a key and priority lever for change. Two out of three employees say they’re willing to earn less money for more reasonable work, so there’s real demand on their part that needs to be measured.

Concretely, how does change happen? Above all in sharing common values ​​that are a powerful lever for talent retention. In this sense, the implementation of the corporate social responsibility strategy (Corporate Social Responsibility) is no longer an option. Employees need to know that the company they work for is operating on their personal commitments. The fact remains that if companies want to rehire their employees, they need to be able to present them with tasks that make sense. Actions to be performed can take several forms, such as skill care (working during business hours for the benefit of the association). Enabling teams to mobilize their professional skills with structures close to their hearts is essential to satisfying their need to contribute. This redirects the employees’ perspectives towards their jobs by giving more meaning and purpose to the work. The implementation of such systems is an important vector for enhancing employee pride and thus their sense of belonging to the company. An important argument if we consider the brand of the employer. 87% of French employees believe that finding meaning at work strengthens their company’s recommendation to external third parties

Tribune by Elise Thibault-Gondry, Founder of Day One

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