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September 12, 2022 7 mins

A new Gallup poll shows that half of US workers say they are quiet quitting, a phenomenon in which employees do the bare minimum at work. The key term here is employee engagement which measures involvement at work and enthusiasm employees have about work. Since 2021, employee engagement has fallen as workers feel unfulfilled with their jobs and are now being asked to return to the office. Ray Smith, reporter on the Careers Team at the Wall Street Journal, joins Oscar Ramirez for more on quiet quitting.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
It's Monday, September twelve. I'm producer Victim right from Los Angeles,
and this is Reopening America. A new Gallop pole shows
that half of US workers say they're quiet quitting, a
phenomenon in which employees do the bare minimum at work.
The key term here is employee engagement, which measures involvement

at work and enthusiasm employees have about work. Since employee
engagement has fallen as workers feel unfulfilled with their jobs
and are now being asked to return to the office.
Ray Smith, reporter on the Career's team at the Wall
Street Journal, joins Oscar Ameras for more on quiet quitting.

Thanks for joining us, Ray, Thank you. Well, let's talk
a little bit more about quiet quitting. It's been getting
a lot of buzz lately. Basically, the idea is people
at work just doing the bare minimum. You know, some
said at the at the beginning, it was kind of
an effort to reclaim some work life balance. You know,
I'm just gonna do the bare minimum, get out of there,
go home, and then do what I want to do.

But according to Gallup right now, what we're seeing a
new survey from them is that quiet quitters could make
up almost half of the workforce, and we're seeing this
in younger employees and a big reason for it maybe
because employers are making people go back to work. Now,
the key term and all this is employee engagement. So right,
tell us a little bit more about what we're seeing

from Gallup. One of the things that is so intriguing
about this from Gallup is that this is really the
first time that we're seeing some research and numbers backing
up this quiet and I'm you know, since we've heard
about it, there's been a lot of debate on whether
it's real or not. But with these Gallup numbers, it

shows that there is something to that. And though quiet
quitting isn't new, it is something that is a term
that we're seeing more recently to describe something that's long
been known as engagements, basically how engaged people are. And
Gallup actually has been measuring employee engagement since two thousand.
What they found was that since two thousand and twenty one,

employee engagement in general has fallen, and that was concurring
with the great resignation and people rethinking what they wanted
to do, like what they wanted out of their careers
or they wanted to seek more fulfilling careers, or they
weren't satisfied with the work, and so they were quitting
to find something else. And what we're seeing now, especially

among younger workers, is this rise in feelings of you know,
I don't feel connected to my workplace, or I don't
feel connected to the work that I'm doing, or I'm unsatisfied,
I'm unfulfilled, I'm unhappy, I'm angry, I'm resentful. Gallup said,
some of this is due to a lot of us
not being in the office at all or often with

our colleagues. And yet that's one of the biggest tensions
between bosses and employees right now, whether to go into
the office. And it is my company making me go
back to the office. Yeah, it's kind of a weird
catch twenty two, so really quick the breakdown from Gallup.
They said about a third of people are engaged, that
means they're happy they're at work. Are actively disengaged, that

means they're totally checked out. So that leaves just about
of people being what they call quote unquote not engaged.
These are the people doing the bare minimum. And yeah,
you're right, So it's kind of this weird catch twenty
two where workers are saying, I feel disconnected because we
haven't been there for this whole time of the pandemic.
But employers are making them come back because they would
think that's a fix for it. And you know, there's

other data that shows that, you know, of respondence to
another survey said that they'd consider looking for a new
job if their employers made them come back full time.
So it's this word catch twenty two where you just
can't get out of it. It seems like absolutely And also,
you know, one thing to bring up, I'm glad that
you brought up those great points and observations. But and
there's also this attitude of what am I getting out

of work? And especially for younger the younger generation, they've seen,
you know, their parents get burned out or hustle and
then get laid off. And so some of this is
almost like rebellion rejection against hustle culture. And it's the
idea that I only want to work from nine to five.
You can't email me at six or call me at seven,

or effect me to work on weekends, and so some
of this is not engaging. By is another way of
saying I'm not participating in hustle culture, and I'm not
going to let you take over my life. And this
is reclaiming, if you will, of a work life balance.
And that's some of what we're seeing here as well. Yeah, definitely,

I mean, you know, and even when you're talking about
these hybrid work options, we've seen some data say that
quit rates fall by as much as thirty in some cases.
Some people say the value of working from home could
be anywhere from seven to eight percent equivalent of a
pay increase. So people really feel strongly about that. And
for this piece, you spoke to an number of people

that were unhappy with what was going on with the work,
calling them back, what were some of their experiences? Like, sure,
some of their experiences were. I mean, one woman told
me quite frankly, that she wanted more autonomy. It was
the word she used that work kept coming up. And
what I mean by that is that this woman, in particular,
she was working for a company that insisted on return

to office five days a week, and then at some
point they allowed one day a week where you could
work from home, but then they pulled that back temporarily,
and that was this woman's last straw. She had just
recently had a child, and she wanted more flexibility, and
her company didn't seem to want to give her the
flexibility she was seeking. So she found a remote job,
and she quit her old job and found a remote job,

and she talked about wanting that feeling of autonomy, like
I want control over my schedule and I want more
flexibility and I want more work life balance In cases
where people want a hybrid situation that has come up
in several interviews I've had with people where they say,
I don't want my boss monitoring me or just coming
in for the sake of coming in just to show
my face, and I want to have more control over

my schedule, and hybrid is sort of a happy medium,
if you will, for people like that who wants more flexibility.
In some cases, there's some people who don't mind being
in the office, but it's a real source of tension.
And I think this issue of work life balance and
autonomy and questioning almost like why do I need to
be in the office when I've proven when we were

remote that I can do the job. It just doesn't
make sense. Just like make the math math exactly, yeah,
And you know that's the one of the tough parts
to you. When you give something to people, it's very
hard to take it back, right, and people have people
have gotten so comfortable with it. And to the point
about being in the workplace. You know, this is from
some other data there. People are stressed when they go
to the workplace. Of people experience it weekly, some daily.

There's concerns over the length of the workday, just job security.
All of this stuff kind of compounds and it really
makes for a situation and that's why people kind of
turn to I mean, it's a new catchy term, the
quiet quitting, But you're right, this has kind of been
around for a long time. So we'll see. We'll continue
to monitor how all of this progresses, and uh, you know,
hopefully people aren't vonating it in because it's important to

take pride in your work and and maybe if that's
the case, you you should pursue another lane. But you know,
we'll continue to watch for all of this. Ray Smith,
reporter on the Careers team at the Wall Street Journal.
Thank you very much for joining us. Thank you. I'm
producer Victor Wright, and this has been reopening America. Don't
forget that. For today's big news stories, You can check

us out on the Daily Dive podcast every Monday through Friday,
so follow us on our Hurt Radio or wherever you
get your podcasts.
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