Today's Wall Street Journal piece about the "quiet quitting" backlash raises some good points about workplace performance management. For those not in the know, "quiet quitting" is the decision by some workers to do just enough work without expending additional effort, but without crossing the termination line. Without delving into the limits this just-good-enough approach might place on someone's career or how it could inhibit personal growth and self-discovery, the movement (if the term even merits that description) does highlight some basics of the employment relationship that are occasionally overlooked in the rush to judgment about individual work decisions. An employee's job is to do the work the employee is hired for, within the parameters the employer sets. It is the employer's obligation to understand and explain to the employee the job's scope, metrics and deliverables. Answering the question of whether a job is too easy (time for promotion), too hard (time for performance management), or just right (perhaps the time to set new goals?) should be the essence of a mutually gratifying employment relationship. Effective performance management should not result in quiet quitting or noisy terminations - instead it should be aimed at trying to get it just right.
“It’s not about the quiet quitters. It’s about everybody else and the unfairness that occurs there,” said Amy Mosher, chief people officer at human resources software company isolved. If quiet quitting leads to performance issues, she said, those workers should be let go to find jobs that truly engage them. Jay McDonald, an Atlanta-based executive coach and former CEO of several small companies, says the onus is on business leaders to set clear performance expectations. If employees are meeting them, that’s what matters, not when or how long they work, he says. “You have a responsibility to have good metrics and measurements for knowing whether somebody’s getting the job done or not,” he says.