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Turnover Woes: Beware the 'Quiet Revolution'

Quiet quitters and quiet firing are pushing employees out the door. Unfortunately, there are few candidates available to replace them.   December 14, 2022

By Stormy Friday, Contributing Writer

If facility managers are stumped as to why after two-plus years of working mostly in isolation, facility staff are reluctant to come back to the main office, they are even more confounded by the “quiet revolution” that is occurring in the workforce. 

This phenomenon began in 2021 and has seen an alarming uptick over the past year. The quiet revolution consists of two components: “quiet quitters” that make up over half of the U.S. workforce and have become disenfranchised with their organizations, and “quiet firing,” which is a trend among managers who fail to manage their staff, shirk their duties, and then hope these employees will quietly go away. In both cases managers are pushing their staff out the door. 

According to Gallup, quiet quitters account for more than 50 percent of any workforce. They are staff who do not go above and beyond at work and barely squeak by in meeting their job specifications. They are staff that over the past few years have become more and more actively estranged from their jobs, their coworkers, their customers, and their managers. 

Gallup attributes the overall decline to a lack of clarity about expectations, limited opportunities to learn and grow, absence of feeling cared about and a missing connection to the organization’s mission or purpose. These feelings of being removed from work are related to the lack of feedback provided by managers to their staff. 

Related Content: How to Recruit and Retain New Hires During the Great Resignation

“Fast Company” calls quiet firing the rebranding of a concept that has been around for a long time but became accentuated during the pandemic. It is when managers lose faith in the ability of individuals and teams of staff to do their jobs.  

Many facility managers said that during the pandemic they were discouraged because they couldn’t tell if their staff were performing their jobs. Instead of providing direct feedback and producing a plan of action, managers hope these individuals will self-select out of their organizations and find alternative employment.  

However, one of the major problems of this phenomenon for facility management organizations has been the lack of new entrants to fill jobs vacated through quiet firings. 

Whether positive or negative, better feedback between managers and staff members can help quell the quiet revolution. Sharing positive praise can strengthen employee engagement. Constructive criticism can help fix problems before they escalate out of control.  

Stormy Friday is founder and president of The Friday Group, an international facilities services consulting firm. She is a member of the ProFMI Commission, a governance body that serves as an advisory committee for the Professional Facility Management Institute's (ProFMI) activities. For best practices on sharing feedback, see her article “How to Provide Effective Feedback to Staff.” 




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