2022 has been the year of ‘quiet’ workforce trends. You’ve surely heard of quiet quitting! The idea that employees are disengaged at work, but instead of resigning, they are doing the bare minimum at work, and setting clear work-life boundaries.
But now a second ‘quiet’ trend has entered the fray – ‘quiet constraint’.
Quiet constraint is a workplace trend where many employees hold in valuable knowledge at work, rather than sharing it with their colleagues.
One worker’s ‘quiet constraint’ may impact the whole team. If there is a team working on a project and one worker is sabotaging the communication flow, this could have impact on productivity, time and money, say workplace experts.
A study conducted by Kahoot!, a global learning platform company, revealed some interesting statistics about the quiet constraint phenomenon:
- Over half of all workers (58%) hold back potentially helpful information in the workplace.
- Men are more likely to withhold work-related information than women (63% vs 57%) and are more likely to do it more often (27% vs 16%).
- Gen Z workers (defined by Pew Research as people born between 1997 to 2012) are the most likely to be guilty of quiet constraint (77%).
According to an article on HR.com, when asked why they haven’t shared their knowledge with co-workers, employees pointed to similar issues. First, employees cited the need for enablement, with 26% saying they have never been asked to share, and 23% saying their employer doesn’t provide them with a channel or means to do so. Barriers in workplace culture were also a major sticking point, with 26% saying they feel their talent and self-expression are stifled at work, and 22% saying they don’t feel valued at work and that their employer underestimates their knowledge and capabilities.
Lastly, a smaller but still significant portion of employees says they withhold knowledge deliberately. Sixteen percent say they do this because they don’t want their co-workers to gain a competitive edge, and 13% say they don’t want to proactively help others unless they have an incentive. This again points back to the need to foster a connected workplace culture where people recognize collaborative learning as a win-win.
The only solution to this new phenomenon is employee engagement. Don’t be a spectator to everything that happens in your company go quiet anymore.