Are Meeting Planners Quiet Quitting?

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quiet quitting

The term is everywhere, and the phenomenon is quite real. But are meeting planners quiet quitting?

The Great Resignation saw a record-breaking 47.8 million workers quit their jobs in 2021, an average of nearly 4 million each month—and that has only continued in 2022. A phenomenon known as quiet quitting has also taken hold, with those remaining in their jobs making the decision to not actively go above and beyond.

For some, this is the result of having to make extraordinary efforts during the pandemic without being rewarded; other say that these employees are really just carving out work-life balance that should have been there all along. For many Gen Z’s and Millennials, there’s an outright rejection of the overworked, overachieving culture of their parents’ generation.

Discussions with members of Prevue’s Editorial Advisory Board and members of SITE’s Women IN Leadership Committee found that, although working under stress is inherent in their jobs, the pandemic has elevated the level of overwork to new highs for some—with no end in sight. Quiet quitting, in our industry, appears to be situational; in other words, it depends on who you work for.

For Sherri Lindenberg, senior vice president, marketing communications, Crump Life Insurance Services, quiet quitting has not been an issue so far. “I’ve read about this concept but haven’t really felt it in our company, gratefully. We seem to have very engaged and committed teammates in general, and our teammate engagement surveys validate this,” she said. “Of course, there are some people who aren’t, but we don’t think it’s any more significant than usual.”

The pandemic has only made things worse and Joanie Phillips, CITP, director, purchasing and design at One10, feels that the pressures it created for many employees still have not eased up. “I believe it’s from overworked employees. As much empathy as I have for those that were furloughed/laid off, I don’t think everyone realizes that they people that did work through the pandemic worked really hard and really long hours. It never subsided as things got ‘back to normal’—hiring new staff, proposals/programs going gang-busters—we just haven’t caught a break or caught up.”

Dave Stevens, PMED, global events lead at Hightouch, sees quiet quitting as the step before unionizing. “You see it happening at Starbucks and now with the pending strikes at UPS and the rail companies. It’s pretty obvious that if people are paid their worth, acknowledged and treated well, they don’t quiet quit or flat out quit. If managers didn’t violate boundaries, this wouldn’t even exist.”

Amanda Schleede, CEO of Attend Safe, calls on employers to adjust their expectations. “They need to realize that making their employees ‘kill themselves’ working 50+ hour work weeks is not sustainable. They need to shift their mindset to, ‘Is the employee getting their work done, regardless of the number of hours it takes?’ Those employers who see the value in their employees’ overall wellbeing will maintain their workforce, attract new talent, and increase brand awareness and employee loyalty.”

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.