Earlier this year, the viral sensation of “quiet quitting” had plenty of people talking — it’s a situation in which employees do the bare minimum at work due to burnout and disengagement.
Now, there’s another viral career trend that appears to be affecting the American workplace.
It’s called “loud laborers.”
This coined concept is when employees spend more time talking about their work than actually doing it.
Similar to the “quiet quitter,” the so-called “loud laborer” is a classic office stereotype that’s being reframed today in light of the hybrid workplace, said Joe Galvin, chief research officer with Vistage, who is based in Stamford, Connecticut.
“In reality, ‘loud laborers’ are nothing new,” he told FOX Business. “Showboating for the boss’ attention is a fairly typical office behavior.”
Now, though, he said, “these employees are evolving and adapting traditional tactics and techniques to the digital, work-from-home, flexible workplace.”
Here’s a deeper dive into the phenomenon.
“Loud laborers” can be detrimental to the workplace and a company as a whole in terms of lost productivity and negatively impacting employee morale, Galvin said.
“Engagement issues can spread like wildfire, as under-engaged or underperforming employees often put an unfair brunt of the workload on their colleagues, creating a continuum of burnout across the organization,” Galvin told FOX Business.
It’s important for workers to be on the alert, said Michelle Reisdorf, district president for Robert Half, who is based in Chicago, Illinois.
“If you are hearing a teammate voice concerns about their workload, it’s important to flag that for a manager,” she said.
And, if work is suffering, you’ll want management to know so that they can address the issue head-on and not let the problem linger, Reisdorf also said.
Managers need to pay close attention, she advised.
“If you have a ‘loud laborer,’ it might be easier to find out about the issue since they are being vocal about it as opposed to keeping it bottled up,” said Reisdorf.
She added, “The best advice when it comes to these trends is to keep communication open and set up one-on-one time with your teams.”
If you are in constant communication, you might be able to catch a “loud laborer” before the situation escalates, she said.
HR managers need to take notice, especially with a number of new trends emerging in the workforce, said Reisdorf.
“It’s always good to have your finger on the pulse of the workforce, especially if the teams are operating in a hybrid or remote situation,” she added.
Likewise, Galvin with Vistage said the onus is on both business and HR leaders to curb “loud laborers” by increasing employee engagement and improving internal communication and trust.
“To do this, leaders must first set appropriate standards and expectations for each role, and hold workers accountable for timely and high-quality deliverabes,” he said.
To that point, there should be measurable ways to show who is doing the work, and who is not.
“By keeping a pulse on individual output, and proactively sharing kudos throughout the organization for those who have quantifiable results, leaders can quiet the noise and put a spotlight on those who are actually contributing in a meaningful way,” Galvin continued.
He also said HR and managers should identify and address any problems with the current employee experience — from poor technology to outdated equipment to under-performers and beyond — and determine ways to improve overall company culture.
“Culture has become even more important, and even more challenging, amid the rise of hybrid work,” Galvin said.
But a strong culture “can unify employees and prevent ‘loud laborers’ from souring the workplace,” Galvin also told FOX Business.