Team at work from above
ATD Blog

5 Buzzwords Transforming the World of Work

Monday, January 23, 2023

New buzzwords keep popping up to describe the current flux of employees’ relationship with work. In 2022, the shift to hybrid work and economic uncertainty triggered the rise of several new trends in the workplace. But are these trends and buzzwords just a fad, or will they stick around in 2023?

Here’s your guide to some of the hottest workplace trends and buzzwords from 2022:

Quiet Quitting

Following the hype of the “Great Resignation,” the term quiet quitting emerged as an alternative to employees breaking free of their employers and the stress of work. ATD first wrote about quiet quitting last September. Quiet quitters only do the bare minimum at work. Gone are the days of going above and beyond. Coming in early, staying late, and taking on more than necessary are now things of the past. There’s still a lot of discussion on whether quiet quitting is real. Aren’t employees just setting stricter boundaries on their time? A social media trend or not, levels of burnout and employee disengagement are up. Last year, the number of US employees who were actively disengaged increased to 18 percent.

Quiet Firing

A response to quiet quitting, quiet firing emerged to describe organizations and managers that fail to recognize their employees’ contributions. Eventually, the lack of adequate coaching and growth opportunities drive employees to move on and find another job. According to Gallup, there are three serious mistakes that lead to quiet firing: a lack of performance feedback and discussions on goal progression, withholding career development, and a lack of timely recognition when employees do good work.


Productivity Paranoia

Hybrid work is here to stay, but not everyone has embraced flexible work. Among many hybrid work challenges, organizations are concerned about productivity and whether workers are staying on task while working remotely. Despite the 153 percent increase in the number of meetings per week, according to Microsoft, 85 percent of leaders surveyed reported that the shift to hybrid work has made it difficult to be confident that their employees are being productive. A sort of “productivity paranoia” emerged following the implementation of technology by some organizations to track employee activity over impact. Using technology to keep tabs on employees isn’t smart. It causes stress, affects an employee’s sense of autonomy, and damages morale. Experts say productivity paranoia comes from a disconnect between employer and employees perceptions of productivity, but there are several steps you can take to bridge the gap and re-engage your team.

Career Cushioning

Revolutionary action or best practice? Some have started to call career cushioning an evolution of quiet quitting. It’s a term that comes from the dating world—you have a backup plan in case your current relationship doesn’t pan out. With hiring freezes picking up speed and layoffs projected to continue into 2023, employees are taking steps to prepare for a possible break-glass situation in case they’re laid off. How do you career cushion? Employees spend less time focusing on their current job and prioritize networking, upskilling, and looking for another job or firing off applications. According to LinkedIn, many of its members are busy learning and adding new skills to their profiles. The platform reported a 43 percent increase in skills added from the previous year.


Quiet Thriving

Feeling miserable or frustrated at work and seeking an alternative answer to quiet quitting? Meet the newest buzzword on the block, quiet thriving. Instead of mentally tuning out, quiet thriving invites you to tune in. According to Lesley Alderman, there are several steps you can take that will help you feel more engaged on the job including, remembering what you like or love about your job, joining an employee resource group, serving on a committee or task force, and creating an accomplishments list. If you’ve tried some of these steps and you’re still ready to quit, it might be time to consult a trusted advisor or mentor to help you come up with a professional improvement plan or an effective exit strategy.

Last Word

Some buzzwords are like old wine in a new bottle. We’ve seen it before. Employees desire meaning and purpose in their work. They crave a workplace culture that cares. Flexibility, accountability, trust, personal growth, and connection is the path forward to making work better for employees.

What trends are you anticipating in 2023? Do you think these buzzwords will stick around? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Jes Thompson is a content manager for ATD's Learning & Development topic areas. As a content manager, Jes creates and curates content on instructional design, training delivery, and measurement and evaluation. Before joining ATD, Jes worked in higher education facilitating training in leadership development skills, conflict resolution, and DEI. Jes holds a degree in Communications with an emphasis in digital media production from the University of Florida.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.