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Workplace Buzzwords of 2023

If you’re doing digging around in workplace trends (just me? ok), you may have noticed several new buzzwords floating around. Buzzwords are nothing new in the workplace; they come and go with the winds, and as you’re going to see, many of them actually repeat themselves! So, what are these buzzwords and what do they mean?

Quiet Hiring

This is probably the newest one, mostly making waves over the month of February. But quiet hiring is far from new, it’s just a new buzzword. Quiet hiring is the practice of focusing on internal talent and moving them around in a business rather than hiring from the outside. Hiring is quite expensive whereas simply shifting people from place to place is much cheaper and has a huge benefit for the employee too who is getting cross trained, new experience, upskilling, or at least the ability to try new things.

Quiet hiring is hardly new though. Many industries, particularly ones like hospitality, have been doing quiet hiring forever. It was most well known cross-training where people are trained in other departments; and of course internal promoting where people get promoted to new positions, departments, etc. from within.

Quiet hiring is one of the few trends which is helpful all around. Employees get the professional development opportunities, upskilling, and ability to try new things. Employers save a ton of money by not having to worry about recruiting and training someone brand new to the business. So sure, call it what you like, quiet hiring is probably one of the best things to come out of the mess that has been 2022 labor trends.

Bare Minimum Mondays

I’ll be honest with you: I actually don’t hate Mondays. I hate Thursdays. Close enough to the weekend that my motivation has tanked, far enough away that I don’t feel justified in tanked motivation. Le sigh.

But for most people, Mondays aren’t fabulous. Fear of Monday has even spawned the term ‘Sunday scaries’ where people can’t enjoy their Sunday because they are too busy dreading Monday, a la Calvin and Hobbes:

Bare minimum Monday is the idea of resisting the idea of hitting the ground running first thing Monday and instead easing into your workday. This can mean doing things like updating your schedule, avoiding email for the first hour, not scheduling meetings for too early in the day, and doing light work to ease into your week instead of the more traditional heavy, ‘eat the frog’ style of work where people would do the hardest task first.

Is one way better than the other? Kinda depends on your industry, but the Bare Minimum Monday highlights that people are tired of being told that they have to hit the ground running at the beginning of every week and then stay that way for the entire week. This also ties into the trend of more flexible hours, allowing people to start their workday later in the day so they can use their morning to ease into things.

Chaotic Working

Chaotic working is also not exactly new, but with inflation taking a bite out of wallets, record profits in stores being posted despite inflation and the perception that many businesses are inherently corrupt, chaotic working is on the rise again.

BOB PARR: All right, listen closely. I’d like to help you, but I can’t. I’d like to tell you to take a copy of your policy to Norma Wilcox on… Norma Wilcox. W-I-L-C-O-X. On the third floor. But I can’t. I also do not advise you to fill out and file a WS2475 form with our legal department on the second floor. I wouldn’t expect someone to get back to you quickly to resolve the matter. I’d like to help, but there’s nothing I can do. (The Incredibles ©Pixar)

Chaotic working generally entails breaking the rules, but since employees are fed up with their job, employer or work in general, they really don’t care. Examples include giving customers the discounts that are normally held for employees, upsizing their food orders for free or even turning a blind eye to people shoplifting things like diapers, formula, or fruit. It has taken off in 2023 due to anti-work sentiments, but it has its roots much earlier.

Obviously doing this risks your job, but since employees doing this don’t care, it’s not much of a deterrent.

Boomerang Employees

Boomerang employees aren’t new either, but in the wake of the Great Resignation, it’s made a comeback. Boomerang employees are certainly employees who had quit a job and then returned later, often with a raise, new position, or other perks. As a result of quiet quitting, rage applying, shift shock (discovering that a job wasn’t as good as they thought) and layoffs, people are coming back to their previous employers or getting laid off and then rehired at the same company.

And as a result of so much uncertainty, we get….

Career Cushioning

Career cushioning is when workers dust off the resumes and look for work while still in their current roles. This isn’t new either, but because of fears of layoffs and recessions, employees are kicking it up into high gear again. It doesn’t necessarily mean that employees are going to leave; networking is always a good idea and it’s never a bad idea to have an exit strategy, just in case.

Now, it’s important to note that none of this is really new, but they are all coming back in the era of post-Covid and all of the changes in the workplace.

So why is this important? Well, it’s always good from the employer’s point of view to know what these buzzwords mean. It also means that employers can come up with ideas and ways to prevent anything damaging from happening to the company by losing talent.

There you have it! Some buzzwords you might see if you poke around Tik Tok or are listening to your employees. What do you think of these trends? Anything surprising or far too problematic?

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