The TikTok trends your business need to understand

In 2023, the number of smartphone users has risen to a huge 6.92 Billion, which means over 86% of the global population now owns a smartphone. And as if that wasn’t enough of a shock, the average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes solid on their phones every single day, with 1 in 5 of us racking up almost 5 hours glued to our screens. With so much of our lives revolving around social media, it’s important to think about how this translates to the workplace.  image: Sky News Young employees in particular are turning to places like TikTok as an outlet for expressing their needs and frustrations about their jobs. A lot of the trends that have now become a familiar part of workplace parlance started out on TikTok, like “quiet quitting”, “career cushioning” and “rage applying”. So, if you want to create a workplace that people want to be a part of, it’s worth keeping an eye on TikTok and finding out if there’s anything you might want to change.  Career cushioning It never hurts to have the occasional look around to see what other opportunities we might be missing out on, but Career Cushioning takes things to another level. 2023’s buzziest work trend is all about people being so proactive about their career prospects that they’re listed as “open for work” on LinkedIn (this will be hidden from their current employer, of course) and regularly taking calls from recruitment consultants. While this may be seen as a bit sneaky and underhanded to some, it’s actively encouraged on some social media platforms, particularly when people feel stuck in their roles or unhappy with their working environments.  Rage applying  People of all ages were affected by the pandemic, but it’s arguably the younger members of the workforce who were hit the hardest. Many began their careers when the “new normal” was in full swing, which means they missed out on the camaraderie and teamwork that older employees tend to take for granted.  Starting a new job in almost total isolation means many will not have cultivated the people skills needed to be part of a successful team, and being apart from colleagues has made it harder to build the kind of relationships that make an office feel like a family. So, when things go wrong, it’s less likely that disgruntled employees will want to fight for their jobs and more likely they’ll want to move onto something else as quickly as possible.  More significantly, the current economic climate is putting employees under huge financial pressure. The cost of groceries is continuing to rocket, bills are rapidly increasing and landlords are putting rents up, which means wages are not going as far as they used to. Like road rage and other situations when human emotions take over, rage quitting is usually a result of people feeling overwhelmed, annoyed and unable to cope. Just one thing going wrong at work can be enough to tip an already stressed team member over the edge, causing them to rage quit in favour of something else with a higher salary.  Quiet quitting The term quiet quitting, which went viral on TikTok in 2022, encourages employees to do the bare minimum at work, simply going through the motions and doing just enough to keep their jobs, but refusing to take initiative or do anything that involves extra effort. This can be challenging to deal with, because unlike disciplinary issues which tend to be cut and dried, it’s become much harder for managers to deal with situations where they think someone isn’t pulling their weight. On the other hand, quiet quitting presents a bit of respite for workers who feel overworked and unappreciated, by putting their own health and peace first and refusing to become stressed by demands that are outside of their job descriptions.  Quiet firing On the flip side, there’s quiet firing, where people are being subtly encouraged to quit their jobs. This might be by managers giving them projects that are outside of their remit or comfort zones, reducing their working hours or taking away their opportunities to move forward in their careers.  This isn’t something employees should be proud of and is usually a sign of a toxic working environment and poor leadership, but it’s sadly becoming increasingly common. How to respond to TikTok workplace trends So what can managers do in response to workplace trends like quiet quitting, rage applying and career cushioning, and stop them becoming a problem in their own companies? You can start by creating a workplace culture where everyone feels valued, understood and is paid at least the going rate for their skills and experience. Provide good opportunities for career progression, create a working environment that people want to be a part of and offer flexible working, where people can work from home some days of the week. Current research suggests that a huge 83% of people now expect at least some element of hybrid working, particularly millennials and Gen Z applicants.  The second most important thing you can do is manage expectations. Be clear about job roles and responsibilities, and if you want people to take on extra projects, work occasional overtime or do volunteering outside of work, make sure that’s written in the contract. Transparency is key to success and will save a lot of unnecessary hassle and unpleasantness further down the line.  Trends come and go, and all smart business leaders will know that sacrificing your long standing company values in response to a few 30 second videos is a terrible idea. But having an awareness of common bugbears and the kind of problems that might cause a valued team member to want to move on can go a long way towards creating a happy, healthy working environment full of loyal employees.  To find out more about how to create a happier, more productive workplace culture, get in touch.