Over the last few months, the workplace trend "quiet quitting" has taken social media by storm.
The term refers to employees who do the bare minimum in their jobs. They refrain from putting in any extra effort and instead place their own interests above those of their employer.
Now there’s a new trend in the career space: It's called "quiet constraint," and it may also impact the productivity and success of American businesses.
"Quiet constraint is a workplace trend we see emerging where many employees hold in valuable knowledge at work, rather than sharing it with their colleagues," Falguni Bhuta, a spokesperson with Kahoot!, a leading provider of game-based learning and engagement solutions for business located in San Francisco, told FOX Business.
Bhuta said 58% of employees have admitted holding on to knowledge or information that could benefit their co-workers — yet they haven’t shared the info with them, according to a Workplace Culture Report compiled by Kahoot!
Gen Z is the top demographic for this untapped knowledge-sharing, at 77%, the report revealed.
(Gen Z is defined at those born between 1997-2012, according to Pew Research.)
Holding back key info from others may hurt productivity
With the blend of hybrid work arrangements now in place for thousands of companies, teams need to work harder to create a synergy for success, according to workplace experts.
"Many corporate ecosystems are becoming more complex due to accelerating advancements in technology, with job positions becoming more specialized," Bhuta said.
Some experts believe the decline in collaboration and sharing of knowledge could be caused by remote and hybrid work models.
"Coupled with the rise of distributed workforces and the establishment of hybrid and remote work models long-term, this can very easily leave teams and individual employees disconnected from each other," she added.
To that end, she said that when team members aren’t fully working together and sharing knowledge and information, serious challenges for efficiency and productivity are created.
"Not only can it lead to poor coordination and lack of consistency, it can also limit the potential for creativity, new ideas and problem-solving that arises from effective collaboration," Bhuta said.
Is the hybrid work model causing more disconnect?
The decline in collaboration and sharing of knowledge could be caused by remote and hybrid work models, other experts believe.
"With hybrid teams, the workforce and people tend to be very siloed," Chris Holter, a career and workplace expert in Boca Raton, Florida, told FOX Business.
"It's tough to have a healthy team when people are looking out for themselves and not the team and the company as a whole."
Holter is president of Chris Holter Consulting.
She assists leaders in retaining top talent and growing revenue and profit through conscious leadership.
"People don’t actively engage as a team to learn new knowledge that would be helpful," she also said.
"This issue is part of the new hybrid work and the low engagement of the overall workplace," she added.
"I am working with several teams right now on this issue, specifically."
One worker's ‘quiet constraint’ may impact the whole team
If there is a team working on a project and one worker is sabotaging the communication flow, this could have impact on productivity, time and money, say workplace experts.
"Other people are working remotely and are struggling to stand out in a remote environment, so they're sabotaging co-workers to make themselves look better."
"It's tough to have a healthy team when people are looking out for themselves and not the team and the company as a whole," Amy Morin, a psychotherapist in Marathon, Florida, who is also host of the "Verywell Mind" podcast, told FOX Business.
"Individuals may start to compete rather than cooperate," she said. "And a team that can't share ideas and work together isn't likely to succeed."
The pendulum has swung really far into the "hustle and grind" culture, said Morin.
"Throughout the pandemic, many people worked extra hours. And some of them are resentful about that, so they're taking their frustration out on the company now," Morin said.
"Other people are working remotely and are struggling to stand out in a remote environment," she added.
"So they're sabotaging their co-workers as a way to make themselves look better."
Trend may hurt reputations, company culture
The "quiet constraint" behavior can hurt reputations and might even be termed "unethical" and "toxic," according to another workplace expert.
"Companies need to make sure to consciously reward those who are free and open with information in a way that creates shared purpose and a positive culture."
"It can be tempting for employees to engage in political behavior such as 'quiet constraint,' particularly if they've worked in environments where those behaviors are rewarded," John Coleman, an Atlanta-based expert on workplace culture and the author of "The HBR Guide to Crafting Your Purpose," told FOX Business.
Coleman has studied the workplace and written about it extensively for publications such as The Harvard Business Review.
"Typically," he said, this is "a bad strategy for the employee. It's both unethical and likely to resort in a bad reputation and poor professional relationships over time."
At the company level, Coleman said "toxic" behaviors such as "quiet constraint" can be "incredibly corrosive" to a culture.
"Your colleague might waste time researching something when you have the answer."
These can result in an environment in which employees "feel in competition with each other" and people are "more focused on their narrow, short-term position" than the larger mission of the organization.
"Companies need to make sure to consciously reward those who are free and open with information in a way that creates shared purpose and a positive culture — and to act quickly and decisively when they see employees engaged in behaviors like 'quiet constraint,’" Coleman added.
If employees have information that could help their colleague but choose not to share it, that could affect productivity for the whole company, according to workplace specialists.
"Your colleague might waste time researching something when you have the answer, or they might take a project in the completely wrong direction because they didn't have the information you do," added Florida psychotherapist Morin.