What is 'Quiet Quitting'?

Published on November 17, 2022 by Eleanor Holmes
What is 'Quiet Quitting'?

According to LinkedIn News, quiet quitting is when an employee rejects the idea of exerting more effort than is necessary into their job. This can take many forms, such as not picking up more work than required or no longer volunteering for extra responsibilities. Whilst this seems like nothing new to the world of work, it has recently become a trending topic on social media. Most notably, many workers are now adopting this approach in their everyday working lives. With it becoming a widespread topic amongst many working professionals, it is important to know what quiet quitting is and how to combat it.

What are the signs of quiet quitting?

There are several signs of when an employee may be practicing quiet quitting, some notable indicators are below:

  • Disengagement – when an employee who has previously been well engaged and active within the workplace suddenly becomes distant and uninterested. They may miss or not participate in meetings, or not contribute to project work.
  • Sudden poor performance – if a normally high performing employee suddenly shows poor work performance for seemingly no reason. This could include general performance, missing targets, falling short on deadlines, or the work completed being substandard compared to usual.
  • Change in behaviour – employees who have usually been communicative and interactive with their co-workers may suddenly become withdrawn; this could be either by not engaging in conversation, no longer joining in work activities, or simply by avoiding the office altogether if your company has a flexible working model. Changes in their behaviour also include becoming more cynical, becoming more openly critical of the company or management or seeming generally less happy.

Man disengaging from work playing games

Why do employees quiet quit – and what can you do to prevent it?

Many employees end up quiet quitting for various reasons, some of the most common are the following:

Lack of recognition

Many employees feel that their hard work and extra effort goes unnoticed and unrewarded. This often comes in the form of a lack of promotions, pay rises, and awards for their extra dedication. Quiet quitting is a response to this as they receive the same kind of attention from less effort than expanding lots of effort.

By implementing methods to recognise and reward employees for hard work and success, you can prevent this becoming a catalyst for quiet quitting. This can include bonuses for exceeding targets, more frequent or competitive pay rises for dedicated employees, or company awards for outstanding contributions. All of these can help employees feel properly compensated for the extra effort and care they put into their roles, and do not have to consist of financial rewards.

Poor employee engagement

Many employees feel they are not a part of the company culture, and so do not feel it is in their interests to push themselves any more than needed for the organisation. This could be because the employee feels isolated, ignored, or simply bored within their role at the company.

By reviewing your employee engagement and satisfaction within the company, you can begin the process or re-engaging employees who have since become disengaged. You can achieve this by implementing new engagement strategies, such as developing better communication and relationships within the company.

They are preparing to leave

If an employee has made the decision to seek work elsewhere, quiet quitting may occur as a result of the employee preparing to leave the company entirely. This could be due to a variety of reasons, from their personal circumstances changing to being unsatisfied in their current role at the company.

The main way to address this issue is to try and retain the employee if they have previously shown a good work effort and performance. Strategies such as mapping out a future career development plan, pay rise match or a review of their current benefits package could help retain the employee. However, if the employee has already made their decision and handed in their notice, then there are other steps you can take to limit the impact of quiet quitting. It is still important to address the issue as it could influence and affect other employees within the business. If garden leave is something your company can offer, it may be worth considering this option to minimise the impact of their quiet quitting on their co-workers. Another approach could be to lessen their responsibilities during their notice period – though it is still important to ensure they have enough work to feel productive and valued as part of the team.

Read more from the myhrtoolkit blog

How to re-engage employees

Are you serious about employee happiness at work?

Employee satisfaction: the benefits for employers

Picture of Eleanor Holmes

Written by Eleanor Holmes

Eleanor is a marketing executive at myhrtoolkit who writes on topics including HR technology and software, workplace culture, and marketing advice for HR consultants.

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