Quiet Quitting

Everything You Need to Know About Quiet Quitting

5 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

The phrase ‘quiet quitting’ is cropping up all over the place right now, and if you’re wondering what it’s all about, you’re in the right place. Get to grips with the concept that’s being debated in HR departments across the country with our guide to quiet quitting. 

What is quiet quitting? 

Quiet quitting describes a way of stepping back from a certain hustle-driven way of working. It is being used to suggest that just turning up for work and doing no more than what’s demanded of you is a way of ‘quitting’ a type of lifestyle without having to quit your actual job. 

Who invented quiet quitting? 

The phrase gained popularity this year when TikTok user @zkchillin posted a video about a workplace trend he identified with. He describes the process of quiet quitting as moving away from a particular mindset. 

He says, “you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life – the reality is, it’s not.” 

The TikTok took off, and the phrase quickly popped up in other videos, blogs and news outlets. As with any viral video or fad, its success lies in the fact that there’s something recognisable and relatable being expressed. 

In this case, it’s the idea that a hustle mentality or constant feeling of pressure can harm wellbeing. Bruce Daisley, a widely published workplace culture expert, has written about how this phrase captured many British workers’ imaginations. He suggests that the various economic pressures facing today’s workforce create a spirit of rebellion that identifies with the quiet quitting ethos.

Is quiet quitting something to worry about?

While the phrase is new, it seems that the sentiments it describes have been present for a while – and that they’re very real. A study from Gallup found that at least 50% of the U.S. workforce could be described as ‘Quiet Quitters’. 

They also report that the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the worst in a decade. Employee engagement is crucial in improving retention, workflow and wellbeing – so it’s definitely not a trend you want to ignore. 

How can I recognise quiet quitting in my workplace?

Frustratingly, quiet quitting can be pretty hard to spot. When employees are clearly underperforming, you have an opportunity to step in and take action. 

When employees silently take a step back and disengage, you must be proactive when spotting the signs. Here are a few things to look out for:

Satisfaction with the bare minimum

The biggest indicator that someone is quiet quitting is finding that they are happy to trundle along, barely hitting targets. Where someone may have previously been reaching to smash their KPIs and exceed expectations, now they are satisfied with settling for doing just enough not to get in trouble. 

A tendency to self-isolate

Withdrawing from the social aspect of the workplace is another clear sign that someone is dissatisfied – especially if they were previously quite sociable. Look out for people becoming increasingly disconnected or unwilling to share.

These signs can all be subtle and could be caused by factors outside the workplace, so don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, focus on getting to the bottom of the problem in a sensitive and timely way. If you wonder whether your employees are feeling appreciated and motivated, then an employee engagement survey might give you the insight you need.  

How to tackle quiet quitting 

Quiet quitters aren’t only affecting their own performance – they can put their teammates under pressure too. There’s a decent chance that if someone is disengaging and doing as little as they can, other people are stepping in to pick up the slack. If you spot signs of quiet quitting in your organisation, be sure to address it and improve everyone’s working experience.

A few important things you can do to tackle the feelings at the heart of the quiet quitting movement are:

Showing your appreciation through regular recognition

When employees feel recognised and valued they tend to be happier and more fulfilled, so it stands to reason that a solid employee recognition program is essential to stave off thoughts of quiet quitting.

According to Zippia, 37% of employees report that the best way to improve their engagement is to receive recognition from their superiors. Not sure how to get started? Never fear, our employee engagement platform can help you put recognition front and centre

Stay focused on employee wellbeing

Employees who are exhausted, stressed, or burned out may feel like they have no choice but to reduce their engagement at work. Help them stay healthier and happier by ensuring mental health is regularly discussed and considered in your organisation. 

Our guide to employee wellbeing has some handy tips to help you get started!

Encouraging and respecting boundaries

A big part of quiet quitting is a reaction to unreasonable expectations around employee availability. No one should be expected to be on their emails 24/7, and everyone should be encouraged to be able to find a work-life balance that suits them. That means both respecting reasonable boundaries and actively encouraging people to draw them. 

Creating a thriving social culture

Work is about much more than turning up and putting in the hours. It should be rewarding personally, professionally and socially too. To help employees feel like they’re truly part of a team, you need to put plenty of effort into growing a healthy workplace culture. 

From using our software to make social recognition effortless to organising frequent nights out and team-building activities, there are many ways to revitalise a flagging culture. 

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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

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