HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Quiet Quitting

It seems that every year there is a new challenge for HR professionals to assess and respond to. One of the trends of 2022 was quiet quitting. But why is it called quiet quitting if employees aren’t actually leaving their jobs? Some argue that it's an employee exit plan, while others believe it's a high level of disengagement. Read on to learn more about quiet quitting and how HR professionals can provide support.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting refers to employees who do the minimum required to remain gainfully employed. Though they do not physically leave their job, they have mentally checked out. Employees become disengaged from the culture and values of the organization. Quiet quitting doesn’t often equate to a decrease in job performance or other complacent behaviors, so it’s more difficult for managers to address.

Why Is Quiet Quitting a Thing?

One of the results of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 was a sharp increase in burnout. During the pandemic, the global workforce saw an enormous increase in the remote work environment. Because of this mandatory change, organizations’ primary focus was on productivity (tasks completion). Workplace culture took a back seat as leaders focused on decreased profit margins, managing a remote or hybrid workforce, and maintaining compliance with safety protocols. When organizations reverted to at least partially on-site work environments in 2022, employees persisted in their task orientation. Additionally, the social media platformTikTok became popular during 2021, and influencers shared their desires for their employers to remain focused on job functions rather than social activities.

How Does Quiet Quitting Affect Companies?

Several industry experts shared statistics on how employee engagement impacts an organization’s culture. Employees who practice quiet quitting are truly disengaged. Let's review a few ways quiet quitting affects organizations.
  • Low employee morale. If a large number of employees are disengaged from the work culture, then morale will be low. When morale is low, employees begin to wish they were working somewhere else. Low employee morale may lead to more unresolved conflicts, since employees are less likely to resolve conflicts if they have mentally checked out.
  • Increased employee disengagement. Disengaged employees often actively seek other employment, which decreases productivity. According to Gallup, 74% of quiet quitters are either actively looking for new employment or watching for openings. Though quiet quitters aren’t quitting yet, eventually they will separate from the organization.
  • Need for more training. It is argued that quiet quitting is a result of poor management. One of the most practical ways to develop managers is through training opportunities. Managers need the right tools to navigate the new workforce, one of which is training. As of 2022, there are four or five generations of workers in most workplaces. According to Paychex, each generation has their own expectations, communication styles and perspective. Combined with the complexities of managing a hybrid or remote workforce, managers need more training to learn how to mitigate these challenges. For managers to decrease quiet quitting, organizations must invest more resources to train them.

Tips for Preventing Employees From Quiet Quitting

Implementing practices that foster a culture of employee engagement is the best way to prevent quiet quitting. Employee engagement initiatives are more of a marathon than a sprint; there’s no quick fix. Here are a few ways to increase engagement.

Promote Work/Life Balance

Many employees have been working in a remote or hybrid work environment for two years, so returning to an onsite setup in 2022 was a challenge, and will continue to be a challenge in coming years. Some employees' first jobs were remote. They have now realized that commuting times to and from the office take away from personal time. Work-life balance is different for each employee, so first find out how to support individual needs. Offer a variety of options, like four-day work weeks and hybrid schedules as opposed to a complete onsite setup. If employees must work onsite, offer flex schedules. Flex schedules allow employees to commute outside of rush hour traffic because they are able to work eight hours as long as they are present during core business hours. For example, instead of working 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., employees might work from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., or 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Consistently Measure Employee Engagement

Because disengagement is the primary reason for quiet quitting, measuring employee engagement is essential. Using pulse surveys or stay interviews (structured interviews leaders conduct with employees individually to determine how they can increase engagement) are very helpful methods to measure employee engagement. Responses should be analyzed and a plan of action to increase engagement created. Consider measuring employee engagement quarterly or semi-annually.

Reward and Recognize Employees

Feeling recognized and rewarded for contributions to the workplace increases engagement. Rewards and recognition don’t always have to be tangible; sometimes a simple thank you for their hard work goes a long way. According to Recognize, 84% of HR leaders believe that recognition programs increase employee engagement. Organizations must implement as many rewards and recognition programs as they can to prevent quiet quitting.

How to Respond When Employees Quietly Quit

Despite organizations' best efforts to prevent quiet quitting, it may still happen. In addition to prevention, organizations should be prepared to respond.

Step 1: Train Managers

Organizations must train managers to identify quiet quitting in the workplace, as they are the first line of employee support. To provide constructive support, they must first have a thorough understanding of the concept. Managers are also responsible for engaging their teams, improving morale and reducing employee burnout—all contributing factors to quiet quitting. According to Quantum Workplace, 52.5% of employees want more recognition from their immediate manager. Without the right tools, managers are helpless. Host lunch-and-learn series and update the learning management system with training on employee engagement, quiet quitting and employee recognition.

Step 2: Actively Listen to Employees

When feedback is solicited from employees, let them know they have been heard. Employees become frustrated if they share ways they can be engaged or recognized and are ignored or not addressed with urgency. It is unrealistic to implement all suggestions made by employees. However, employees are generally reasonable, and as long as their concerns are being addressed and some of their recommendations are implemented, they will feel heard. When employees share their suggestions in surveys or 1:1 meetings, communicate the plan to address their needs. If their recommendation won’t be implemented, have the difficult conversation and explain why it’s not feasible. These conversations provide clarity, and the employee may adjust their initial recommendation to one that is more reasonable.

Step 3: Promote Teamwork

Peer recognition is an important way to promote employee engagement. Teamwork is an excellent way for employees to get to know their peers and see their work firsthand. Working in teams helps employees learn the best ways to communicate with each other as well as building trust, which provides a sense of community. Working in teams necessitates engagement with one another.

Examples of Quiet Quitting

It is important to know what actions employees may display when they’re succumbing to quiet quitting. Here are a few common examples of how employees practice quiet quitting.
  • Maintaining strict work boundaries by logging out or leaving at the end of their shift. For example, clocking out precisely at 5:00 p.m. every day and leaving work immediately.
  • Taking frequent time off (utilizing all vacation and/or sick time).
  • Only completing essential job responsibilities and not volunteering for extra projects or tasks.
  • Participating in group activities only if they are mandatory.
  • Being satisfied with doing only what is required to remain employed.
Remone Robinson

Remone Robinson

Remone Robinson is a high-achieving Human Resources professional with extensive experience and success in talent management, strategic communication, and regulatory compliance across several industries. He is a motivated self-starter who draws on strategic planning and change management skills to enhance HR policies and operations. He has an extensive background in performance management, training & development, and diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging. Remone earned a Master of Science (MS) degree in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University. His passion and vision for HR led him to become a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) from SHRM and a Certified Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) from HRCI.
View author page
Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
360 Review
9 Box Talent Review
Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)
Employee Disengagement
Employee Engagement
Employee Evaluation
Employee Monitoring
Employee Morale
Employee Productivity
Extrinsic Motivation
Graphic Rating Scale
Intrinsic Motivation
Motivational Interviewing in the Workplace
Multi-Rater Feedback
Organizational Development (OD)
Performance Improvement Plans
Performance Management
Performance Review
Quiet Firing
SBI Feedback
Eddy's HR Newsletter
Sign up for our email newsletter for helpful HR advice and ideas.
Simple and accurate payroll.
Pay your U.S.-based employees on time, every time, with Eddy.