What is quiet quitting, and how can managers prevent it?

Communication , , , ,

Research shows, that a third of full-time employees are quiet quitting at their current job.* Whilst this can be seen as poor work ethic, some actually view it as simply setting a healthy work-life balance.

But what exactly is quiet quitting? It may not be what you initially think, as quiet quitting isn’t simply wanting to quit a job, but it can mean how motivated someone might be to want to do their job. Such as doing the amount of set work requirements in order to get the job done, without going above and beyond, or bringing work home after hours.

So, what causes quiet quitting?

Employee to Supervisor Relationships- Communication is key. We can see from our engagement software data that often 50+ team members are over seen by just the one line manager. This can mean that little to no feedback is received and communication lacks. If there does need to be a high number of workers reporting to one line manager, ensure that communication is increased, especially during any company change -and find ways to create moments of connection. By doing so you can help employees feel more connected to the organisation. With many organisations going through change in 2023, these regular company updates are vital to help address anxiety and fears. Colleagues who work further afield are more likely to feel out of the loop – so line managers and/ or supervisors must work hard to communicate with all employees.

High stress/ Burnout – A highly stressful environment, and increased burnout encourages employees to take their work life balance into their own hands. A good way to combat this is for the employer to promote employee wellbeing mentally, physically and financially. Financial wellbeing is increasingly top of mind for employees, as “according to BrightPlan’s 2022 Wellness Barometer Survey, financial stress is the biggest source of worry for employees (72%).” This demonstrates that anxiety about finances can affect all things mental health, from sleep, physical health, relationships and productivity and motivation at work.

Poor incentives- Whilst it of course shouldn’t all be about rewards and perks to the job, offering some kind of loyalty scheme to the business can certainly help. Small perks such as a free coffee a week, or a fruit bowl in the office can help alongside potentially larger perks like EAPs (Employee Assistance Programmes) Offering the opportunity for counselling and mental health services can be beneficial. Offering the bare minimum in response to your employee working long hours can result in them losing interest in the company, and wanting to not push themselves harder than they need to.

Quiet Quitting – the numbers…

  • 77% of leaders admit that it’s their responsibility to prevent quiet quitting, and 63% say it’s a reflection of poor leadership.
  • 64% of leaders say it’s a reflection of poor worth ethic, whereas one-third view it as setting healthy boundaries.
  • 77% of leaders say it’s unacceptable to quiet quit, however over half of these- 57%- who say this, admit that it does happen in their organisation.

Leaders’ thoughts on ‘Quiet Quitting’.

Whilst some founders, leaders and CEO’s frown on the concept, there are actually some leaders in the business world who view quiet quitting as a natural and healthy development, especially in an ever-changing business world.

Some leaders, simply describe quiet quitting as “a movement in which employees become more in control of their schedule and begin prioritising personal over professional duties.” It can be viewed as nothing more than a healthy work life balance, and “the modern generation’s answer to burnout.”

However, other leaders share an opposite view and believe that “to succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Whether or not you are more inclined to accept quiet quitting as a “healthy work life balance,” or see it as “not working hard enough”, there are ways you can resolve and combat quiet quitting in the workplace:

1: Establish boundaries, and ensure you stick to them. If your employees are not tied to particular working hours, allow them to select the working hours that are convenient for them. You can then be considerate to those hours, and schedule meetings accordingly. Once these schedules are confirmed, ensure you stick to them, and employees will do the same.  

2: Promote healthy engagement. Offering the opportunity for employees to speak up anonymously on their feelings can improve employee motivation and engagement. In fact, Inpulse data shows that almost half of employees (46%) completely believe that changes will happen within their organisation, off the back of a survey. Creating an environment where employees are able to speak up and be themselves, allow them to live their happiest work life.

3: Encourage feedback from your team members. Check in with your employees often, but not in a way to check up on their progress. Communication is key. Connecting with your team members and building stronger relationships builds trust and commitment within your organisation, and can prevent them from feeling isolated. Inpulse data shows 53% of HR professionals are finding it more difficult to recruit qualified people than they were five years ago, which makes it even more vital that you care for the employees you have already rather than recruiting for replacements.

It is essential to note expectations. Creating a “toxic culture” where all employees must work long hours, above and beyond every day can run the risk of losing good employees, however employees should be doing the work they’re hired to do.

On the other hand, quiet quitting can create the idea that there is an issue where there isn’t one, potentially masking the actual problem. Doing only what is needed for an employees role, may just mean they’re keeping on target- not that they’re planning on going elsewhere. If you are concerned that people within your team are not doing what is expected of their role, ensure you communicate so that you can understand what is going on, offer support and build them up for better success.

Inpulse can help with this. If you’re interested in providing an employee survey or change management plan software powered by unique AI emotional analytics, contact us today for an introduction into our platform.


* https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/why-quiet-quitting-happens?utm_campaign=Marketing%20Blog%20-%20Daily%20Emails&utm_medium=email&utm_content=253484979&utm_source=hs_email



Master Engagement Throughout the Employee Lifecycle