The concept of quiet quitting work has been making the rounds on TikTok, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. But, this phenomenon isn’t new.
A Gallup poll found that over 50% of U.S. workers are quiet quitters. Of course, the real number could be much higher. There's a good chance that you have at least one working for your company right now.
Quiet quitting might sound like someone who is resigning without making a fuss, but that's not at all what's happening.
Keep reading to learn more about this concept and what it means for you and your employees.
What Is Quiet Quitting Work?
Quiet quitting is when an employee does the bare minimum at a job so they can get their paycheck without putting much time or energy into their work. An employee doesn’t actually quit. They, instead, check out mentally.
These people aren't coming in early or staying late (without extra compensation). They aren't going to go above and beyond their job duties.
And while the TikTok videos on quiet quitters are new, the concept is not. Employees have been disengaging from their jobs for years.
The same Gallup poll mentioned above found that only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. And back in 2000, when Gallup first started reporting this number, the numbers were only slightly higher at 34%.
Moreover, the 2022 study found that 18% of employees were actively disengaged. These employees report being miserable at work and looking for new jobs. This has led to what’s known as the Great Resignation.
But what is leading to this lack of engagement in the first place? Let’s look and see.
What Makes Employees Quiet Quit Work?
Unengaged employees quiet quit for a number of reasons, including job fatigue, feeling undervalued and not being paid fairly. Let’s go into all of these and more:
#1. Job Fatigue
The Conference Board found that 11% of workers left their jobs in the last year because of job fatigue or feeling unmotivated and tired in the workplace. Job fatigue is especially strong amongst millennials and women. Both groups had significantly higher percentages of employees reporting job fatigue as a reason for leaving than Baby Boomers or men.
One reason is that millennials have pushed themselves hard to be successful and experience burnout at an earlier age than previous generations. Meanwhile, women often have to work harder to get the same (or less) compensation and recognition than men, which can be exhausting.
Whatever causes it, job fatigue can present itself in many ways. Some might feel like their job has become repetitive and boring. Others might feel the opposite—that they are overwhelmed and there’s no relief in sight.
Still, others might feel stuck in a rut or that they’re not progressing in their career. No matter how job fatigue appears, it's a major reason employees disengage.
And once they're disengaged, they're already on the road to quiet quitting work, whether or not they call it that.
#2. Feeling Undervalued
And when you feel that way about work, would you want to give it your all? Probably not. Instead, you'll save your energy for things that get appreciated.
#3. Not Believing in Their Company's Mission
Do your employees know what your company's mission is? Do they agree with it and support it?
If not, you’ll likely have disengaged workers and those looking for a new job. A recent study found that 52% of workers would quit a job if their company's values didn't match their own.
#4. Not Being Paid Fairly
Lack of compensation leads to resentment, which in turn leads to disengagement. If employees feel they aren't getting paid what they're worth, they're more likely to check out while they look for an employer who'll pay them more.
How Does Quiet Quitting Affect Employers?
Disengaged employees can be detrimental to your business. They're less likely to produce their best work or work as quickly as they used to, reducing employee productivity. They're also more likely to make mistakes and simply not care about the quality of their output.
What Can Employers Do About Quiet Quitting?
Employers can prevent this phenomenon by keeping their team engaged from day one, checking in with employees regularly and welcoming feedback.
Let’s go into a little more depth on these suggestions and add some others to the list as well:
#1. Work on Engagement from Day One
The best way to combat disengagement is to stop it before it starts. When hiring, look for signs that an employee is interested in the work.
Do they seem excited about the job? Or when they’re asked about future goals, do they dream about being in a different position or field? It wouldn’t hurt to throw a question into your interview about their thoughts on the work they’ll tackle. That way, you can see if they seem excited about the opportunity or not.
Another way to gauge engagement is to see if they ask questions about the company's mission or the work itself during the interview. That shows they’ve given some thought to the position, which is an indicator of interest.
The more engaged an employee is from their first day, the less likely they are to become disengaged down the road.
Once you hire a new employee, take time to train them as a part of your onboarding process. Teach them how to do their job so they know what is expected of them. Allow them to ask questions about the process. The more they participate in this process, the more likely they'll stay engaged once they're on their own.
That’s because if your employees aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing at work, it can cause frustration. And that frustration can quickly lead to discontentment and dissatisfaction with their job.
#2. Check In with Your Employees Regularly
When was the last time you had a one-on-one meeting with your employees?
If you can't remember, it's been too long.
Regular check-ins are essential for keeping employees engaged. They help each member of the team feel like a valuable asset. And when someone feels valued, they want to keep showing up.
These check-ins also provide some other benefits. They allow you to provide feedback, answer questions, and address concerns—before anything blows up.
So make it a point to check in with your employees regularly, both in one-on-one conversations and in team meetings. Find out what's going on in their lives, how work is going, and about their well-being.
#3. Welcome Feedback and Suggestions
Your employees need to feel like their voices matter. If they don't feel comfortable expressing feedback or offering suggestions, they'll never tell you what's really going on. They'll just internalize their frustration until they eventually mentally check out.
Make it clear to your team that you want to hear their feedback, suggestions, and ideas. You can do this by holding regular meetings (see above), setting up an anonymous suggestion box, or simply encouraging employees to speak up when they have something to say.
Of course, you can't retaliate against employees who do give feedback. If you want your team to feel comfortable being honest, you need to show them that there won't be any negative consequences, even if you don't like what they're saying.
While you don't need to implement every strategy your team suggests, you should listen to their ideas and express that you value their input.
#4. Give Employees Room to Grow
Your employees will get bored and eventually quit if they feel stuck in a dead-end job with no opportunity for advancement. To keep them around, you need to give them room to grow.
Offer training and development opportunities regularly to help keep their skills up. When you have an opening in a higher position, give your employees the chance to apply for it.
If your company is small, it can be harder to promote employees. In that case, try giving them more responsibility—with additional compensation. You want to challenge your team and help them feel like they're moving forward in their careers, even if they're not being promoted.
#5. Show Employees They're Valued
Your employees need to know that you value their hard work and dedication. Otherwise, they'll feel underappreciated and might try to find another job where they’ll be valued.
Here are some simple ways to show your employees that you’re happy they're a part of your team:
- Give them a bonus
- Provide a raise
- Publicly praise their work (in an email, on social media, during a meeting, etc.)
- Write them a positive performance review
- Offer comp time
- Send them a handwritten thank-you note
Remember, your employees are people, too. Treat them accordingly!
#6. Encourage a Better Work-Life Balance
Millennials and Gen Z especially want to find work that fits their lifestyle, not the other way around. If you're going to keep them from disengaging, you need to give them the flexibility to have a healthy work-life balance.
Make sure you allow workers to create healthy boundaries. Don’t make them feel overworked by requiring them to check their email or texts 24/7.
Instead, give them plenty of time off so they can recharge their batteries. Encourage them to take a vacation at least annually and ensure your schedules don’t require unusually long workdays.
In addition, look for ways to offer perks that matter to your employees. This could be offering flexible hours, allowing them to work from home a few days each week, or giving them time to volunteer for a cause that matters to them.
Of course, you can't just give your employees free rein—you'll still need to keep tabs on their progress and ensure they're meeting deadlines. But if you can find a way to strike the right balance, your team will be much happier and less likely to quit.
#7. Compensate Fairly
Your employees won't stick around if they feel like they're being underpaid or their benefits are inadequate. Make sure you're offering a competitive salary and benefits package—or your team will start looking for employment elsewhere.
Of course, you don't want to break the bank. But your employees must feel they're being compensated fairly for their work. If you’re not sure what’s fair, check industry standards and pay accordingly.
If you can't afford to offer a pay raise, look for other ways to show your appreciation, such as additional vacation days and other benefits or a more flexible work schedule.
Along these lines, you’ll also want to double-check you’re paying your employees correctly. If you're known for making frequent payday mistakes, your employees won't trust you and will likely leave. No one wants to work for a company that can't get their pay right.
If you're struggling with this, use Hourly to streamline the payroll process. They automatically calculate pay and taxes and send paychecks to your team. That way, you won't have to worry about back pay.
#8. Care About Your Employees' Mental Health
In today's post-pandemic world, more and more people are struggling with mental health issues. By supporting them in their journey, you can help improve engagement.
This might mean offering mental health days, providing access to a therapist or counselor, or simply being understanding and flexible when an employee is going through a tough time.
Remember, your employees have lives outside of work, and sometimes those lives can be stressful. So make it a point to pay attention to any issues your employees bring up about their personal lives. If there’s anything you can do to support them through a tough time, we recommend doing it.
#9. Cultivate a Positive Work Environment
Employees spend a lot of time at work, so they should enjoy being there. If your workplace is negative or toxic, your team will start to dread coming in every day. And eventually, they'll start looking for a job somewhere else.
There are a few simple ways to create a positive work environment:
- Deal with any harassing or bullying of co-workers immediately
- Encourage employees to take breaks and enjoy some personal time
- Promote a healthy work-life balance
- Celebrate birthdays and other special occasions
- Bring in food or drinks for employees to enjoy
- Have clear expectations for each member of your team
- Keep your employees focused on the tasks listed in their job description and don’t expect them to do extra work without compensation
Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all solution to creating a positive work culture. You'll need to tailor your approach to your specific team and workplace. But as long as you're making an effort, your employees will appreciate it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Identify Quiet Quitters?
Since a lack of engagement and quiet quitting go hand-in-hand, you can use the same methods to identify both. Watch for employees who:
- Stop participating in company events or social activities
- Take more sick days or personal days than usual
- Seem disengaged or uninterested in their work
- Start making mistakes or producing lower-quality work
It's important to remember that these behaviors could also indicate other issues, such as problems at home or health concerns. So, if you notice any of these red flags, be sure to have a conversation with your employee to see what's really going on.
When Is a Reasonable Time to Quit a Job?
The answer, of course, depends on your situation. But as a general rule of thumb, employers appreciate at least a two-week notice. This gives them time to learn about all the work you’re doing and delegate it to other team members or a new hire.
Also, if you're in the middle of a project, see if you can finish it before you leave. This will help make the transition smoother for both you and your employer.
How Do I Quit My Job Without Crying?
To quit your job without crying, have a plan for what you’re going to say, and practice saying it by role-playing with a friend or loved one. If you feel the tears piling up, try to stay focused on the positive changes that quitting your job is going to bring to your life.
It also helps to remember that quitting is a big decision that can feel overwhelming emotionally. Crying isn’t the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at the time. If the tears start to fall, take a few moments to compose yourself. Then, carry on.
No matter how you feel about your job, quitting is never easy. By following these tips, you can make the process easier for yourself. Employers who are kind, understanding, and wish you well can also make quitting feel a lot more manageable.
Keep Your Employees Engaged
Are you ready for the key takeaway when it comes to employees quiet quitting work? Here it is:
Quiet quitters are disengaged from their jobs and no longer care. So do everything you can to keep your employees engaged.
These tips should help, but if you need a little more information on what to do–just ask your employees what helps them stay into their work.