In the wake of the pandemic, employees across various industries have been sharing their stories about their work experiences and what led to them quiet quit. This phenomenon has prompted employers to delve into the causes and consequences of quiet quitting by utilizing tools such as employee exit interviews and pulse surveys.
What is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting has rapidly become a topic of discussion, sparking debates about the nature of work. It refers to a situation where employees perform only the minimum required tasks outlined in their job descriptions. According to Gallup, quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce. While this concept is not new, experts believe that quiet quitting has escalated in the aftermath of the pandemic, as millions of Americans lost their jobs, additional strain on the remaining workforce. Without channels and treatments from their organizations, quiet quitting became one of the employees’ strategies to react to this situation.
A misconception about quiet quitting is that it involves physically leaving work or detaching from the company. Instead, it often manifests as employees prioritizing their own needs over the interests of the company. For instance, individuals who would typically work overtime, volunteer for projects, or go above and beyond their assigned tasks may stop doing so. In less severe cases, quiet quitting may involve not attending optional meetings or declining extra projects. However, in more extreme cases, it can entail employees withdrawing from their teams, avoids meetings, or suggesting others take over their work (which is not so “quiet” at all). Despite these varying scenarios, all instances of quiet quitting stem from employees feeling disengaged, leading to demotivated and inefficient team environments. Ultimately, this can result in the departure of top talent and perpetuate a cycle of disengagement.
Why does Quiet Quitting occur?
According to SproutSocial, the top reasons employees gave for quiet quitting include:
A. Wage cuts and threat of layoffs
Quiet quitting came on the cusp of the pandemic when people were stressed and feared they would get laid off, only to come back to work and see less people and more responsibilities without a change in their job title or salary.
B. Unfair expectations outside of business hours
Virtual and hybrid work settings make it more difficult for employees and employers to set boundaries and separate their personal life from work. Companies often assume their teams are comfortable working outside regular hours and assign additional tasks, leading to burn out and a poor work-life balance.
C. No opportunities for raises or promotions
Companies are unwilling to allocate budgets for raises and incentives while simultaneously expecting their employees to work harder. This leaves those who regularly put in extra effort feeling exhausted and unappreciated.
D. New employees (with less experience) are paid more
The pandemic has popularized remote work, making it difficult for managers to equally assess everyone’s work attitude, contributions, and efforts. As a result, higher executive executives sometimes overlook current employees when it comes to promotions, favoring new hires instead.
E. Poor relationships with managers
Poor managerial relationships, such as when managers have unclear expectations or are unwilling to hear employee feedback, can ultimately tear down the team spirit and foster an untrustworthy culture.
F. Negative perception of company culture
Company culture is the shared values, attitudes, and standards that organizational leaders aim to convey and foster. If employees witness actions and behaviors from leaders that contradict this vision, they become disillusioned.
If organizations do not promptly address quiet quitting, they risk losing their top talents. Therefore, it’s crucial to improve communication within organizations to identify signs of burnout, exhaustion, extreme workloads, or quiet quitting.
How can we mitigate the impact of Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting cannot be eliminated overnight, but taking proactive steps now can be help address the issues. With proper measures, managers and employees can establish an environment, culture, and support system necessary for an engaged workplace.
The most effective steps to minimize quiet quitting include:
1. Clear Communication
First, create the space for communication. Many individuals who engage in quiet quitting do it because they don’t feel heard by their managers. Direct conversation between employees and management can lead to a better understanding of each party’s needs and expectations. As Chason Hecht, the founder and CEO of Retensa, said in an interview with Work Better Now about quiet quitting, three questions that can reveal the state of individual commitment and if/where it derailed along the way:
1) Why did you join?
2) Why have you stayed?
3) Do you still want that?
2. Active Recognition
Employee recognition is a simple yet powerful way to boost morale, and it is different from rewards. It differs from rewards in that it involves verbal or nonverbal expressions of gratitude for efforts and contributions. Additionally, speaking positively about employees to higher-ups can be beneficial when discussions regarding promotions, bonuses, or raises arise.
3. Flexible Work Arrangements
It may be time to reassess expectations. Not everyone is willing to consistently work overtime to meet the demands of the company. Job flexibility, more than take-home pay, is increasingly important according to recent studies. Clear communication is key to understanding individual needs, expectations, and available resources to prevent misunderstandings.
4. Management Tools
According to SHRM, two main reasons employees quit their job in 2022 are related to management: lack of career development and advancement and having uncaring and uninspiring leaders. If managers have access to the proper tools, they can implement more efficient ways to support their employees and create a healthy workplace. For example, having leadership send a climate survey or culture pulse to managers and employees on their team will give them a good scope of what is going on and where a disconnect could be happening. Asking carefully crafted exit interview questions is an excellent way to gain insight. An eSuggestion Box is a modern way to capture feedback and channel conversations to the relevant individuals.
Collaboration between employees and managers, without fear of retaliation, allows managers to gain a better understanding of their team’s needs, while individuals feel heard.
Employee Retention Idea #51:
Start Employee Retention Strategies Here
Quiet quitting leads to unfulfilled workers, lower productivity, profit loss, higher staff turnover, and disengaged work culture. Leaders and managers can mitigate the impact with action. However, addressing these deep cultural issues requires a process of organizational change that incorporates multiple talent insights and action paths. Investments in talent initiatives compound to create a stronger foundation upon which every employee can thrive.
One critical way to track and measure change is to capture feedback across the employee lifecycle with employee pulse surveys and employee exit interviews. These tools provide targeted business intelligence, allowing management to identify common themes, areas for improvement, and prioritize action plans to create an engaged and motivated workplace.
- Academic.oup.com, https://academic.oup.com/sw/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sw/swac051/6835787?login=true.
- Harter, Jim. “Is Quiet Quitting Real?” Gallup.com, Gallup, 21 Nov. 2022,
- Picchi, Aimee. “‘Quiet Quitting’: A Revolution in How We Work or the End of Working Hard?” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 24 Aug. 2022,
- Smith, Aubree. “What Is Quiet Quitting and What Managers Should Know.” Sprout Social, 12 Dec. 2022,
- “WorkingBetterNow with Chason Hecht – Cmbat Quiet Quitting in a Remote Environment.” YouTube, uploaded by Work Better Now, 16 Nov. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkp_kwF769E
- Lockie, Max. “Sign Up.” LinkedIn, LinkedInNews, Aug. 2022,
- Gurchiek, Kathy. “Report: HR Pros Rank Top Reasons for Turnover.” SHRM, 18 Nov. 2022,
- SHIRM. “New SHRM Research: Is ‘Quiet Quitting’ Affecting Your Workplace.” SHRM, 15 Sep 2022,