Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting is basically doing the minimum requirements at a job. In the early 2020s quiet quitting emerged as a much-publicized trend in the US and elsewhere. There were a variety of factors in the workplace that influenced the trend. But some have questioned whether it’s even a new phenomenon. 

In a recent chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, host Julie Gardner from Hourly – Insurance & Payroll in California led a discussion about quiet quitting and how to navigate some of the root causes in the workplace.

What is Quiet Quitting? 

The discussion kicked off with participants sharing their definition of quiet quitting.

Chris Giglio from Zero Surge said,From what I understand, it's the act of doing the bare minimum of your contract or job.

To which host, Gardner, replied, “You may be onto something, Chris!

Dan Bigger said, “Quitting your job without leaving.”

Ruby Rusine and the Social Success Marketing said, “Quiet quitting is a growing trend among people who don't feel fulfilled in their current job. So they just do the bare minimum.

Whitney Koch from Welker said, “Quiet quitting is meeting your job requirements and *not* going beyond that.

Missy Moorefield Southern Fasteners and Supply said, “I've heard this term but am not really sure what it is.

To which Koch replied, “It was allllllllll over LinkedIn towards the end of the year. Lots of debate about it.

Felix P. Nater from Nater Associates said, “Not certain I've ever heard of this concept. Curiosity has gotten the best of me.

Brett from FreightPOP said, “Quiet quitting is when an employee starts doing the bare minimums of their job and putting in little to no effort. They don't outright quit, but they quit trying!

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc said, I have no clue. Now in the past when I was in the dating world, and I did not particularly care for a guy ... I just would not return his phone calls ever again. I quietly let him know I was not that into him. Is this similar but on a higher level.

Rebecca Prox said the Digital Marketing Pro said, Employees doing the bare minimum at their job. Unengaged employees.

To which Austin replied, “WOOT! Great answer

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell said, “I'm assuming quiet quitting means that you've given up on trying at work, not even doing the bare minimum and just waiting for someone to fire you.

Chase Bodor from Plastic Plus Technology said, ‘Quiet quitting, from what I understand, is gradual dissociation from the job you’re currently doing. This usually stems from a sense of feeling unfulfilled, unappreciated, overwhelmed and/ or just not happy with the situation.”

Koch responded, “"Gradual dissociation" - I like that, Chase! That encapsulates my understanding of quiet quitting very well.”

Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online said, often called "work to rule" here in the UK. Only doing the minimum. Getting the day done not the job. Switching off at 9:00am and switching back on at 5:00pm.

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, Quiet quitting means slacking at work because they are demotivated, pressured, stressed, etc. which can eventually lead to quitting.”

Michelle Riccetto from Brash Inc. said, “When employees slowly start “not caring”, basically they’ve checked out but haven’t quit yet.

Nater replied, “here could I bone up on this subject. Are there any books on the subject?”

Baker responded, “all the SMEs gave up writing the book on it!

Stepanov said, “Quiet quitting is an act by an employee silently slacking on their job while trying to maintain their employment until they find a new one.”

Val W from Monofrax LLC said, “Quiet quitting is refusing to go above and beyond at your job. No extra effort.

Host Gardner said, “Quiet quitting is when someone does just enough at work to not get fired. They don’t actually quit, they just check out mentally. Shockingly, a poll from Gallop found that over 50% of US workers are quiet quitters!”


What Causes Quiet Quitting

Next the discussion turned to what factors might make an employee quiet quit their work. Participants shared their thoughts

Rusine said, “These can be frustration or dissatisfaction with their work, either due to workplace culture, lack of recognition/growth opportunities, or feeling unappreciated by leadership.”

Stepanov added, “I agree with you, SSM team. Or they just don't fit into the culture you set for your company.

Baker said, “a lot of things could cause it, but one might be when their values are no longer in alignment with the organization's but they have no where to go.

Prox replied to Baker with, “Yes! Or they at least FEEL they have nowhere to go. Good one.”

Prox said, “Low morale in the workplace, lack of communication among peers, no incentive to go above and beyond.

Jasmine LaBelle from Velavu Tech replied to Prox, “Well said!

Koch also replied to Prox with, “Oooh, good call on including lack of communication and no incentive!

Rusine chimed in, “Agree! Low morale and lack of communication can be huge killers in the workplace."

Riccetto said, “I would say stress and lack of enthusiasm towards the tasks given.

Bigger said, “working for a dysfunctional company, leader, manager

Prox replied, “Dysfunction, overall, is a good answer.

Koch said, “A number of things. Burnout. Lack of engagement. Inadequate pay. Poor management. Negative company culture. Feeling unappreciated.

Moorefield said, “Burn out and not being appreciated by the higher ups are 2 things that come to my mind. We need jobs to pay our bills but we sometimes feel trapped in that particular job (instead of trying to find a new one).”

Packer said, “In the private sector it may be due to higher management not appreciating them. In the civil service/public sector it is a job requirement?

Brett said, “A few reasons why an employee will quiet quit include a lack of motivation, not feeling appreciated, and not enjoying their work environment!”

Bodor said, “Lack of feeling like a contributor can be one. There’s a lot of data (I’ll call it data, but it might just be blurbs) that show people quiet quit where they are over worked. But the same goes for people who have a high motor and want to make an impact.

Stepanov said, “It could be because of the following: -Undervalued -Toxic work environment -No opportunities for growth -They don't fit in the culture:”

Val said, “Feeling unappreciated, unnecessary, undervalued, unsupported.”

Host Gardner said, “There’s plenty of possible reasons for quiet quitting, but here are a few:

  1. Work becomes too repetitive
  2. Work feels overwhelming
  3. They feel undervalued / unappreciated at work
  4. They don’t believe in their company’s mission
  5. They’re not paid fairly”


Quiet Quitting and Employers

The discussion then covered how quiet quitting affects employers.

Moorefield said, “For people who are still motivated, they look at the quiet quitters as slackers. This causes anger and frustration.

Brett said, “It can be incredibly hard on employers because of the lack of communication. When an employee who once did excellent work starts to quiet quit, projects can start piling up and the quality of their work drops. Usually when the employer finds out, it's too late!

Host Gardner replied, “This is such a good point, that's why it's good to be on the lookout for signs...

Bigger said, “Production and communication go way way way way way down. That is before they actually quit if things do not change.

Rusine said, “It's not just about lost work, opportunity costs, or the cost of recruiting - it's also about the loss in morale. Quiet quitting leads to less engagement, more cynicism, and a decrease in productivity.”

Riccetto replied, “Well said!”

LaBelle said, ‘I feel like the main one would be lost productivity due to disruption in the team.

Giglio said, “Depending on the size of the company and that employee's job it could really hurt day to day operations and overall profits, especially if they fulfill a customer facing role.

Koch said, “Employers are likely getting less from their employees, which could be impacting their bottom line. And if someone isn't picking up the "extra" tasks the quiet quitter is no longer doing, they might be spending time & resources going through the hiring process.

Baker said, “the employers are still trying to get the job done with the resources they have and it's much less effective (or even ineffective) and frustrating.

Prox said, “Definitely affects productivity and creates lopsidedness among teams. Someone always picks up the slack.

Bodor said, “What about the employers?… - Quiet quitters that mindset greatly hurts the morale of the entire team. Not only that, but the quality and speed of work can also greatly diminish. I think that’s why 1on1s are actually really useful. Check in with ur mates!”

Packer said, “Reduced creativity Minimized productivity Clock watching Reduced energies. All this has a debilitating effect on the rest of the team creating a lackluster approach in the business. This can spill out to customers, who see more than we realize.”

Stepanov said, “It disrupts work, decreases business productivity, and costs them to look for a replacement.

Val said, “Sadly, some employers don't even notice.

Host Gardner said, “Your teammate that is quiet quitting will be less likely to produce quality work or work as quickly, so productivity takes a hit. Morale might be affected… apathy can be contagious!”


Nipping It In the Bud

The discussion turned to what employers can do to nip quiet quitting in the bud.

Prox said, “Engage with employees personally. Offer incentives (competitive wages, days off/comp time, etc.). Stay in tune with workloads. Make employees feel important.

Moorefield said, “Let employees know they (and their work) matter. Incentives. Small things can really be big things.

Host, Gardner, replied, “"small things can be big things" I love that!

Koch said, “Have managers set up to actively meet with their employees on a frequent, consistent basis. If there's an employee they suspect is quiet quitting, having an open conversation with them could be enlightening and perhaps even change that person's mind.

Brett said, “It's important for employers to do their best to encourage honest communication and feedback from their employees!

Bigger said, “Talk to them. Communication cures all. Find out what is bothering them and fix it. Or don't and let them quit or fire them.

Host, Gardner responded, “There's no substitute for communication!

Rusine said, “Fostering a culture of openness and trust, where employees feel safe to share their concerns without fear of judgment or retribution. Encouraging regular reviews and proactive conversations about employee satisfaction.

Austin said, “Empower employees more, talk to them one on one, check in from time to time and also be honest about the expectations. Employer/Employee relationships are about a 50/50 negotiation in my book.

Baker said, “Looking forward to this answer - I say "loudly fire" quiet quitters....but I'm nearly 100% confident that is not the answer.

Packer said, “Identify the individual/s Find out what the issues are Resolve, where possible. Review after time. If not resolved then replace.

Val said, “Excel at communication. Value all employees, not just certain departments. Listen to employee concerns. Practice leadership and empathy.”

Stepanov said, “I believe honest and open communication will help uncover the reason for quiet quitting. However, if they don't want to share their reasons for quitting, that's their decision. Forcing them to share their personal information can only make the situation worse.

Host Gardner said, “From the start, make sure the person you’re about to hire feels excited about the job. Check in with your other team members often and have one-on-one meetings to see how things are going for them and how they feel. It’s important to provide feedback, answer concerns, and give them room to grow by offering training and development opportunities.”

She continued, “Don’t forget to show your team that they’re valued! Show appreciation, like publicly praising their work in an email or during a meeting. Encourage them to have a good work-life balance. Give them time to recharge their batteries and keep good boundaries. And, of course: pay them fairly.”


Manager Burnout

The discussion wrapped up with what Managers can you do if they too feel burnt out at work.

Rusine said, “Make sure to take time for yourself - be it for exercise, reading or just taking a long walk. Put your energy into something that gives you joy & satisfaction. Self-care can do wonders.”

Host Gardner replied, “Same, big advocate of self care over here!

Koch said, “I'm not a manager, so I'm all ears on this one.

Prox said, “Take a mental health day. They are underrated.

Host Gardner replied, “Yes, nurture your tired brain!

Giglio said, “I think the first step is to assess why you're feeling frustrated. From there you can make a plan, whether that involves looking for new opportunities or making changes within your current job.

Bigger said, “You cannot work yourself into the ground. There needs to be a break. Take a vacation or find things outside of work that can help you clear your mind.

Riccetto said, “Communicate how you’re feeling, delegate as needed, take breaks and prioritize self care! Always have things to look forward to

Stepanov said, “Take a pause and a deep breath. If you need to take a time off, take it. Your well-being matters.

LaBelle said, “Take a break! You’re allowed to rest, you’re human.

Bodor said, “Acknowledge that feeling and what is triggering it. It's temporary - as long as you know the trigger. I had a mentor once tell me that burnout is a symptom of a "scarcity mindset" - having negative reactions to one thing bc you have another unfulfilled need.

Stepanov added, “If you feel burned out, take a break. We are all humans and get tired most of the time. That is a signal that your body needs recovery and space to recharge. If you need it, take it. It'll help you think clearly.”

Austin said, “Get the heck away from work from time to time and be a kid again.”

Host Gardner said, “Take a break, or take on a new project to keep things fresh. Take a look at some of your least favorite parts of your job and see if technology can automate anything for you. For example, Hourly.io can help you turn a day of payroll headaches into a minute of payroll bliss!”




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