Quiet Quitting: How to avoid the silent quitting trend ?

Découvrez notre guide complet sur le quiet quitting et comment l’éviter


“Quiet quitting” refers to the bare minimum that a company’s employees do to keep their jobs, without putting any extra effort into their duties. This recent trend has intensified in the world of work since the pandemic, with a change observed in the relationship between work and productivity.

Do you see a lot of quiet quitting in your organisation? A number of factors may explain this trend towards employee disengagement. To prevent your company’s employees from “quiet quit”, it is essential to understand what this means, why it happens and what can be done about it.

To help you understand quiet quitting, Intuition Software explains everything you need to know about it:

Quiet quit has increased since the pandemic

Quiet Quitting in a nutshell:

  • Quiet quitting is the practice of employees withdrawing from their jobs, making do with the minimum;
  • It can take different forms: lack of initiative, refusal of tasks, isolation, etc;
  • It can be caused by a lack of recognition or opportunities, overwork, etc;
  • Quiet quitters are generally young employees;
  • There are various strategies for avoiding quiet quitting.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting” is a trend originating in the United States, which refers to employees who are no longer involved in their company, content to do the bare minimum to keep their job. Also known as quiet quit or silent quitting.

Popularised on TikTok in 2022, the term quiet-quitting was partly inspired by the Chinese hashtag #TangPing. The latter, meaning “to lie flat”, was used to protest against the country’s culture of overwork.

The pandemic has also contributed to the concept of silent quitting by re-evaluating the importance of mental health. This has led many people to rethink their view of work and productivity, and to strike a better work-life balance.

Quiet quitting is the phase that generally follows brown out, which refers to demotivated employees who show no outward sign of disengagement.

What is quiet quitting in practice?

In practice, quiet quitting refers to employees who do their job properly but do not go beyond their responsibilities or job description. This can manifest itself in different ways:

  • Avoid volunteering for additional tasks, leadership roles or additional responsibilities;
  • Avoid taking the floor at meetings, unless you are directly challenged;
  • Refrain from replying to e-mails or messages outside working hours;
  • Refusing to do tasks that are not part of your job;
  • Not showing initiative;
  • Isolating yourself from the rest of the team, avoiding social events and mutual support between colleagues;
  • Taking an abnormally high number of sick days (absenteeism);

Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration of the quiet quitting phenomenon: we all have the right to disconnect and are not supposed to answer the phone outside of working hours. However, depending on the position and responsibilities, this is sometimes expected on the job market.

What is the difference between quiet quitting and quiet firing?

Quiet firing”, another fashionable term, is a different practice from quiet quitting, which is a management practice in which a manager or supervisor tries to encourage an employee to resign from his or her job.

This is done by assigning them undesirable work, reducing their working hours or depriving them of opportunities for advancement. While this dubious practice does not occur in healthy working environments, quiet firing is unfortunately quite common, particularly when employers want to avoid paying redundancy pay to an employee.

What are the causes of silent resignation?

A number of factors can contribute to the phenomenon of quiet quitting in the workplace, such as a lack of recognition, work overload, poor communication or interpersonal conflicts, a lack of autonomy or professional development, or quite simply personal problems :

  • Lack of recognition: when employees feel that their efforts are not recognised or rewarded, they can feel undervalued and devalued. The lack of recognition can reduce their motivation and lead them to gradually disengage by practising quiet quitting.
  • Low sense of belonging: when employees don’t feel connected to the company culture or their team, they can become indifferent and less inclined to invest themselves in their work.
  • Poor communication:ineffective or non-existent communication between employees and management can lead to misunderstandings, frustrations and feelings of neglect, which can lead to silent resignation.
  • Lack of development opportunities: employees are often looking to progress in their careers and develop their skills. When they don’t find opportunities for learning and growth within the company, they can lose their motivation and commitment and turn to quiet quitting.
  • Work overload: an excessive and continuous workload can lead to burnout. Employees can then lose their enthusiasm and become quiet quitters.
  • Interpersonal conflicts: unresolved conflicts with colleagues or line managers can create a toxic working environment, causing employees to disengage to avoid stress and tension.
  • Lack of autonomy: when employees feel constantly controlled and are not given the opportunity to make important decisions, they can feel a lack of motivation and responsibility driving quiet quit.
  • Limited career prospects : when employees feel that their career is blocked within the company due to an inadequate promotion policy or unfavourable management practices, they may seek opportunities elsewhere without explicitly informing their current employer.
  • Organisational instability: when the company goes through periods of change, restructuring or uncertainty, employees may feel anxious about their future within the company, leading to progressive silent quitting.
  • Personal problems: an employee may also be quiet-quitting because of personal, family or other problems.

Here’s an infographic on the impact of quiet quitting produced by the madmagz according to an LLC study conducted in the USA.

Quiet quitting has an impact on the company and its employees

Who are the quiet quitters?

Quiet quitters are generally young people who don’t fit in with their company and feel that it doesn’t offer them what they need, such as a good work-life balance or interesting career opportunities.

According to Gallup, quiet quitters have a lot in common with ‘unengaged’ employees: they may not be actively disengaged, but they are psychologically detached from the workplace and not working to their full potential.

The Gallup report also states that, on the state of the global workforce in 2022, only 21% of workers are engaged at work and 19% are actively disengaged. If those who are actively disengaged are more likely to be actively looking for new jobs, this leaves a large pool of workers who could potentially be quiet quitters.

Quiet quitters are mostly young

How do you measure quiet quitting at work?

Quiet quitting is a subtle and almost invisible phenomenon, as employees express their demotivation or professional dissatisfaction in a discreet manner, without explicitly resigning. However, there are a few things that can help you spot a silent resignation:

  • Employee engagement surveys,
  • Productivity measures
  • The company’s financial results;
  • Internal promotions,
  • General feeling

Let’s take a look at these quiet quit evaluation measures:

  • Employee engagement surveys: they can help you spot any widespread disengagement that could indicate quiet quitting in your workplace. Bear in mind, however, that those who are not engaged at work are less likely to complete surveys, so the results may be biased.
  • Productivity measures:when employees engage in quiet quitting, productivity generally decreases. If you are already tracking productivity measures, you should have an idea of your organisation’s baseline situation, which can help you spot the quiet quitter(s) more quickly.
  • The company’s financial results: in extreme cases, too many disengaged employees can have an impact on a company’s profitability. If your company is experiencing an unexplained drop in profits, quiet quitting is one of the many possible causes to look into.
  • Internal promotions: the quiet quit may be linked to the refusal of a promotion, because it is felt that a particular employee is not making the extra effort necessary to be promoted. Keeping track of who receives promotions and who doesn’t can help you spot quiet-quitting. To do this, you can use a tool like the HRIS.
  • The feeling: generally, you can listen to your feeling to determine whether an employee quiet quits or comes close. If you have the feeling that one of your employees doesn’t seem to be themselves, it could be useful to talk to them so that they don’t slip into quiet quitting.
Quitting quietly is a concept that reflects the changes taking place in the world of work

What strategies can be put in place to avoid silent resignation?

It is important for managers to be aware of the signs of disengagement among their employees so that they can take proactive measures to support and retain them. Open communication, recognition of work accomplished, professional development and the creation of a positive working environment are all ways of preventing “quiet quitting” and fostering a high level of commitment within the company.

What’s more, you can limit quiet quitting by recruiting efficiently and appropriately using HR tools such as the scorecard.

So, while the phenomenon of quietly quitting is worrying and can have a significant impact on your organisation’s productivity, there are a few things that HR and management teams can do to mitigate the problem:

  • Focusing on the commitment of managers,
  • Créer un sentiment de but,
  • Recognising and rewarding efforts and achievements,
  • Review the workload.
  1. Start by focusing on manager commitment

According to Gallup, only one in three managers is committed to their work. Yet they are in daily contact with employees, so it is essential to tackle this problem to prevent disengagement spreading throughout the organisation and quiet quitting becoming the norm.

Companies need to re-train managers to work effectively in a remote or hybrid environment. In addition, they must be able to help employees reduce stress and burnout, otherwise this could lead to quiet quitting in the future.

  1. Create a sense of purpose

One of the main factors in quiet quitting is the absence of meaning, where employees feel that their work has no purpose or objective. To remedy this, it is essential to create a corporate culture where every employee understands how their work contributes to the objectives of the organisation as a whole.

There are many ways of achieving this, such as organising regular general or public meetings to share updates, or distributing internal communications focused on the company’s mission and core values.

  1. Recognising and rewarding effort and achievement

Lack of recognition at work can lead to quiet quitting. You need to make sure you recognise and reward good work by your employees. There are several ways of doing this:

  • The introduction of a comprehensive employee recognition programme. According to Deloitte, this can increase engagement, productivity and performance by 14% and reduce quiet quitting.
  • A simple “thank you”: another Deloitte survey shows that three quarters of employees would be satisfied with a simple “thank you” for their daily efforts.
  1. Review the workload

Some employers think they have a silent quitting problem, but in reality they have a work overload problem. Every employee needs to disconnect from work when they go home and you must not exceed these limits at the risk of pushing your employees into quiet quitting.

Asking your staff to stay late, calling them after hours or expecting them to take on extra tasks without extra pay could lead to them quiet quit.

When you respect boundaries and show your employees that you appreciate the work they do, they are much more likely to go the extra mile when necessary and avoid quiet quitting. Job descriptions, individual and group interviews, performance monitoring, the employer’s role is also to ensure that its workforce has everything it needs to carry out its tasks successfully.

Quiet quitting is a trendy phenomenon in the world of work, which can reveal certain shortcomings in your company or a paradigm shift in the world of work. Intuition Software gives you all the tools you need to identify and avoid quiet quits.

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