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What is Quiet Quitting and how to avoid it?


Quiet quitting” is characterized by employees who provide the bare minimum to keep their jobs, without devoting any extra effort to their duties. Popularized on TikTok in 2022, “quiet quitting” refers to employees who do their jobs well, but don’t go beyond their responsibilities or volunteer for tasks outside their job description.

The term was partly inspired by the Chinese hashtag #TangPing, which means “to lie flat” and has been used to protest the country’s culture of overwork. Another factor contributing to this trend is the pandemic, which has led many people to rethink their vision of work.

If you’re seeing a lot of “quiet quitting” in your organization, there may be something going on behind the scenes that’s causing employees to disengage. It is therefore important to determine the cause of this problem and take steps to remedy it.

Is the Quiet Quitting phenomenon real?

It’s hard to know whether quiet quitting is real or just an Internet phenomenon. Quiet quitting” has been talked about a lot on TikTok and in the mainstream media, which suggests it’s probably real.

However, it is difficult to estimate exactly to what extent this occurs. One way to start is by examining Gallup’s engagement survey data, which asks employees to classify themselves as actively engaged, unengaged or actively disengaged at work.

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.

And, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce 2022 report, only 21% of workers are engaged at work and 19% are actively disengaged. If those who are actively disengaged are more likely to complain (and actively look for new jobs), that leaves a whole global population of workers who could potentially “silently quit”.

What does silent resignation look like in practice?

When an employee practices “quiet quitting”, he stops doing more than the bare minimum for his employer and is content to do the minimum necessary to avoid being fired.

In practice, this can mean: not volunteering for additional tasks, leadership roles or responsibilities; not speaking up at meetings unless directly challenged; not replying to emails or messages outside of working hours; refusing to do tasks outside of one’s position; isolating oneself from the rest of the team and avoiding social events; taking an abnormally high number of sick days (absenteeism).

This is obviously overstating the case, we all have the right to disconnect and are not expected to respond outside of working hours, but depending on the position and responsibilities, this is sometimes expected.

It can also mean doing the bare minimum, not proposing alternatives or developments, not taking the initiative, not trying to exceed objectives (if they are reasonable), not helping colleagues when possible, interrupting a task when it’s 5:59 p.m. when it could have been completed in a few extra minutes, repeating “it’s not my job” all day long… in short, we’ve certainly all witnessed this kind of behavior.

How do you know if Quiet Quitting is happening at your workplace?

Quiet quitting is a subtle and almost invisible phenomenon. This means that it can be difficult to prove that it occurs in your workplace. However, here are a few things you might want to look out for to spot quiet quitting:

  • Employee engagement surveys: sending out regular employee engagement surveys can help you spot any widespread disengagement that could indicate the presence of silent resignation 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 silent resignation, productivity generally declines. If you’re already tracking productivity metrics, you should have an idea of your organization’s baseline situation, which can help you spot silent resignation as it happens.
  • The company’s bottom line: in extreme cases, too many disengaged employees can impact a company’s profitability. If your company is experiencing an unexplained drop in profits, silent resignation is one of many possible causes to consider.
  • Internal promotions:people who resign silently are generally not chosen for promotions or new opportunities, as they are not felt to be making the extra effort required. Tracking who gets promoted (and who doesn’t) can help you spot employees who may be quietly quitting without you even realizing it.
  • Feelings: generally, employers know when employees are indulging in silent resignation based on a simple feeling that something isn’t right. If you feel that one of your employees doesn’t seem like himself, it might be useful to talk to him.

What causes quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting” in business refers to a situation in which an employee quietly expresses demotivation or dissatisfaction at work, without explicitly quitting. Instead of leaving the company formally, employees adopt passive behaviors, become less productive, disengage or gradually isolate themselves. This form of disengagement can be difficult for managers and colleagues to detect, as there is no direct declaration of intent to leave.

Several factors can contribute to the phenomenon of “quiet quitting” in the workplace:

  1. Lack of recognition:When employees feel that their efforts are not recognized or rewarded, they can feel undervalued and devalued. Lack of recognition can reduce motivation and lead to gradual disengagement.
  2. 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.
  3. Poor communication:Ineffective or non-existent communication between employees and management can lead to misunderstandings, frustrations and feelings of neglect, which can lead to disengagement.
  4. Lack of development opportunities: Employees are often looking to advance 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.
  5. Work overload: An excessive and continuous workload can lead to burnout. Employees can then lose their enthusiasm and commitment to their jobs.
  6. Interpersonal conflicts: Unresolved conflicts with colleagues or superiors can create a toxic work environment, driving employees to disengage to avoid stress and tension.
  7. Lack of autonomy:When employees feel constantly controlled and denied the opportunity to make important decisions, they can feel a lack of motivation and responsibility.
  8. Limited career prospects : When employees feel their careers are blocked within the company due to an inadequate promotion policy or unfavorable management practices, they may seek opportunities elsewhere without explicitly informing their current employer.
  9. Organizational instability: When the company goes through periods of change, restructuring or uncertainty, employees may feel anxious about their future within the company, leading to gradual disengagement.

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

Here is an infographic produced by the madmagz according to an LLC study conducted in the USA.

3 ways for HR to deal with the Quiet Quitting phenomenon

While the phenomenon of quiet quitting is a concern and can have a significant impact on your organization’s productivity, there are a few actions that human resources and management teams can take to mitigate the problem. Here are a few suggestions to try:

1. Start by focusing on managerial commitment

According to Gallup, only one in three managers is committed to their work. Since managers are the ones in daily contact with employees, tackling this problem is essential to prevent disengagement spreading throughout the organization. One important step companies can take is to retrain managers to work effectively in a remote or hybrid environment. It’s also important to ensure that managers are sufficiently trained to help employees reduce stress and burnout, otherwise it could lead to silent resignation in the future.

2. Create a sense of purpose

One of the main factors behind “quiet quitting” is employees’ feeling that their work has no purpose or objective. To remedy this (or avoid it altogether), it’s essential to create a corporate culture where every employee understands the reasons behind his or her role. There are many ways to achieve this, such as holding regular general meetings or town hall meetings to share updates, or distributing internal communications focused on the company’s mission and core values. The important thing is to ensure that everyone understands how their work contributes to the goals of the organization as a whole.

3. Recognize and reward effort and achievement

Another key factor that can lead to quiet quitting is when employees don’t feel recognized for their work. This means that if you want to avoid “quiet quitting”, you need to make sure you regularly recognize and reward your employees’ good work. How this manifests itself can vary from one organization to another. For example, you could decide to implement a comprehensive employee recognition program – which, according to Deloitte, can increase engagement, productivity and performance by 14%. However, it can be even simpler: according to another Deloitte survey, three quarters of employees would be satisfied with a simple “thank you” for their daily efforts. When was the last time you congratulated or thanked an employee or a member of your team for their work?

We talk about quiet quitting, but sometimes it comes from the employer’s side, quiet firing.

What is a silent dismissal?

Quiet firing” is another buzzword that’s been around a lot lately, but it describes something quite different from “quiet quitting”. Quiet firing” is a management practice in which a manager or supervisor (more or less) subtly attempts 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. As we say in the jargon, “to put in the cupboard”.

It’s not a practice to be proud of, and it shouldn’t happen in healthy work environments. However, this is unfortunately quite common when employers do not want to dismiss employees directly and are forced to provide them with severance pay, for example.

Avoid silent departures by being a good employer

Here’s a hard truth to hear: some employers who think they have a silent departure problem actually have a work overload problem.

If your employees are always expected to answer messages after hours, take on tasks outside their job description even when their schedule is busy, and stay late every night to prove their commitment, your expectations may simply be too high.

Quiet quitting is when you, as the employer, pave the way.

Every employee needs to (really) disconnect from work when they go home – and the best managers should encourage this. Constantly ignoring your employees’ boundaries by asking them to stay late, calling them after hours or expecting them to take on extra tasks without extra pay could lead them to disengage from their role.

When you respect boundaries and show your employees that you appreciate the work they do, they are much more likely to go above and beyond when necessary – instead of simply losing interest in their position and the company as a whole.

Job descriptions, individual and group interviewsThe employer’s role is also to ensure that the workforce has everything it needs to carry out its tasks to the best of its ability, but also that it has no obstacles in its way.

Any company is a team.


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