What is Quiet Quitting?

What is Quiet Quitting?
Last Updated: July 28, 2023

"Quiet quitting" first appeared online and became a corporate buzzword in March 2022 when a Gen-X career coach and influencer named Brian Creely used the phrase when discussing an Insider article about employees "coasting" at work. The term quickly became popular on TikTok, especially among the app's younger, mostly Gen-Z user base. Since then, the idea of quiet resignation has been widely disseminated among the younger generation thanks to numerous social media videos that have amassed millions of views. Investopedia defines Quiet quitting as performing the bare minimum of one's job duties and exerting no more time, effort, or passion than is necessary.

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 50% of the US workforce is quietly leaving their jobs, meaning they are only performing the tasks required by their job descriptions. Workers are no longer hustling for employers who do not appreciate them. Instead, they are merely performing the necessary tasks while taking back control of their personal life.

​What triggers quiet quitting?

Understanding the question What is quiet quitting is one thing, but to understand the topic more, we must dive deeper and understand the root causes. Quiet quitting is typically caused by employers neglecting their employees' mental health and wellbeing, poor compensation, work-life balance, a lack of recognition, and unclear expectations. While the employees working to solve these issues are quite aware of them, leadership isn't necessarily as aware. Do you know if your staff members feel undervalued and overworked? You can miss some less visible indications that your employees are quietly quitting if you're unsure whether you're meeting their demands. Below are some reasons that might trigger quiet quitting in your employees:

Dissatisfaction with the job


Working in a profession, you love could make your duties more enjoyable than laborious. A content worker will go above the call of duty. Feeling underpaid, overworked, or underappreciated can all contribute to job dissatisfaction. One of the main reasons people quietly quit their jobs is pay disparities. A Monster poll found that 60% of employees are quietly quitting their jobs because they are not compensated enough for their work. It is not that employees don't want to undertake the extra work; the problem is that they don't feel properly rewarded for their extra efforts.


The World Health Organisation describes burnout as a syndrome caused by ongoing workplace stress that has not been effectively controlled. According to a study by the APA, burned-out workers are 2.6 times more likely to seek a new position. It's critical to realize that burnout often culminates in physiological stress symptoms that can harm an employee's health. Burnout typically begins with mild stress and despair. So, quietly quitting is a common strategy for managing burnout. In their present professions, 73% of professionals have experienced burnout, which reduces productivity and results in disengagement, according to Deloitte's Workplace Burnout Survey.

Related: 5 Strategies to prevent employee burnout in the workplace

Lack of opportunities for career growth

Employees are more prone to lose interest in their work and lose motivation if they believe they are in a dead-end position. They can begin to feel unchallenged or unfulfilled by their work and might begin to perceive it as meaningless. According to Zavvy, the top reason for leaving a job between April 2021 and April 2022, known as The Great Resignation, was a lack of career development and progress (41%). According to a study by Quartz at Project Management, Institute 71% of top-performing companies promote a culture of continuous learning, as opposed to 51% of all companies. This may have various detrimental effects, such as reduced productivity, increased turnover, and toxic working culture.

What is Quiet Quitting

Unmanageable workload

Quietly leaving a job could be a way of protesting against overwhelming workloads and excessive demands. Employees are more likely to disengage from work and leave the organization if they are consistently overworked and stressed. Many factors can contribute to an overwhelming workload for employees. For instance, the organization might be understaffed, or the workers might get unrealistic demands from superiors.

How do you know if an employee is quitting? (Signs of quiet quitting)

Not volunteering for extra work, leadership roles or responsibilities

Disengagement, which might appear as a lack of interest in participation, is one way that quiet quitting can be exhibited. Only 21% of employees, according to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace 2022 report, are actively engaged at work. This could be one of the most evident indications of quiet quitting. Working the absolute minimum means an individual isn't actively pursuing a promotion or requesting more appreciation from their management. Other warning indicators include failing to finish assigned tasks, showing no interest in long-term objectives, and refusing to take criticism.

Disassociating from the rest of the team

Team members that don't interact with one another may indicate various problems, including quiet quitting. Keeping an eye on an employee who refuses to interact with their co-workers may be worthwhile if you want to avoid creating a hostile work environment. They will not be inclined to cooperate or be team players since they only have the tendency to perform the absolute bare minimum and will only be doing what is essential to keep their jobs. Although quiet quitting is a personal choice, monitoring the situation to prevent the attitude from spreading and giving you a team full of quiet quitters is important.

Taking a more-than-usual number of sick days (Absenteeism)

When people don't feel good at work, they usually try to avoid working and going to the office as much as possible. Do you receive sick notes more often? Are some team members regularly absent? Absenteeism is one of the most prominent signs of active disengagement and quiet quitting. When employees start taking more days off or flat out not showing up when they are supposed to, it might be a sign that they have given up on doing their best.

When people do not like being at work, they try to stay away from work and the workplace. Do you get sick notes more frequently? Do some team members frequently miss work or request Paid-Time Off (PTO)? One of the most obvious indicators of both active disengagement and quiet quitting is Absenteeism. Employees may have given up on giving their best effort if they start taking more days off or failing to show up when expected.

An unexpected change to happiness right before the actual quitting

All these indicators may have led you to believe your employee was about to leave the company. They could appear tense, pessimistic, and uninterested in their work. Then all of a sudden, individuals experience a mood change and become ecstatic. They still appear to be doing only the bare minimum but are happy and distracted. Your co-worker probably already has a new job in mind. They keep their intention to quietly quit a secret until they are offered the job, at which point they gladly do so.

Related: Signs That Someone Is About to Quit their Job

What can employers do to address quiet quitting?

Build a relationship with your employees

Employees tend to feel more committed to their jobs when they perceive their managers as human individuals rather than faceless authorities. Improving the work experience is the best strategy to stop quiet quitting. Talk to your staff, get their input, and brainstorm ways to show them you care. Simple words of encouragement could suffice.

Moderate employees' workload

Ensure you are not asking your staff to take on more than they can handle. It's no wonder that a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 54% of employees say that they have considered quitting their job due to a heavy workload. Workload management is something that managers should constantly do. Employees should be rewarded if asked to step up and take on additional duties. Giving staff a break afterwards allows them to relax and refocus. Be upfront about workload expectations from the start as a manager.

Make sure to pay your employees fairly

By using salary surveys, you may ensure that your employees' pay aligns with market prices and the cost of living. Managers can also offer non-monetary rewards, incentives, and advantages and review compensation at least once a year. Maintaining a fair wage exchange over time also upholds the employer's integrity.

Related: Everything you need to know about resigning from your Job


This article thoroughly answers the question: What is quiet quitting? Some crucial elements surrounding this subject have also been addressed. Quiet quitting is a sign of extensive negative business cultures.

Related: How to quit your job professionally

Chido Madzogo
This article was written by Chido a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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