Quiet quitting – what is it, and how should employers respond?


Quiet quitting – what is it, and how should employers respond?

Posted 15 December 2022

‘Quiet quitting’ is a relatively new term for the not-so-new concept of employee disengagement. This time around it refers to the growing trend of employees putting in the minimum of what their job requires. They show dissatisfaction through diminished enthusiasm, reduced effort, and a detached attitude to work.

Once dedicated employees produce mediocre work, miss deadlines, and no longer answer emails outside of contracted hours. The signs can be subtle and easily conflated with other work-related issues, making it challenging for employers to address.

Why do employees ‘quiet quit?

Extended time for reflection during and after the pandemic led to many workers leaving their careers to fulfil renewed life ambitions. The current talent shortage also means alternative employment is very accessible, plus, many are overwhelmed with the belief they must work around the clock for a successful career.

Workplaces play a role too, with some employees finding a discordance between positive mental health and their experiences at work. Excessive workload, poor managerial support, and a lack of flexible hours can also contribute to disenchanted employees. Other reasons for a quiet quit may be the absence of career progression opportunities and workplace benefits, while others feel underpaid and undervalued.

What you can do to prevent quiet quitting

Employers can move towards a more engaged and industrious workplace by doing the following:

·        Creating a culture that supports well-being

Well-being is often central to why people quiet quit. Introducing well-being policies and mental health training as part of in-house learning or induction programmes demonstrate a commitment to the happiness of your workforce. Practical support such as encouraging employees to take walks at lunchtime, organising socials and sharing information on mindfulness and nutrition helps promote a positive work environment too.

·        Improving recognition

As well as receiving fair pay, employees also need to feel recognised for their efforts. Introducing or improving reward programmes can help keep motivation alive. Ask yourself if existing rewards are giving employees the incentive they truly need. Be authentic with ad hoc recognition too by informally acknowledging achievements.

·        Avoiding micromanaging

Autonomy can be the greatest gift you give to an employee. Allow them to manage their workload and set their own ambitious yet achievable objectives. Facilitate open discussions on what an employee really enjoys about their work and incorporate this into tasks and projects where possible.


·        Providing resources and tools

If an employee has expressed the need for more support, ensure this is acted upon. Perhaps they are unhappy with a frustrating element of a daily task that can be fixed with a more streamlined process or access to different applications or software. Actively listening and responding accordingly will pay dividends for a more invested employee.


·        Offering flexible working


Flexible work patterns that fit in with an employee’s homelife can relieve stress, reduce commuting times, minimise sick leave, and provide a sense of freedom and control. Assess if you can reduce working hours, switch up shifts or introduce work from home policies for employees to feel better understood and appreciated.


To sum it up

While quiet quitting poses a threat to workplace productivity, deep diving into what employees want and need and responding effectively means going the extra mile at work will come naturally to your workforce.


As a business, have you experienced the phenomenon that is quiet quitting? How have you addressed the issue – or have you? At a time when attracting and retaining talent has never been harder, recruitment agencies like White Horse can help hiring managers to both tackle and overcome many of the talent hurdles they encounter. Contact us today.

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