Quiet Quitting: What It Is and Three Ways You Can Address It

Quiet quitting is not a new phenomenon, but these days, it’s getting plenty of attention! But what exactly is quiet quitting? And how can you identify and address it before it becomes a serious problem?

As the Great Resignation sweeps across companies, employees are changing jobs in record numbers. But what about the employees who remain? For many, the combination of stressful work, long hours, and ‘always on’ availability has taken its toll. The response is ‘quiet quitting’: doing exactly what is required of your job, but nothing more; working your required hours, but not a minute longer; and mentally disengaging from your job.

Unfortunately, quiet quitting hurts employees as much as it hurts their companies. For those who have ‘quietly quit’ at work, this can lead to a lack of motivation, missed opportunities for developing skills, and a disconnect from fellow team members. On the flip side, quiet quitting can be beneficial when done right! Finding the right balance at work gives employees a chance to focus on their personal lives, families and hobbies. They can recover from burnout, refocus their energy, and come to work feeling refreshed. Here are three ways to approach quiet quitting for a positive outcome.

Communicate and Engage

Find ways to have honest conversations with employees such as anonymous surveys, small team meetings, or periodic one-on-ones. These engagements can focus on things like an employee’s workload, their professional development opportunities and their career path, and any frustrations or challenges they feel at work. If you can approach these sessions in a safe space with an open mind, you may be surprised by what you learn. Most importantly, come away with actionable next steps or a plan to make improvements where possible.

Establish Expectations

Does this sound familiar? Employees working late nights and weekends, answering emails at all hours, and juggling too many projects or deadlines? You can help employees find better balance at work by setting expectations. For example, what are the hours when employees are supposed to be ‘on call’ and available for meetings? What is the expected turnaround time to respond to an email or other request? Are employees in all time zones being treated equally, or are certain employees having to join early meetings or miss lunch to accommodate meeting times in other regions? And finally, are employees using their PTO to take enough time off from work? Discuss, develop, and share these guidelines with your teams so everyone has the same understanding of what’s expected of them.

Celebrate Success

There are few things more frustrating than seeing your own hard work go unrecognized. Recognition for a job well done can help people feel appreciated and most importantly, make them feel like their efforts matter. There are fun ways to increase recognition, from informal announcements and kudos to team bonus programs. But recognition can also take the form of promotions, new job titles and increased responsibilities, or new opportunities. As you develop recognition programs, think outside the box and communicate with employees to learn what motivates them and excites them about their work.

While you can’t always tell who is contemplating quiet quitting and who has already ‘checked out’, you can take steps to address it. In the long run, proactively dealing with quiet quitting can improve the workplace for everyone.