Woman sitting nonchalantly in office

How To Prevent Quiet Quitting

Have you ever noticed an employee’s performance suffering a drastic decline? This might be a sign of quiet quitting.

Contrary to popular opinion, quiet quitting does not mean an employee leaves an organization quietly. Instead, it refers to an employee losing interest in their job in a way that they no longer go over and beyond to offer maximum performance in a role. They will slowly lose enthusiasm and motivation, and their performance will suffer.

Quiet quitting is a problem that plagues many businesses today. To keep this problem at bay and ensure your employees remain motivated, we have compiled a guide to preventing quiet quitting in employees. In this guide, we will walk you through what quiet quitting is and how to keep it out of your workplace.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting refers to completing the minimum requirement to get by at work. It means being passive and not active at work, only doing the tasks associated with a person’s job. In essence, quiet quitting lies somewhere between underperforming and overperforming at work.

The term ‘quiet quitting’ first became a corporate buzzword in March 2022 when a Gen-X career coach and influencer used the phrase while talking about an Insider article. The Insider article headline read, “Fed up with long hours, many employees have quietly decided to take it easy at work rather than quit their jobs.” Ever since the word first hit the internet, it has become closely associated with TikTok, and many Gen Z discussions were centered around “quiet quitting.”

Internet users constantly argue about quiet quitting, given that the term is a misnomer and does not necessarily mean quitting one’s job. However, people have now settled that quitting means only doing the necessary roles in one’s job and investing no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than necessary. 

The term has enjoyed publicity, one that is largely driven by social media and is now even seen as a trend. However trivial this term might seem on the internet, it is still a big problem in the business and employment market.

How Does Quiet Quitting Work

Quiet quitting rejects the hustle-culture mentality of climbing the corporate ladder by investing more time and effort into doing one’s job. This term represents some corporate standstill as employees are only functional, collecting salaries to do the barest minimum they can.

Quiet quitting is more than just a trend or viral phrase. It is a phenomenon, a real problem that affects many organizations in the business market. In the same year that the term first became popular, a Gallup survey was used as a metric to determine if quiet quitting is real. Gallup found in this survey that ‘quiet quitters’ make up at least 50% of America’s workforce

Quiet quitters fulfill all responsibilities of their job roles. However, they are usually unwilling to engage in activities considered ‘work citizenship behaviors’ or ideal in the workforce. This means that quiet quitters will be more unlikely to show up early, attend meetings, or come in for non-mandatory training. However, the employees will not be compelled to resign from their roles… at least, not yet.

Woman sitting nonchalantly in office
Employee tired of working

Many industry observers argue that quiet quitting was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming a trend amongst Gen Z workers. This is not surprising as the young generation of workers is the ones with more sentiment about their jobs, often choosing to satisfy their mental health needs and putting them first before their jobs. 

Admittedly, the pandemic and its aftermath might have brought high-stress levels and higher levels of uncertainty. However, many experts agree that the pandemic isn’t the only cause of quiet quitting. Quiet quitting is a problem that has its roots deeply rooted in the business world. Regardless of how many ways you cut it, quiet quitting is a problem that has adverse rippling effects on other employees in the affected organization.

So, what exactly can employers and businesses do to take care of this problem?

While there is no way to force an employee into becoming more actively engaged in their roles, employers can nudge their workers to become more interested in their responsibilities and position at work. However, to do this, employers must first understand what causes employees to quit quietly.

What Causes Quiet Quitting

An employee does not suddenly wake up one day and decide to be a quiet quitter. They are often motivated- quite ironically, seeing that they are losing motivation to work- to do so due to certain circumstances in their work life.

Although every employee is unique, and so is their reason for being a quiet quitter, some popular reasons for quiet quitting include:

  • Stress

One of the most popular reasons employees practice quiet quitting is they are stressed and find it difficult to balance their work-life responsibilities. With many problems already on their plates, they do not deem it necessary to take on more responsibilities at work.

Stress has detrimental physical and emotional effects. It drains employees, making them incapable of investing extra effort into their jobs. Some causes of stress at work include long hours, unmanageable schedules, unrealistic deadlines, heavy workloads, job security, and conflicts with other employees or bosses.

Stress often leads to anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, a drop in performance, and, ultimately, quiet quitting.

  • Lack Of Recognition

How would you feel if you consistently put in your best performance at work and did not get the recognition you think you deserve? Employees want to feel valued and appreciated at work, and not offering them these perks will cause their interest in offering maximum efforts to deplete.

Many employees admit that being heard and valued increases their morale and performance. They want to feel like a crucial part of the organization, especially since they are contributing to the growth of that organization. Not appreciating this contribution is another leading cause of quiet quitting.

Since they feel they will not be acknowledged regardless of what they do, employees will do only the barest minimum that guarantees their salary payment. This lack of gratitude and acknowledgment from bosses and managers will affect the engagement level of employees, decreasing their motivation to be a better version of their professional selves.

  • Lack of Adequate Work-Life Balance

Many workers, especially the younger generation of employees, value a good work-life balance. However, balancing a professional career and personal life is still challenging for many employees. To make things more difficult, some employers create tight work schedules that limit an employee’s time and increase work demands.

Both remote and traditional workspace employees suffer from a lack of adequate work-life balance. With no complete separation of work and life schedules, many employees feel burdened and pressured. This creates an influx of negative emotions that translates to a drop in performance at work and the subsequent lack of motivation to do more than the necessary work responsibilities.

  • Poor Leadership

Poor employee management and bad leadership make room for quiet quitting. Oppressive leadership, lack of inclusivity, presence of bias among bosses, and micromanaging employee schedules are a few factors that contribute to quiet quitting.

Leaders are charged with managing employees, and when they do so wrongly, they leave employees frustrated and uninterested in their work. Most importantly, not having the proper leadership they need will reduce employee commitment to their jobs, giving rise to quiet quitting.

  • Lack Of Career Path

Many employees are dedicated to their jobs and highly engaged if they know they are on a clear career path. They know that as they excel at their jobs, they evolve and increase their chances of ascending to a higher work position. However, if they know they will not get this chance of upward mobility in their current job, they will see no need to invest all their time and effort.

Hence, a lack of a clear career path and opportunities leads to decreased employee motivation. 

  • Disparities In Wages

Another factor that contributes to quiet quitting is the presence of wage disparities. Employees may compare their salaries with their friends and find they make much less than someone in the same field. When this happens, there is a decrease in job enthusiasm and an equal reduction in motivation. In this situation, quiet quitting is almost inevitable.

How To Prevent Quiet Quitting

Preventing quiet quitting is the first step in ensuring the creation of an engaged environment. To prevent quiet quitting in your establishment, some steps you can take include:

1. Celebrate Employees

Employee recognition is a great way to make a worker feel valued. Whether it is a quick shout-out in meetings, an ‘employee-of-the-week’ plaque hanging on the wall, or added benefits for achievements, employees want to know what it feels like to be celebrated.

A lack of recognition leeches motivation to excel at a role from employees. This is a stepping stone for quiet quitting to come into the picture.

To fight this problem and eliminate the onset of quiet quitting, always endeavor to recognize an employee’s impact on your organization. Don’t just shake their hands in private and tell them a job well done. Offer public recognition with a reward, provide promotions in roles to show you now trust them to take on more responsibilities, and provide positive reviews to boost their morale.

Remember, compensation is important. This compensation does not have to be financial, as even a little acknowledgment works wonders to make an employee more engaged and motivated to perform better.

2. Provide Fair Salaries

Don’t underpay your employees while hoping they think they are being paid fairly. After all, chances are they will discover a salary-sharing platform that will cause them to discover that people in similar positions are earning more than they are. 

Unfair salaries are one of the many reasons for high employee turnover rate. Give employees fair salaries for their roles. Additionally, offer raises, bonuses, and other monetary reward opportunities. This will eliminate the risk of a high turnover and quiet quitting due to unfair salaries.

3. Offer Workload Transparency

It is not unusual for an employee to have more responsibilities than they first did when they joined an establishment. However, the problem begins when the establishment is not upfront about the increased workload they give employees.

Increasing an employee’s workload without prior notice can lead to resentment. This, in turn, may drain an employee’s motivation for high engagement, thereby causing quiet quitting.

To prevent this, be transparent with an employee about the possibility of an increased workload, even during the recruitment process. To make up for the increased responsibilities, remember to offer benefits and perks. This will keep the employee motivated while performing their roles at work.

Additionally, remember to make taking on more responsibilities optional. Not every employee wants to or is capable of taking on more workload. Have productive conversations with your employees about their ability to increase their workload and only reach a decision favorable to them and the organization.

4. Respect Work-Life Balance

Employees are also humans and have a life outside the organization. Just because they have roles paid to play in your organization does not mean you should fully take over their lives.

Respect an employee’s work-life balance. This is critical to their mental health and success as fully functional employees. Employee work-life balance should remain a priority if you plan on retaining them and ensuring they offer nothing but peak performance. Some ways you can use work-life balance for employee retention include:

  • Set strict work timeframes and hours
  • Clearly define your company’s after-hours emergency protocol and only initiate this protocol when necessary
  • Offer generous paid time off (PTO)
  • Encourage employees to use their PTO
  • Encourage leaders and managers never to force employees to overwork

5. Don’t Micromanage Employees

The act of excessively supervising an employee is known as micromanagement.

Supervisors and managers are expected to manage their employees. However, they are supposed to do so while treating that employee as an individual who can think, act, and make decisions by themself. Micromanagement takes these abilities away, giving the employee only a limited allowance to make decisions for themselves.

One problem with micromanagement is the employee becomes excessively dependent on their supervisor. This limits the employee’s performance, taking away their ability to perform at full potential. Another problem with micromanagement is it builds resentment in the employee. The employee feels like their boss does not trust them and their abilities.

Micromanaging an employee demoralizes that employee, which in turn leads to the onset of quiet quitting.

6. Listen To Your Employees

Many employees do not begin quiet quitting by being quiet. Some are extremely vocal about the challenges they are facing at work and often give their employers the chance to make things right. However, when the employer does not listen to them, they take matters into their own hands and become inactive.

Listening to your employees is a great step to take towards preventing quiet quitting. Validate their feelings and take actions towards solving their problems. This will show them that you value their presence in the organization and prevent them from mentally checking out of their professional relationship with the organization.

7. Build Relationships With Subordinates

Sometimes, quiet quitting might be a result of an emotional disconnection from one’s bosses and the business as a whole. Building rapport and relationships with employees may be the solution to this problem.

Fill the subordinate-boss gap by getting to know your employees. Show them that you are not merely a figurehead of authority or an entity that tells them how to do their jobs. Encourage them to communicate with you whenever they want and resolve whatever issues they may bring to you.

Male and female employees sitting together
Team sharing ideas together 

8. Support Employee Well-being

A burnt-out employee is more likely to be a quiet quitter. Help your employees be more active at work by showing them you care about their mental and physical health.

Be actively involved in addressing an employee’s health needs. Emphasize physical, emotional, and mental well being by making the workplace a safe space while also encouraging employees to take time out to regroup.

9. Invest In Employee Growth

Carve a clear career path for employees and invest in their professional and personal growth. Do this by providing regular performance reviews and giving tips on how they can be a better version of themselves.

Additionally, you can encourage employees to develop their careers by offering trainings and seminars. Create opportunities for continuous learning and create optimism about advancing their careers. This will help employees remain interested in work.

Final Thoughts: Preventing Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting can be difficult to deal with. As a result, it is important not to wait until you see signs that employees may be losing interest in their work. To prevent quiet quitting and ensure your valuable employee remains an active part of your company, give them no reason to be a ‘quiet quitter.’

Preventing quiet quitting requires an active effort in ensuring employees remain motivated and enthusiastic at work. To do this, make employees feel valued. Implement compensation packages and support well-being. Most importantly, foster a community that prioritizes employee well-being. You can do all this and more by adopting the tops in our guide!

Share this post