The concept of “quiet quitting” is one that has been gaining momentum in recent weeks. But what does it mean and should you be worried?

Quiet quitting is when an employee becomes disengaged from their work and does the bare minimum to get by. Often they will carry out the work they’re contractually obliged to do and nothing more.  

Quiet quitting can take numerous forms such as:

  • Arriving late or leaving early
  • Reduced productivity
  • Non-attendance at meetings
  • Not contributing to team projects
  • Switching off phones and muting notifications as soon as they leave the office  

What are the causes of quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting may occur when an employee feels undervalued in the workplace or when they are struggling with their work/life balance. Reducing focus on work may help them to feel more in control and provide some breathing space whilst they consider their options. They may be avoiding the need to resign and find a new job, or perhaps treading water while they look for a new job.

Motivation and engagement fluctuate naturally over time and can change in response to variations in both work and personal factors. Changes in workload, team dynamics, social stresses and personal issues can all have an impact. In particular changed working habits following the covid pandemic and the current cost of living crisis can be common drivers. The change of pace experienced by many workers during the covid pandemic has given many pause reflect and reassess their priorities.

Employees are most motivated when the company culture and values matches with their own and their work provides purpose and meaning. But what if the daily commute is no longer palatable, colleagues are an irritation and the work is no longer meaningful? Many will hesitate to move on to pastures new if the need for security and stability and a regular income is their priority. Hence they may continue to come in to work, complete the basic requirements of the job and continue to pick up their regular pay cheque.

How can you identify quiet quitting?

If you are maintaining good communication with your employees it should be fairly simple to identify quiet quitters in your team.

  • Have you noticed individuals putting in less effort than usual?
  • Are they disengaged from the rest of the team?
  • Have you noticed a dip in their usual standards?

What can you do about it?

Take a positive approach and make attempts to address the issue informally in the first instance. Meet with the employee to find out exactly what is happening and how they are feeling. Try to find out what is making them feel undervalued or demotivated and talk to them about what could be done to fix the issue.  

  • Ensure workloads and working patterns are appropriate
  • Consider ways to achieve flexible working (alongside of the formal request process)
  • Make sure there are clear boundaries in place
  • Focus on mental health and wellbeing
  • Maintain communication – ask your team what they need, you may be surprised by the answers

Employees are the cornerstone to your business and the difference between engaged and disengaged team members can make the difference between success and failure. It is incredible how quickly a feeling of discontent can spread to affect the rest of the team. Taking time to really value your employees, listening to what they need and fostering a culture of mutual respect and appreciation will minimise the risks of quiet quitting. More importantly it will help you to build a motivated workforce that rewards you with innovation, productivity and loyalty.

Contact us for more help and practical solutions.