Glossary
Essential terms used by HR and their meanings.

Quiet quitting


The term ‘quiet quitting’ has become popular across social media, especially on video platforms like TikTok. It is most prominent in its use by Gen Z and millennials as they discuss an alarming form of employee disengagement.

What is quiet quitting

When describing quiet quitting most people outline a similar set of behaviours that relate to disengagement and dissatisfaction with their employer or in the workplace. Often references to a lack of perceived recognition for extra efforts made during peak periods of workload, feelings of burn out, and unhappiness with their potential career prospects.

In response to these feelings, many employees begin to ‘check out’, reducing their efforts to impress and support colleagues, revising how they structure their time to build a rigid segregation of working hours and personal time.

Is quiet quitting a big problem

Yes. The behaviours associated with quiet quitting can be massively detrimental to personal wellbeing in both effected individuals and colleagues, damaging to an organisations productivity, and therefore directly impact business growth. HR teams and organisational leaders need to really start looking for signs in their workforce.

Recently, data from Gallup showed that engagement levels in the workforce in the United States have reduced for the first time since the early 2010’s. Those who described themselves as ‘actively disengaged’ rose by 3% (from 14% to 17%) while in the same period, those saying they were engaged dropped to 32%.

While quiet quitters aren't necessarily a brand new phenomenon, shifts in the economy, society and individual expectations means their number is likely growing fast.

What you can do about quiet quitting

There are of course many proactive things that HR can do to tackle quiet quitting before it becomes a problem:

  • Engage employees early – make sure employees are kept engaged with their colleagues, teams and the organisation as a whole, provide clear vision for how they are contributing to success.

  • Establish strong recognition schemes – highlighting good work and rewarding efforts that are positively impacting the organisation can help motivate the entire workforce.

  • Foster a positive culture of communication – allow people to talk openly about their job and the organisational culture, this will not only help you identify at-risk employees but also allow ideas for solutions to problems be shared and created communally. Use regular surveys to gather feedback.

  • Monitor and address workload peaks and troughs – watch out for the conditions for burn out, overworking and signs of presenteeism, these can all be warning signs. Think about the technology you use to do this.

  • Invest in wellbeing for your people – whether it is an employee assistance programme, instituting mental health days, or ensuring financial wellbeing is reflected in fair pay, make sure you are always putting a high priority on the wellbeing of the workforce.

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