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What is Quiet Quitting?

October 21, 2022


October 21, 2022

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“Quiet Quitting” is a buzzword flooding LinkedIn and news outlets across the internet. You might be wondering what all the hype is about and why it has gained all of this attention so quickly. Well, according to John Hopkins University, under any definition, quiet quitting means remaining in one’s workplace while not actively going above and beyond.  It’s a foundational debate for those who call disengaged employees “quitters” in one corner, and those who believe employees are only paid to do their jobs in the other corner.

Who is Quiet Quitting?

This trend can affect anyone, as it is directly linked to the engagement of employees in the workplace. Gallup finds a decline in engagement and employer satisfaction among remote Gen Z and younger millennials — those below age 35.

This is a significant change from pre-pandemic years. Since the pandemic, younger workers have declined significantly in feeling cared about and having opportunities to develop — primarily from their manager.

Another study found that younger generations have already bought into this phenomenon. The study, conducted by Axios and The Generation Lab, found that 82% of Gen Z and Millennial workers say that doing the minimum required for their job [commonly referred to being disengaged] appeals to them. The study continues to explain that their motivators in life are “fun, family, and mental health.”

Although the term is gaining popularity, the concept behind quiet quitting is not new. As traumatic events cycle through our economy, workers are forced to re-evaluate priorities. Similar to the period after 9/11 and through the 2008 recession, in this post pandemic state our workforce is looking in the mirror and trying to decide what matters. As the Gallup and Axios study revealed, employees want connection, development, family and free time. This is especially true now that work is remote with most companies and freelancing opportunities (which allow people to create their own hours) are on the rise.

So, What Can You Do to Combat This?

Even though it is not a new concept, it feels new to younger workers. Employers must respond through support for wellbeing, encouraging flexibility in work schedules and offering time off, especially during key moments throughout the year. Partnering with

Employee Assistance Programs may also aid staff as they prioritize their mental and familial health over working long hours.

Additionally, employers can encourage productivity through showing their investment into their staff. This can be accomplished though career development tools, leadership training, and encouraging open and transparent communication. Employees value knowledge and understanding their path to growth.  Opening the door to continued improvement and development opportunities shows them an actively engaged commitment to their skills and time with the organization.  

Employers can’t ignore the data – workers are focused on family and mental health more than going above and beyond to be a star player for the company. The Gallup poll  mentioned above shows nearly 50% of Americans — and probably more — are “quiet quitting” while on the job.  In addition, Gallup said in the second quarter of 2022, the number of engaged workers remained at 32% but the number of disengaged workers increased to 18%, making the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees at 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade.

In review, to encourage active productivity, show support to your employees with a flexible work environment and a comprehensive benefit package that encourages mental health options. Look into adding internal career development options for growth and leadership trainings so each team member understands the investment made into their future. Finally, always practice open communication to encourage connection, especially in a remote environment.

Quiet Quitting has been around for generations and has affects to both the employee and employer – it influences The Great Resignation, and it reduces productivity. It can also bring down the morale, effect retention and impact expenses to cover temp labor, training, talent acquisition and more. However just as the economy survived the other strides, it will survive this new wave. Employers should continue to focus on what matters, balancing people and policy which will ultimately foster an environment and culture of support.

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