Quiet Quitting

by Alyssa Hill, SHRM-CP, Manager, Human Resources Solutions
Published September 2, 2022

What is Quiet Quitting?

Since the end of July, the term “Quiet Quitting” has been bouncing around the airwaves and has been very apparent on social media.  Quiet Quitting is not literally walking off the job or “no-call-no-showing” without saying anything (which, unfortunately, has increased over the past several years). A better definition for Quiet Quitting revolves around an employee doing only what is needed to keep a job, without necessarily going “above and beyond.” The employees do the job they are paid to do in the time frame they are paid to do it and nothing more.


Many people who practice Quiet Quitting say that it promotes a better work-life balance and allows them to better prioritize personal and home time. They want to get away from the “live to work” mentality where they bend over backwards for a job who they feel does not appreciate them for the “extra” work. For some employees, that may mean they will be less likely to volunteer for overtime or to cross-train in other departments. There may also be a decrease in productivity or a withdrawn attitude from certain employees. These attitudes may also spread to other employees, where they might be discouraged by their coworkers’ attitudes or perceived lack of effort.


Quiet Quitting is not the same as disengagement, although a quiet quitter may be (or may become) disengaged. Traditionally, a disengaged employee might not be delivering their best work or they stay away from work entirely. Quiet Quitting is not avoiding work or intentionally doing a bad job, it is knowingly opting to do only the minimum required.


How do employers address Quiet Quitters?

“Quiet Quitters” claim there is nothing to be addressed – employees are doing exactly the work they are paid for (i.e., they are meeting the minimum standards and communicated expectations) – there should not be an issue with that.  Others see Quiet Quitting is a gateway into a culture of disengagement, unexceptional complacency, and stagnant growth.


Some problems that are suspected to cause Quiet Quitting are:

-        The COVID-19 pandemic – people are tired/need a break and they are reassessing the priorities in their life

-        Lack of growth opportunities and interesting/engaging work

-        Unclear expectations from management

-        Lack of incentive for high performance/going “above and beyond”


If employers can recognize these problems and take efforts to improve, there is a likelihood that there will not be a need for Quiet Quitting in their organization. The best way for an employer to tackle this starts with an evaluation of the organization. TEA can help with that! TEA has had decades of experience conducting Engagement Surveys (which includes evaluating the “discretionary effort” employees are willing to share) and include a detailed evaluation of the results with actionable items. If your organization is interested in conducting an Engagement Survey, please contact TEA at 616-698-1167 or tea@teagr.org.