What Is Quiet Quitting and What Can Can You Do About It?

Will Cotter, Contributor
Monday, January 2, 2023
What Is Quiet Quitting and What Can Can You Do About It?

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Are your employees as enthusiastic now as they were on their first day? Do they still go above and beyond expectations, or are they doing just enough to keep from getting fired1? If so, what can you do about it?

Chances are, they're already quiet quitting, the viral trend exhibited by many frustrated workers who want out but can't afford to lose their jobs. In this article, Will Cotter, a seasoned entrepreneur who owns the professional home cleaning company DeluxeMaid2, shares his perspectives about quiet quitting — why it's happening and what you can do about it.

What is quiet quitting?

Like many trends nowadays, quiet quitting was born on the short-form video-sharing platform Tiktok. It offers a tempting course of inaction to employees who've had enough of working a seemingly endless string of long shifts or dealing with an unfair workload.

Basically, with quiet quitting, you're still doing everything your job requires, but just enough that you don't get fired. One manifestation of this is the employee may stop volunteering to take on new projects or no longer offers new ideas. That kind of silence can be deafening if you have previously relied on their innovation or attention on how to improve the efficiency of their position.

Quiet quitting has since become viral and controversial, with many differing opinions about it. Some argue that it's only a fancy cover-up for laziness or unproductiveness. However, Brian Creely, a career coach, YouTuber, and one of the first content creators who talked about quiet quitting, thinks otherwise.

"Quiet quitting is about restoring a healthy balance in your career and work. In other words, you're doing exactly what you're paid to do and establishing firm boundaries."3

Creely's perspective is just one of many. Some people argue that quiet quitting is a privilege not for everyone. For instance, "The HR Queen" posted a video4 warning minorities against the possible pitfalls of quiet quitting. According to her...

"Unfortunately, in corporate America, minorities are held to a different standard. We are looked at differently, there's unconscious bias still, and so we have to go above and beyond to be successful. We can't risk being looked as at 'not performing.' "

What are common culprits of quiet quitting?

Trust issues — Company politics that affect how promotions and recognitions are decided. Tenure or hard-working company members can feel demotivated when they see their efforts and loyalty go unnoticed while others have it easy.

Pay cuts and threats of layoffs — There may be a huge gap between expectations and compensation. Another possible culprit is an atmosphere that makes the employee fear they have no job security.

Lack of employee support — If employees are left on their own to fend for themselves, or they feel that management doesn't care or at least listens after numerous attempts to reach out about specific concerns.

Unclear or shifting roles and responsibilities — If employees sense that they are suddenly taking on more assignments and projects than they initially signed up for, they'll see this as a sign that they're being taken advantage of.

How to effectively address quiet quitting

If you've spotted some tell-tale signs of quiet quitting from your team, you've got some serious work to do. This phenomenon is often triggered and perpetuated by a toxic company culture. Think of quiet quitting as a silent protest against everything your employees are unhappy about.

As an effective leader5 or manager, here are some ways you can prevent your employees from considering quiet quitting on you.

  1. Foster a dynamic work environment that puts a premium on healthy work-life balance. Establish firm boundaries, like not calling or sending work messages during their time off.
  2. Provide competitive compensation and benefits packages to motivate your employees to strive for the best. Always make their extra work worth it.
  3. Be fully transparent about how promotions can be achieved within the organization and be consistent. Offer different career pathways for employee growth and happiness6.
  4. Maintain open communication with your employees and encourage them to speak up whenever they feel overwhelmed with their workload and expectations set against them. Never make an employee feel like they are being punished for speaking up.
  5. Optimize processes to make it easier for your employees to take time off and make sure no one vilifies them if they do so.
  6. Create a fun and friendly company culture where everyone feels valued, appreciated, and included.
  7. Be generous with praise and compensatory rewards. Celebrate small wins in the team to make sure everyone's hard work is appropriately recognized and incentivized.

Referenced Links

1. erep.com/blog/a-story-of-disengagement/

2. Deluxemaid.com

3. Insider.com/tiktok-coined-the-term-quiet-quitting-now-its-turned-against-it-2022-9

4. Tiktok.com/@_thehrqueen/

5. erep.com/blog/the-secret-skill-of-effective-leaders/

6. erep.com/blog/workplace-happiness-and-engagement-trends/

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Will Cotter

Will Cotter


Will Cotter is a digital entrepreneur and owner of DeluxeMaid, a professional home cleaning company based in Indianapolis, which he runs remotely from Ireland. His favorite perk of running a fully remote business is having the freedom to pack his bags, book a flight, and travel the world spontaneously.

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