What Is Quiet Quitting: Unspoken Signals Of Job Dissatisfaction

‘Quiet quitting’ is an increasingly common phenomenon in the modern workplace, where employees leave their jobs without informing their employers or coworkers.

 Leaders need to understand this trend and know how to respond to it. Here, we will explore what ‘quiet quitting’ is, why it is happening, and how leaders should respond when faced with it. We will also provide helpful tips for leaders to prevent ‘quiet quitting’ in their organization. 

Have you ever noticed an employee who suddenly stopped coming to work but never told their supervisor that they were quitting? This phenomenon, known as “quiet quitting”, is surprisingly common and can be incredibly disruptive for businesses. 

We’ll also discuss ways to help prevent quiet quitting in the future. With the right strategies in place, you can keep your team engaged and reduce the amount of turnover in your organization.

What is Quiet Quitting?

An employee quitting quietly refers to leaving their job without giving notice or other formal announcements. It involves a worker disappearing from work one day without explanation or farewells. 

  • This behavior can have severe repercussions for an organization, including disruption of operations, decreased morale, and overall productivity. 
  • It is essential for leaders to understand the causes of this kind of behavior and to take steps to prevent it from occurring.
  • There are many potential causes of quiet quitting. It could be due to unhappiness with the job or workplace environment, a lack of recognition or appreciation, or a feeling that the job is no longer a good fit. 
  • Sometimes, it may be related to mental health issues or personal reasons beyond the employer’s control. Regardless, employers must know this phenomenon and how it affects their organization.

How Quiet Quitting Works

Quiet quitting is an emotional method in which employees withdraw from their jobs while continuing to meet the bare minimum of their responsibilities.

They have not physically quit or resigned from their positions; however, they have psychologically checked out and are not putting up their best efforts, which is terrible for both the individual and the organization.

This is how Quiet Quitting usually works:

⤷ Initial Discontent: It starts with employee dissatisfaction due to reasons like lack of growth, poor management, or feeling undervalued.

⤷ Disengagement: The discontent leads to gradual disengagement, with the employee doing the bare minimum at work.

⤷ Symptoms: Signs of disengagement include reduced productivity, less cooperation, declining punctuality, and a lack of interest in professional growth.

⤷ Organizational Impact: This behavior can result in lower overall productivity, decreased morale, and potentially damaging workplace culture.

⤷ Employer’s Response: If identified, employers might try to re-engage the employee through feedback, advancement opportunities, or improved workplace conditions.

⤷ Outcomes: The disengaged employee may continue in this state, formally quit, or be successfully re-engaged, leading to renewed commitment and productivity.

The Consequences of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting is when an employee leaves a job without alerting their employer. This can harm an organization, leading to lost productivity, decreased morale, and increased turnover. 

  • As a leader, it’s essential to understand the consequences of quiet quitting to address the issue adequately. 
  • When an employee quietly leaves, it creates a gap in the team that needs to be filled quickly and often with someone inexperienced or unqualified. 
  • Consequently, the workflow can be disrupted, and overall efficiency can be decreased.
  • Additionally, when employees leave without warning, their colleagues can feel neglected and unmotivated, decreasing morale. 
  • Finally, quiet quitting can lead to an increase in turnover, which can have profound financial implications for an organization. 
  • Therefore, leaders need to respond quickly and appropriately to quiet quitting to minimize these consequences.

How to Respond as a Leader

Quiet quitting refers to employees disengaging from their job and preparing to leave without indicating to their employer or colleagues.

 This can be a severe problem for companies, leading to a sudden loss of talent and a negative impact on team morale. 

As a leader, it is essential to identify the signs of quiet quitting and take action to prevent it from happening. Here are some ways to respond as a leader:

Create an Open and Supportive Work Environment

It is essential to create a work environment that encourages open communication and supports the well-being of employees. 

Ensure your team members feel comfortable sharing their concerns and that their feedback is valued. 

Please encourage them to share their career aspirations and provide opportunities for growth and development.

Check in Regularly with Team Members

Regular check-ins with your team members can help you identify potential signs of quiet quitting. 

This can be done through one-on-one meetings, team meetings, or informal conversations. Make sure you ask your team members how they feel about their work, their challenges, and what support they need to succeed.

Provide Opportunities for Feedback

Providing opportunities for feedback can help you identify areas where you need to improve as a leader and can help you address issues that may be causing employees to disengage. 

Consider conducting anonymous surveys or focus groups on gathering your team members’ feedback.

Recognize and Reward Good Work

Recognizing and rewarding good work can boost employee morale and engagement. 

Celebrate team successes and individual achievements and provide opportunities for employees to share their accomplishments with the rest of the team.

Address Performance Issues Early

Addressing performance issues early can help prevent employees from disengaging and quitting quietly. 

Provide constructive feedback, coaching, and support to help your team members improve their performance and address any challenges they may face.

As a leader, it is essential to be proactive in identifying potential signs of quiet quitting and taking action to prevent it. 

By creating an open and supportive work environment, checking in regularly with team members, providing opportunities for feedback, recognizing and rewarding good work, and addressing performance issues early, you can keep your team engaged and productive.

Examples of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting can manifest in various ways, highlighting the widespread nature of this phenomenon.

NPR gathered responses from its listeners, providing insights into real-life instances of quiet quitting.

For instance, an administrative assistant mentioned setting strict boundaries and refraining from work-related activities before or after office hours. Similarly, a department manager described how her priorities shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the importance of work-life balance and not feeling anxious about taking time off.

These examples demonstrate how individuals consciously limit their engagement beyond the minimum requirements of their jobs, prioritizing their well-being and personal lives.

Encouraging Quiet Quitters to Stay

Quiet quitting, also known as silent resignation, refers to employees becoming disengaged from their job and planning to leave without informing their employer or colleagues. 

This can be a significant problem for organizations, as it may lead to a sudden loss of talent and negatively impact team morale. 

As a leader, it is crucial to identify the signs of quiet quitting and encourage employees to stay. Here are some ways to respond as a leader:

Recognize and Acknowledge Their Contributions

Acknowledging the contributions of quiet quitters can help them feel valued and appreciated. 

Take the time to express gratitude for their hard work, dedication, and contributions to the team. This can go a long way in helping them feel more engaged and motivated to stay.

Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development

Providing opportunities for growth and development can help employees feel more invested in their work and less likely to consider quitting. 

This can include offering training, mentorship programs, and opportunities for advancement. Encourage your employees to set goals and help them develop a plan to achieve them.

Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

Providing flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, flexible hours, or job sharing, can help employees feel more in control of their work-life balance. 

This can reduce stress and improve their overall job satisfaction, making them more likely to stay.

Address Any Issues or Concerns

If an employee considers leaving due to issues or concerns, it is essential to address them promptly. 

This can include providing more support, changing their workload, or addressing any conflicts within the team. 

Showing that you are willing to listen and take action can go a long way in retaining employees.

Create a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is essential for retaining employees. This can include fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity, promoting work-life balance, and celebrating team successes. 

Creating a positive work environment can help employees feel more connected to their work and their team, reducing the likelihood of them considering quitting.

Is Quiet Quitting a Real Trend?

The prevalence of quiet quitting as a natural trend remains controversial. While a Gallup survey suggested that at least 50% of the U.S. workforce consists of quiet quitters, some argue that these numbers are not significantly different from historical data.

Instead, they suggest that the term has gained popularity as a way for workers to express their burnout and boredom.

Regardless, the discussions surrounding quiet quitting highlight the widespread worker dissatisfaction that employers should consider addressing.


In conclusion, quiet quitting is a hidden yet harmful issue where employees disengage, impacting productivity and innovation.

It reflects deeper organizational problems that need prompt attention. Leaders can mitigate its effects by fostering open communication, recognizing efforts, addressing root causes, and maintaining a thriving workforce.

Quiet Quitting FAQs

What are the signs of Quiet Quitting?

Some signs include reduced productivity, lack of enthusiasm, disinterest in professional growth, minimal interaction with colleagues, and avoiding extra responsibilities.

What causes Quiet Quitting?

It could be due to various reasons, such as lack of recognition, poor management, tedious work, lack of career growth, or feeling undervalued at work.

How can organizations prevent Quiet Quitting?

They can foster an inclusive, supportive workplace culture, offer recognition for good work, provide opportunities for professional growth, and ensure fair compensation and benefits.

Who is credited with inventing the term “quiet quitting”?

Bryan Creely, a Nashville-based corporate recruiter turned career coach, is often credited with introducing the term “quiet quitting.”

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