Addressing the Trend of Quiet Quitting in the Workplace

Motivation Matters

By Nicole Polite


Quiet quitting is a term that has recently gained traction, describing a workplace trend where employees strictly limit their tasks to what is outlined in their job descriptions, refusing to work longer hours or overextend themselves. While these individuals fulfill their basic duties, they establish clear boundaries to preserve work-life balance and resist the notion that ‘work is life.’

This behavior does not necessarily indicate a lack of commitment or intent to leave the organization. Rather, it often highlights a need to manage workplace stress or dissatisfaction effectively. This type of withdrawal could also suggest that an employee is reevaluating their career path or actively seeking new opportunities.

The concept gained notability during the period known as the Great Resignation, a time when many individuals reflected deeply on their careers, salaries, and how they are treated in the workplace. The primary motives behind quiet quitting often include a lack of advancement opportunities, insufficient pay, and a feeling of being undervalued. This isn’t a new phenomenon; workers have been adopting this approach for years in response to issues like poor compensation, unmanageable workloads, and inadequate growth opportunities.


Signs of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting can manifest in various ways, some of which include:

• Not attending meetings;

• Poor attendance;

• Arriving late or leaving early;

• Noticeable reduction in productivity;

• Lesser involvement in team projects;

• Avoiding participation in planning or strategy meetings; or

• A general lack of enthusiasm or engagement in work.


Ripple Effects of Quiet Quitting

Increased Workload for Others: With some employees dialing back their efforts, their colleagues often face increased workloads, which can result in burnout and further disengagement, perpetuating a harmful cycle.

Compromised Reputation: Quiet quitting can take a toll on an organization’s external image. Internal problems can tarnish its reputation as a desirable workplace, making it challenging to attract and retain skilled personnel.

Loss of Competitive Edge: In competitive sectors, where innovation is key, the lack of initiative resulting from quiet quitting can severely disadvantage a company.

Increased Turnover: If issues prompting quiet quitting, such as poor recognition, inadequate compensation, or limited growth prospects, aren’t addressed, employees may eventually leave the company. This turnover is not only disruptive, but also adds significant costs to the organization in terms of replacement and training.


Strategies for Employers to Mitigate Quiet Quitting

Employers aiming to combat quiet quitting and enhance employee engagement should focus on improving the overall employee experience through several strategic approaches:

Open Dialogue: Regularly engage with staff to understand their needs and address grievances. Genuine expressions of appreciation can significantly impact morale and motivation.

Realistic Workloads: Ensure that goals set for employees are achievable and reasonable, maintaining clear boundaries to prevent feelings of being overwhelmed.

Regular Check-ins: Create a supportive atmosphere by routinely checking in on employees’ well-being in informal settings. This can help foster a sense of belonging and care within the company.

Autonomy and Creativity: Encourage autonomy in daily tasks and problem solving to enhance creativity and personal investment in work.

Mental Health Prioritization: Develop and implement wellness programs that encourage employees to focus on their mental health. Foster an environment where mental well-being is regarded as essential as physical health.

Career Development: Actively discuss and facilitate potential career paths within the organization. Assist employees with clear, actionable steps to achieve their professional ambitions, showing commitment to their growth and development.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can not only address the issue of quiet quitting, but also cultivate a workplace culture that respects and values employee contributions and personal boundaries. Such an environment can lead to a more engaged and motivated workforce, ultimately benefiting the entire organization and leading to better overall productivity and employee satisfaction.



As quiet quitting continues to be a topic of discussion in many professional circles, it’s crucial for leaders and managers to take proactive steps to understand and address the underlying issues that lead to such behavior. By fostering an empathetic and supportive workplace, companies can ensure that their employees feel valued and motivated, reducing the inclination toward quiet quitting and boosting organizational health and effectiveness.


Nicole Polite is CEO of the MH Group, a staffing and recruiting firm in Massachusetts and Connecticut specializing in placing professionals in various industries with client companies.