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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

What is quiet quitting and how does it affect employers?

Updated: May 25, 2023

Quite quitting employees

The term "quiet quitting" has become more wide-spread in recent years. Post the coronavirus pandemic and with the cost of living rising, employees are much more aware of balancing their work and home life, and more people are actively seeking out hybrid and remote working roles.

What is quiet quitting?

You may think quiet quitting refers to an employee resigning from their role, however, it isn't. In fact, it is sometimes seen as worse, where employees are demotivated and are only interested in completing the bare minimum they need to do to fulfil their role.

This is where employees clock-watch, arriving just in time to start their working day and have their coat on ready to leave as soon as they are contractually allowed to do so. They complete only the tasks that are specifically detailed in their job description, they are reluctant to help out when their work colleagues are over-worked, and have little or no interest in their career progression and promotion.

How do you recognise quiet quitting?

Quite quitting is often recognised by the change in an employee's attitude and motivation in the workplace, such as:

  • becoming less pro-active;

  • reduced productivity;

  • taking more time to complete tasks;

  • avoiding or failing to attend meetings;

  • being unavailable;

  • lack of engagement in group activities and social events;

  • lack of enthusiasm.

An employee may say:

"I want to prioritise my wellbeing overall and things outside of work" – Elise Freedman, senior client partner at consulting firm Korn Ferry

What are the reasons for quite quitting?

There are many reasons for quite quitting and they are not all work related, including employees:

  • deciding to change their work-life balance after their experience throughout the coronavirus pandemic, regardless of whether they were furloughed, working from home or over-worked due to the demand of their role/services during the pandemic;

  • changing to hybrid and remote working permanently post-pandemic;

  • personal financial pressures with the rise in the cost of living.

There may also be work related reasons for quite quitting, and these may include the employer tightening their budgets resulting in the lack of salary increases, bonuses, training and promotions.

What do employers do when they recognise quiet quitting?

It is important that employers consider whether or not their employees are actually fulfilling their role and, if so, recognised that they are not committing any misconduct.

There may be personal reasons why an employee is showing signs of quite quitting, and an employer shouldn't be afraid to talk to their employees to explain where they have concerns about their change in performance and listen to their reasons for this.

Engaging with employees, listening and being open minded will help employers to better understanding any work related problems, and enable employers to discuss and agree with their employees possible ways to support them.

SWan HR Consultancy (London and Kent)

SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.

SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.

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Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of a free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.

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