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Quiet Quitting – How To Reignite Engagement

Quiet quitting is a term which has recently come to the forefront of workplace discussions. It's considered by some to have become more prominent due to the change in work patterns attributed to Covid lockdowns.

What is Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting refers to individuals doing the bare minimum to fulfil their job role requirements. Very little else is carried out outside of their job description and their level of engagement drops. Quiet quitting highlights an issue around the employer/employee relationship, more specifically, a lack of trust around expectations of an acceptable workload and remuneration for that work and effort.

During a highly stressful time, Covid being a good example, quiet quitting is seen as a way to navigate change, to avoid any additional stress leading to burnout, as well as a way to maintain work/life balance. Quiet quitting gives individuals a way to take back control without having to have formal discussions with their Managers.

This change in individual behaviour is considered to have a wider impact on the workplace community and on team morale. By individuals taking a step back from their work and becoming disengaged, it can present a number of challenges for team peers, managers, and ultimately the organisation as a whole. In this article, we take a look at the signs of quiet quitting and how to potentially reduce it.

Signs of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting tends to be an issue that builds up over time with behaviours changing gradually. Things to look out for are:

  • Maintaining definite and sometimes inflexible boundaries around work hours, tasks, and workload by pushing back more frequently and/or strongly
  • Resisting anything seen as new or in addition to existing job responsibilities such as new projects, volunteering, or supporting co-workers
  • A drop in communication, participation, and productivity
  • A lack of interest in any social interactions or activities outside of work through avoidance and distance
  • A noticeable reduction in job satisfaction and a decline in overall wellbeing on both an individual and team level

How to Prevent Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting can be avoided through better communication and a clear and agreed alignment between employer and employee expectations:

  • Listen to your employees and let them know they have a voice
  • Keep your employees in the loop. Tell them in advance of any upcoming changes or challenges
  • Keep any increase in workload to a minimum and ensure the employee knows that this is a temporary situation
  • Understand your employees' work/life boundaries and career ambitions. Work with them as much as possible.
  • Reward your employees appropriately whether that’s financially, time in lieu, or a focus on their general wellbeing
  • Work on building rapport with your employees and respecting them as individuals
  • Hold regular reviews or feedback sessions to stay current with employee opinion

How to Deal with Quiet Quitting

Quiet Quitting can be reversed through honest communication and a willingness to rebuild trust on both sides:

  • Get things out in the open. Offer open two-way communication and initiate that communication in a non-confrontational, approachable manner
  • Identify the specific areas of contention as seen by the employee and ask for examples
  • Give context to these issues from your perspective and how they relate to the individual, the team, and the wider organisation
  • Reach a solution that genuinely works for both parties by re-establishing agreed expectations and associated rewards
  • Give your employee time to adjust and re-engage with their work through regular agreed review periods
  • Demonstrate your commitment to your employee by sticking to agreed actions in order to rebuild the relationship
  • Should these steps prove unsuccessful, conduct an exit interview


Quiet Quitting is a disconnect or a lack of alignment between an employer and an employee, with potentially negative consequences for both parties. It's essential to maintain open, reciprocal communication with employees, to let them voice their concerns and to mutually agree on any solutions going forward. Quiet quitting can be resolved by reestablishing clear boundaries and a balance around workload, workplace responsibilities, remuneration and reward. Treating employees as individuals and making a genuine effort to understand their feelings and frustrations can help rebuild a trusting relationship.


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