How to Handle Quiet Quitting

Read how to handle quiet quitting by boosting employee happiness

“What people are now calling ‘quiet quitting’ was, in previous decades, simply known as ‘having a job.’”

        Derek Thompson for the Atlantic


The sensation behind quiet quitting began from a viral Tik Tok video posted by a Gen Z software engineer. It defines the way of life of a working professional who strictly follows the basic requirements of their role, denies stressful projects, rejects working overtime, refuses to answer messages/calls after work hours, and doesn’t take on any non-mandatory activities. It is doing the bare minimum without concerning themselves with promotions and standing out from the pack.

A simple google search on the term yields over a dozen articles about this phenomenon, piqued by the mass media’s interest to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Although this isn’t a new term as rightly said by The Atlantic, commentary on the subject deserves interest as it addresses the concerns of both ends of the employment spectrum – the working professional and the robust organization.

As the new working class shifts from the hustle culture, their requirements from a corporate job have evolved substantially compared to the previous generation. The rise of influencer culture also has a part to play as they portray unrealistic lifestyles depicting influencers making huge sums of money, leaving most new workers aspiring for an easy yet glamorous way of life. As work-life balance has become a major priority for most members of the workforce – a direct result of the pandemic, people want to draw a steady paycheck, enjoy their lives, travel the world, and have enough money saved for retirement.

This has created a win-lose situation, where the employee wins by not overextending themselves from their defined job scope and the organization loses by not having enough ‘hardworking’ employees going the extra mile. But is quiet quitting of actual concern and can businesses implement measures to handle it? Read on.


The Hustle Culture Resignation

Hustle culture resignation stemmed from the very idea of not working more than you must; most members of the workforce are resigned to the concept of slaving away their best years for a job that leaves little room for their passions. This has sparked global movements such as the great resignation, lying flat, and now quiet quitting.

It’s not only walking away from the hustle culture – that usually means spending an enormous amount of time and effort to climb the corporate ladder – but putting a stop to personal sacrifices for professional accolades.


Employee Happiness

A contributing factor to quiet quitting is that employees feel undervalued and underappreciated. For larger organizations, it is normal for regular workers to feel like just another cog in the machine as they rarely interact with executives at higher levels. When businesses treat their workforce as expendable and do not recognize their efforts or reward them for their contributions, it is only a matter of time before the employee decides not to go above and beyond their duties.

Employee engagement and recognition are at the heart of a good retention strategy. When there are layers and layers of hierarchy, it is easy to lose sight of the people working several levels below you. They are not robots, but people with feelings who thrive on constructive feedback and appreciation. A study by Oxford University shows that happy workers are 13 percent more productive. This data doesn’t necessarily show a direct correlation between employee happiness and quiet quitting but is indicative of how employees when appreciated and treated well can perform better.


Listen to your People

In 2022, it’s quite evident that outdated hiring methods are ineffective and there is much more to learn about running a successful company than just the business end. An imperative function of any well-managed organization is ensuring that its people are taken care of, and their voices are heard. More and more corporates these days adopt an open-door policy where any employee can walk in and hash out their issues; another approach is to completely dissolve the chain of the hierarchy so a worker doesn’t need the approval of their reporting manager to drive change but can reach out to colleagues – above their level or from a different team to get the job done.

The leadership team must understand employees’ needs and connect with them regularly. This way of listening must be cascaded down to managers to implement so they stay informed about their team members’ well-being. Once made part of the engagement strategy, sufficient resources and time must be allocated to ensure these one-on-one discussions don’t fall through the cracks.

With the adoption of active listening, employers can engage with their workforce at a higher level. The use of HR software can provide a better outlook into the mindset of employees as they analyze various data points driving engagement and performance. These insights are priceless and provide a deep understanding of the employee experience through qualitative analysis.



Quiet quitting can be directly attributed to diminished work-life satisfaction. Unhappy employees at the workplace can create an unproductive domino effect as those feelings affect all other areas of their interactions and deliverables. A well-rounded employee well-being strategy mitigates most driving forces leading to a resigned mindset.

There’s no blanket solution to such a scenario. Every person’s intrinsic motivators are unique to them as are their needs. Leaders must tap into this knowledge by creating a safe atmosphere where employees can speak up knowing that their suggestions will be addressed by the organization and taken into consideration.

Improving work-life satisfaction through employee engagement takes consistent effort. Organizations that understand and place emphasis on keeping their workforce happy, will see an improvement in their business and a reduced employee turnover. Over time, a people-centric workplace will become the candidates’ first choice and attract top talent in the market.


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