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Quiet quitting is sweeping the internet right now. Instead of seeing it as a negative, HR professionals should use this viral trend as an opportunity to improve employee relations.


One of the biggest trending terms to hit the business world since the Great Resignation is “quiet quitting.”

While the term only recently went viral thanks to social media influencers on TikTok and LinkedIn, the concept of quiet quitting has been around for quite some time, with notable examples depicting this trend popping up in classic films like Office Space as well as others.

Unlike the thousands of employees that jumped to other companies during the Great Resignation, quiet quitting refers to mentally checked-out employees who are only willing to put in the bare minimum of work to fulfill their job description. For many quiet quitters this trend is much more, a subtle rebellion against hustle culture and going above and beyond. 

Quiet quitting comes in degrees, and to some employees the trend is a way to set up much needed boundaries between their personal and professional life. Still, for HR professionals, this conscious decision to step back should be a wake-up call. It’s time to transform employee burnout into delight by improving overall employee experience throughout the workplace.

Why are so many employees quiet quitting?

A recent study by Gallup revealed that at least 50% of the U.S. workforce could be classified as quiet quitters. The same survey showed that only around 32% of workers were considered engaged, and 18% were classified as actively disengaged, with the largest number of disengaged employees coming from the Gen Z and millennial age groups.

What’s causing employees in this age group to disengage from the workplace? One of the biggest reasons is a lack of flexibility from employers. Data from our State of Workplace Empathy Study disclosed that 94% of employees value flexible work and consider the practice empathetic.

But flexible arrangements are only offered in 38% of organizations.

Combined with a lack of shared values, insufficient support for mental health or financial well-being—many employees are turning to quiet quitting to escape from toxic work environments. While these numbers should raise some red flags for HR and benefits administration professionals, the good news is that this data presents an opportunity for employers to act before it’s too late. 

Three ways for HR professionals to stop quiet quitting in its tracks.

1. Celebrate and reward employee achievements.

One of the best ways to stop quiet quitting from infecting your organization is by showing that employees are valued for the good work they do. The majority of employees who are always or usually recognized for their work are unlikely to seek new employment over the next three to six months.

Since every employee’s recognition needs differ, it may be a good idea to survey to find out how employees would like to receive praise and what rewards they would appreciate most. Some common types of rewards include raises, prize giveaways, recognition given by leadership, and achievement recognition technology to celebrate as an entire organization.

When in doubt, opt for sincerity. There’s nothing more meaningful than concrete praise that stems from genuine appreciation. 

2. Invest in employee professional development and career paths.

Employees want to grow their skillsets and move into new departments, roles, or grow in their current role. Without the resources to do this, employees become bored and disengaged with their work, leading to quiet quitting. To fight against fatigue, employers need to recognize the value of investing in employees through professional development programs.

Some examples of this might include stipends for continuing education, management training classes for those that want to become leaders, and clear expectations for what is required to get to the next level for any current career path. Having these added benefits in place can give employees a renewed sense of connection to the business, pushing quiet quitting to the curb. 

3. Make flexibility part of your organization’s DNA

If there’s one takeaway for employers post-pandemic, it’s the need for a flexible work environment. Many companies turned to remote and hybrid work during the pandemic to keep employees safe, and quickly discovered how meaningful the change was for many people.

Unfortunately, these flexible hours and working conditions started to disappear with the pandemic, resulting in employees resorting to quiet quitting or fully quitting to have these needs met.

For employers struggling to keep employees excited to clock-in every day, consider prioritizing balance and flexibility. When hybrid and remote work isn’t available, there are still a variety of ways to encourage workers to take their time off or adjust work hours to accommodate family schedules. 

Want to dive deeper into what flexibility in the workplace looks like? Check out our white paper covering hybrid work. 

View all Posts by Marcy Klipfel