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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 07 October 2022
  • Tiffany Carey

What is Quiet Quitting and What to Do About It

This summer, the term “quiet quitting” exploded on TikTok. American TikTok user @zaidlepplin posted a video saying that quiet quitting meant, “You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life – the reality is, it’s not.” The TikTok video received over 3 million views in less than two weeks.

bored male employee stares off into space

Earlier this year, a survey by Gallup showed that employee engagement dropped for the first time in nearly a decade. Chief scientist for Gallup’s workplace and well-being research, Jim Harter, said that workers’ interpretations of “quiet quitting” align with survey respondents he classifies as “not engaged.” Workers under this classification are those who show up to work and do the bare minimum.

There are countless conversations about whether or not quiet quitting is a generational divide or something born out of the global pandemic. Regardless, quiet quitters fulfill their core duties but decline further engagement or effort above and beyond those duties, and that’s got business owners’ attention.

How To Spot a Quiet Quitter

“Quiet quitting” is not “quitting” in the traditional sense. It isn’t slacking on responsibilities, not meeting deadlines, or leaving projects. Instead, it’s “phoning it in,” which can be harder for business owners to recognize. Here are a few ways to spot a quiet quitter.

  • Reduction in productivity is one of the more recognizable signs of a quiet quitter. For example, a sales employee who may have averaged 10 new business deals monthly is now bringing in five. Consistent reduction in productivity can be a clue to spotting a quiet quitter.
  • Lack of passion or enthusiasm is not as easily detected but would be displayed in group meetings, in person, or Zoom. Pay attention to body language, their level of contribution to ongoing conversations, and their general presence.
  • Overall disengagement from the team can surface, from not participating in social banter before or after meetings to not joining in events outside work with co-workers. Removal from any activity outside the business can mean they are disconnecting.

Ways To Handle Quiet Quitting

Because quiet quitting, by definition, means no longer subscribing to a hustle mentality in the workplace, there are ways to abate a quiet quitter and perhaps even save them. 

The Ultimate Solution to Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitters can throw entire organizations off-kilter, so it’s vital to protect yourself and your employees by ensuring your hiring and onboarding processes are on point and that you or someone you trust is involved every step of the way.

  • Set clear expectations and achievable goals. Employees aware of their responsibilities and key performance indicators are more motivated and likely to become long-time team members.
  • Accelerate their learning. By taking the time or making an investment in your workers’ education, you will ensure they feel appreciated and valued.
  • Make them part of the team. Welcome new employees by facilitating a warm welcome from your staff and let them know what role their new coworker will play. Be sure your new-hires are familiar with specific individuals they might work with regularly.

At first glance, quiet quitting has a negative connotation. But, you can flip the coin by providing a great place to work with transparent communication, defined expectations, and consistent gratitude. You’ll strengthen your relationship with your employees and create an environment where the focus is on growth opportunities for both each other and your business.

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