What is quiet quitting: Definition, examples & top strategies to tackle it in 2024

15 min read

Picture this: employees disengaged, passion dwindling, and productivity on a downward spiral. The quiet quitting trend is the stealthy cousin of the more overt resignation, and it's creating ripples across offices in 2024.

In this blog, we'll uncover the nuances of this workplace phenomenon, explore its repercussions, and equip you, successful managers with strategies to combat quiet quitting effectively. So, fasten your seatbelts as we dive into the realm of quiet quitting – where disengagement speaks louder than words.

What is quiet quitting at work?

Employee running towards the exit
What is quiet quitting at work?

Quiet quitting is the subtle art of disengaging from one's job description without waving the red flag of resignation. It's the clandestine departure of enthusiasm, commitment, and motivation, leaving an employee physically present but mentally absent. In essence, it's the slow fade where employees contribute the bare minimum, flying under the radar of traditional performance metrics.

It's the unnoticed epidemic affecting workplaces, where job dissatisfaction whispers more than it shouts. In the intricate dance of office dynamics, quiet quitting takes center stage, leaving managers puzzled and colleagues unaware.

What are the negative effects of quiet quitting?

Employee feeling super low in the workplace
What are the negative effects of quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is akin to a slow leak in a ship—it may not cause an immediate sink, but the damage accumulates over time. Team dynamics bear the brunt as team collaboration dwindles, and the once-vibrant synergy becomes a mere shadow of its former self.

The effects ripple through the office ecosystem, stifling innovation and sapping the energy that fuels creative endeavors. Startlingly, studies reveal that teams with actively disengaged members witness a concerning decrease in overall job performance.

This stealthy disengagement doesn't just stop at the individual level; it's a domino effect. Morale takes a nosedive as the subtle negativity spreads like wildfire, creating a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction.

As the morale contagion intensifies, it clouds the once-positive office atmosphere, affecting not only the disgruntled employee but the entire team and, consequently, the organization. In the grand scheme of workplace dynamics, quiet quitting isn't just an individual's disengagement; it's a silent symphony of diminishing vitality that, if left unchecked, can significantly impact the organization's bottom line.

What are the characteristics of quiet quitters?

Employee feeling less productive in the workplace
What are the characteristics of quiet quitters?

There might be some giveaway signs that an employee might be a quiet quitter. Here are a few that you should keep an eye out for –

  1. Subdued enthusiasm: In the realm of a quiet quitter, enthusiasm transforms into a flickering ember. What was once a radiant flame of passion now emits a subdued glow, casting shadows on the vibrancy they once brought to the workplace.
  2. Selective engagement: A quiet worker or quitter becomes a strategic participant, engaging selectively in tasks. Their involvement is pared down to the bare essentials, with a noticeable reluctance to invest beyond what's required to fulfill basic job descriptions.
  3. Communication withdrawal: Conversations with a quiet quitter take on a transactional nature. These conversations will have changed from before withdraw from the vibrant exchanges of team discussions and brainstorming sessions, choosing silence over the active contribution they once brought to the table.
  4. Absence of initiative: Initiative becomes a foreign concept to a quiet quitter. They steer clear of projects that extend beyond their immediate responsibilities, opting for the safety of the known rather than venturing into the realm of the unfamiliar.
  5. Time watching: The clock becomes a silent companion for a quiet quitter. Tasks are completed with a primary focus on meeting deadlines rather than aiming for excellence. Quality takes a back seat to the ticking hands of time. Time management may take a hit too.
  6. Emotional detachment: Emotional connections fray as a quiet quitter detaches from the emotional rollercoaster of workplace outcomes. Celebrations and laments become distant echoes, replaced by a stoic demeanor indifferent to the highs and lows of the professional journey.
  7. Minimal collaboration: Once a proactive team player, a quiet quitter morphs into a solitary contributor. Collaborative efforts dwindle, and the energy that once fueled teamwork dissipates, leaving behind an individual who prefers working in isolation.
  8. Reduced feedback: The receptive ears that once welcomed constructive feedback now seem deafened. A quiet quitter tunes out performance evaluations and professional development opportunities, creating a barrier against growth-oriented input.
  9. Increased breaks: Escaping into breaks becomes a coping mechanism for a quiet quitter. Regular breaks offer brief respites from the monotony they've mentally checked out from, providing moments of solace in a sea of disengagement.
  10. Invisible presence: Physically present but mentally absent, a quiet quitter becomes an invisible entity in meetings. Their once-active contribution diminishes, leaving behind a mere silhouette of the engaged employees they used to be. Recognizing these subtle shifts is paramount for proactive management and intervention.

What are the root causes of quiet quitting?

Employee feeling confused handling multiple tasks
What are the root causes of quiet quitting?

Root causes, like elusive underground streams, shape the landscape of disengagement within the workplace. Join us as we delve into the underlying factors that sow the seeds of quiet quitting, unraveling the complexities that often go unnoticed but play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of a disengaged employees.

  • Unacknowledged burnout: Quiet quitting often finds its roots in unacknowledged burnout. Overloaded with tasks and responsibilities, employees may silently disengage to cope with the mounting stress, leading to a gradual withdrawal.
  • Lack of recognition: A dearth of recognition can breed dissatisfaction. When employees feel their efforts go unnoticed, their motivation wanes, and they may quietly step back from giving their best, contributing to the phenomenon of quiet quitting.
  • Unclear expectations: Ambiguity in roles and expectations can sow the seeds of disengagement. Employees may disentangle themselves from tasks when they lack a clear understanding of their responsibilities, fostering a climate conducive to quiet quitting.
  • Inadequate work-life balance: Persistent imbalance between work and personal life can fuel quiet quitting. When employees feel overwhelmed by demanding work schedules, they may gradually disengage as a means of self-preservation.
  • Stagnant growth opportunities: A lack of avenues for professional growth can be a significant catalyst. Employees yearn for development and advancement; when these opportunities are scarce, they may quietly disengage from companies, seeking fulfillment elsewhere.
  • Poor management practices: Management styles that lack transparency, empathy, or effective communication can contribute to quiet quitting. Employees may retreat when faced with an unsupportive or uncommunicative leadership, leading to a breakdown in engagement.
  • Insufficient feedback mechanisms: The absence of constructive feedback leaves employees in the dark about their performance. Without guidance, they may lose motivation and gradually distance themselves from active participation, embodying the characteristics of quiet quitting.
  • Micromanagement tendencies: Excessive micromanagement stifles autonomy and creativity, driving employees to disengage quietly as they feel undervalued and constrained.
  • Inadequate opportunities for collaboration: When teamwork and collaboration are lacking, employees may feel isolated and disconnected, leading to quiet disengagement as they withdraw from interactions and projects.

Acknowledging the root causes of quiet quitting is the first step toward fostering a hustle culture mentality. Just as a gardener tends to the roots for a flourishing garden, organizations must nurture the foundations of employee satisfaction and well-being.

By addressing these root causes head-on, organizations can not only prevent quiet quitting but also cultivate an environment where each employee can thrive and contribute their best.

Why is quiet quitting common among Gen Zs?

A gen Z employee walking through the door
Why is quiet quitting common among Gen Zs?

Let's take a closer look at why quiet quitting, the silent disengagement from work, is something we often see among Gen Z employees. Gen Z has its unique way of approaching work, influenced by growing up in a world filled with smartphones, social media, and a desire for meaningful work.

We'll explore why Gen Z might be quietly quitting or step back from their jobs and what organizations can do to keep them engaged. Understanding these reasons helps us build workplaces that match the expectations and values of this new generation.

  • Digital distractions: Gen Z, raised in the era of constant connectivity, can succumb to digital distractions. The omnipresence of smartphones and social media may contribute to a sense of detachment from the traditional work environment, fostering the subtlety of quiet quitting.
  • Desire for purpose: Gen Z places a high value on purpose-driven work. When their roles lack a sense of meaningful contribution or fail to align with their values, they may quietly disengage in pursuit of a more purposeful professional path.
  • Instant gratification expectations: raised in a world of instant gratification, Gen Z may struggle with the patience required for career progression. The absence of rapid advancement opportunities can lead to disillusionment, prompting quiet disengagement.
  • Preference for flexibility: Gen Z prioritizes flexibility in work arrangements. Organizations that fail to offer adaptable work structures may witness quiet quitting as Gen Z seeks environments that accommodate their desire for a harmonious work-life balance.
  • Craving continuous learning: Gen Z thrives on continuous learning. Stagnant work environments that do not provide opportunities for skill development or learning may result in disengagement, as they quietly seek platforms for ongoing personal and professional growth.
  • Transparent communication expectations: Gen Z values transparent and open communication. When organizations fall short in fostering a culture of clear communication, Gen Z employees may resort to quiet quitting as a means of expressing their dissatisfaction.

Understanding these generational nuances (i.e. younger workers) is crucial for organizations aiming to cultivate environments that resonate with Gen Z's values and aspirations, ultimately curbing the prevalence of quiet quitting among this demographic.

How could quiet quitting lead to attrition at your organization?

Employee feeling burnout in the workplace
How could quiet quitting lead to attrition at your organization?

Understanding the subtle signs and implications of quiet quitting is essential for organizations aiming to mitigate attrition risks and maintain a thriving workforce. Let's delve into how this discreet form of disengagement could lead to attrition and its potential consequences.

Cascading demotivation

Quiet quitting, like a contagious whisper, can spread demotivation among team members. As disengagement becomes palpable, it creates a domino effect, contributing to an overall decline in team morale.

Team dysfunction

The subtle withdrawal of a few team members can disrupt the synergy of the entire team. Collaboration dwindles, and tasks that once flowed seamlessly become encumbered by the weight of disengagement, leading to decreased productivity.

Increased workload on others

When individuals quietly quit a company, their responsibilities often fall on the shoulders of their remaining colleagues. This surge in workload can overwhelm the remaining team members, triggering burnout and potential attrition.

Negative workplace culture

The undercurrent of quiet quitting contributes to a negative workplace culture. As dissatisfaction lingers, it seeps into the fabric of the organization, creating an environment that may drive away even the most dedicated employees.

Talent acquisition challenges

Word of a disengaged workforce can spread beyond the office walls. A reputation for quiet quitting makes attracting new talent challenging, for example, as prospective employees may be hesitant to join an organization with perceived internal issues.

High employee turnover

The culmination of demotivation, dysfunction, increased workload, less pay, and a negative culture often leads to higher employee turnover. Employees, feeling the weight of disengagement, may choose to seek opportunities elsewhere, exacerbating attrition rates.

Understanding the chain reaction set in motion by quiet quitting is essential for organizations aiming to mitigate the broader impact it can have on employee retention and overall organizational health.

10 Quiet quitting examples at work you should know

Employee feeling stressed in the workplace
10 Quiet quitting examples at work you should know

Understanding the signs of quiet quitting and quiet quitters is pivotal for addressing and preventing the stealthy erosion of employee motivation. Here are a few examples.

  1. The minimalist contributor: Completes tasks with the bare minimum effort, avoiding any additional contributions or creative input.
  2. The clock-watcher: Constantly checks the time, completing tasks solely to meet deadlines rather than aiming for excellence or going the extra mile.
  3. The silent meeting observer: Attends team meetings but remains conspicuously silent, offering minimal input or feedback, signaling a disengagement from team discussions.
  4. The task avoider: Deliberately avoids taking on additional responsibilities or tasks beyond their core duties, showcasing a reluctance to go beyond the essentials.
  5. The invisible team player: Physically present in team settings but mentally absent, contributing little to collaborative efforts, signaling a retreat from teamwork.
  6. The break frequent flyer: Takes frequent breaks, using them as moments of escape from work, creating a pattern of disengagement during working hours.
  7. The feedback resistor: Exhibits resistance to feedback, dismissing constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement, signaling a lack of interest in personal and professional growth.
  8. The initiative averse: Avoids taking initiative or volunteering for projects, preferring to remain within the comfort zone of routine tasks.
  9. The email ghost: Responds minimally to emails, displaying a lack of proactive communication and contributing to an overall sense of isolation.
  10. The unenthusiastic celebrator: Shows little enthusiasm or interest during team successes or celebrations, signaling a detachment from the collective achievements of the group.

Recognizing these examples is crucial for managers and leaders to address subtle signs of disengagement early on, preventing the escalation of quiet quitting within the team, business or organization.

9 Strategies to tackle quiet quitting at work effectively

Employers are strategizing a plan for their next move
Strategies to tackle quiet quitting at work effectively

Before dismissing quiet quitting as employee laziness, let's explore strategies to re-engage employees  and improve retention rates. Here are nine effective strategies to foster engagement and address the subtle signs of soft, quiet quitting emerged and disengagement in the workplace.

1. Regular check-ins

Strategy: Implement regular one-on-one check-ins with employees to foster open communication. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable discussing concerns, challenges, and aspirations. Motivate employees whenever you can.

2. Recognition and appreciation

Strategy: Establish a culture of recognition. Acknowledge and appreciate employees for their contributions going above and beyond, ensuring that their extra effort is seen and valued, preventing the erosion of motivation.

3. Clarify expectations

Strategy: Provide clear and transparent expectations regarding roles and responsibilities. Ambiguity can contribute to disengagement, so clarity is essential to keep employees aligned with organizational objectives.

4. Flexibility in work arrangements:

Strategy: Offer flexible work arrangements that cater to individual preferences. Recognize the importance of work-life balance, providing options such as remote/hybrid environment or flexible hours to accommodate diverse needs.

5. Invest in professional development:

Strategy: Prioritize opportunities for continuous learning and development. Offering avenues for skill enhancement and career growth demonstrates a serious employer and commitment to employees' long-term success, discouraging quiet quitting.

6. Constructive feedback mechanisms:

Strategy: Foster a culture of constructive feedback. Regularly discuss performance, providing guidance for improvement and recognizing achievements. This creates a supportive environment that encourages active engagement.

7. Cultivate a positive work culture:

Strategy: Build a positive and inclusive work culture. Encourage collaboration, celebrate achievements, and prioritize employee well-being. A positive environment enhances job satisfaction and discourages the onset of quiet quitting.

8. Encourage social connections:

Strategy: Foster opportunities for social interaction and team bonding. Organize team-building activities, social events, or virtual coffee chats to strengthen relationships and create a sense of belonging among employees, reducing the likelihood of quiet quitting due to isolation.

9. Empowerment through autonomy:

Strategy: Grant employees autonomy and decision-making authority in their roles. Empowering employees to make meaningful contributions and have a say in their work fosters a sense of ownership and engagement, mitigating the risk of silent disengagement.

Implementing these strategies creates a proactive and supportive work environment, addressing the subtle signs of disengagement before they escalate. By focusing on communication, recognition, and a positive culture, organizations can effectively tackle quiet quitting and promote a thriving workplace.

How can HRs respond to quiet quitting effectively?

HR is having a discussion with an employee
How can HRs respond to quiet quitting effectively?

Further to the 9 strategies to tackle quiet quitting mentioned above, there are some effective ways to respond to quiet quitting.

To tackle the challenge of quiet quitting, HR professionals can initiate regular individual check-ins, providing employees with a secure space to express concerns and aspirations. Recognizing and appreciating employees aligns with the strategy of fostering a positive work culture. Clarity in expectations, emphasizing transparent communication, helps eliminate ambiguity and potential disengagement.

Supporting flexibility in work arrangements responds directly to the need for a work-life balance, a recognized strategy to counteract quiet quitting. Investing in professional development corresponds with the broader approach of prioritizing continuous learning to deter disengagement.

Constructive feedback mechanisms, integral to a positive work culture, offer guidance for improvement and celebrate achievements, creating a supportive environment.

Emphasizing the significance of a positive and inclusive work culture is an overarching response to quiet quitters' quitting. Encouraging collaboration, celebrating accomplishments, and prioritizing employee well-being contribute to a thriving workplace.

By implementing these strategies collectively, HR can effectively address the nuances of quiet quitting, fostering a proactive and supportive organizational environment.

How can organizations create an environment that encourages open communication to prevent quiet quitting?

Creating an environment that encourages open communication is essential for preventing quiet quitting and fostering employee engagement within organizations. Here are key strategies to achieve this:

  1. Establish clear communication channels: Organizations should establish clear channels for communication, including regular team meetings, one-on-one sessions with managers, and accessible feedback mechanisms. Providing multiple avenues for communication ensures that employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns.
  2. Promote transparent leadership: Transparent leadership builds trust and encourages open communication. Leaders should be transparent about organizational goals, challenges, and decisions, fostering a culture of honesty and openness within the organization.
  3. Encourage feedback culture: Organizations should promote a culture where feedback is valued and encouraged at all levels. This includes soliciting feedback from employees through surveys, suggestion boxes, and regular check-ins, and actively listening to their input to address concerns and implement improvements.
  4. Provide communication training: Offering communication training programs can equip employees with the skills necessary to communicate effectively in the workplace. These programs can cover active listening, conflict resolution, and assertive communication techniques, empowering employees to express themselves confidently and respectfully.
  5. Lead by example: Leaders play a crucial role in modeling open communication behavior. By demonstrating active listening, soliciting feedback, and responding constructively to employee input, leaders set the tone for open communication within the organization.
  6. Create a safe space for dialogue: Organizations should create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment or reprisal. This can be achieved through open-door policies, anonymous feedback channels, and zero-tolerance policies for retaliation against whistleblowers.
  7. Celebrate transparency and accountability: Recognize and reward instances of transparent communication and accountability within the organization. Celebrating transparency reinforces its importance and encourages more employees to embrace open communication practices.
  8. Regularly evaluate communication practices: Organizations should regularly evaluate their communication practices to identify areas for improvement. This can involve conducting communication audits, seeking feedback from employees, and implementing changes based on the findings to enhance communication effectiveness.

Role of employee engagement software in tackling quiet quitting at the workplace

Employer handling an employee engagement software
Role of employee engagement software in tackling quiet quitting at the workplace

Employee engagement software plays a pivotal role in identifying and addressing the subtle signs of quiet quitting.

Real-time feedback mechanism:

Employee engagement software enables real-time feedback, providing a continuous pulse on the employee experience and sentiment. This allows organizations to swiftly identify disengagement trends and take proactive measures.

Performance analytics:

By leveraging performance analytics, the software can identify patterns indicative of quiet quitting. Analyzing productivity metrics, project involvement, and task completion rates helps organizations pinpoint areas of concern.

Anonymous surveys and feedback:

Employee engagement software facilitates anonymous surveys and feedback channels, offering employees a secure space to express concerns without fear of reprisal. This fosters open communication, uncovering issues that may contribute to quiet quitting.

Recognition and rewards programs:

Many employee engagement surveys and platforms include features for employee recognition and rewards. These programs help organizations acknowledge and appreciate workers' contributions, mitigating the risk of disengagement and subsequent quiet quitting.

Learning and development opportunities:

These software solutions often integrate learning and development modules. By providing accessible avenues for skill enhancement, they address the need for continuous learning, discouraging quiet quitting due to stagnation.

Employee well-being tracking:

Employee engagement software may include features to monitor well-being indicators. This proactive approach allows organizations to intervene when signs of burnout or stress emerge, preventing disengagement.

Communication platforms:

Integrated communication tools within these platforms foster transparent communication. This helps bridge gaps, reducing the likelihood of miscommunication or feelings of isolation that may contribute to quiet quitting.

In essence, employee engagement software acts as a strategic ally in the battle against quiet quitting by offering real-time insights, promoting open communication, and providing tools to have employers create a positive and engaging work environment.


Addressing quiet quitting demands a multifaceted approach. Recognizing the subtle signs, fostering open communication, and cultivating a positive culture are pivotal steps. However, for a comprehensive and streamlined solution, consider integrating CultureMonkey into your arsenal.

CultureMonkey's pulse survey emerges as the ultimate solution, providing a proactive approach to identify and address issues before they escalate. With its real-time feedback and anonymous communication channels, CultureMonkey empowers organizations to create a supportive and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued and heard.

Take care of potential quiet quitters the right way.


1. What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting refers to a phenomenon where employees disengage from their work and organization without overtly expressing their dissatisfaction or intentions to leave. It involves a gradual withdrawal from active participation and contribution, often characterized by subtle signs of disengagement, such as decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and reduced enthusiasm for work-related tasks.

2. Why are employees quiet quitting?

Employees may engage in a term called quiet quitting, due to various factors that impact their sense of belonging within the organization. These may include feelings of burnout from excessive workload or lack of recognition, unclear expectations regarding roles and responsibilities, inadequate opportunities for professional growth, and dissatisfaction with management practices or workplace culture. Quiet quitting may also stem from a desire to avoid confrontation or negative repercussions.

3. Is quiet quitting a good thing?

Quiet quitting is not inherently a positive phenomenon for employees or organizations. While it may allow employees to avoid the discomfort of confrontational exits, it can have detrimental effects on both individual well-being and organizational performance. Quiet quitting often leads to decreased morale, productivity, and team cohesion, as well as increased turnover rates and potential damage to the organization's reputation.

4. Is quiet quitting a real trend?

Yes, quiet quitting is a real trend observed in many workplaces, although it may not always be explicitly recognized or acknowledged. As employees increasingly seek to avoid conflict or negative attention, they may opt for quiet quitting as a means of disengaging from their work or organization. The subtle nature of quiet quitting can make it challenging for employers to detect and address effectively, highlighting the importance of proactive measures to foster employee belonging and engagement.



Santhosh is a Sr. Content Marketer with 2+ years of experience. He loves to travel solo (though he doesn’t label them as vacations, they are) to explore, meet people, and learn new stories.