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Is Quiet Quitting Actually Good for Business?

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff writer
business.com Staff
Updated Oct 20, 2022

Although quiet quitting is a somewhat consequential trend among employees, employers can use it to their advantage. Learn how you can benefit from quiet quitting.

Whether you read about it in the news over the past few months or experienced it firsthand, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the term “quiet quitting.” Is this trend good or bad? Everyone has an opinion; however, for employers, quiet quitting has a negative connotation.

Simple keyword research reveals that people are commonly searching phrases like “How do I stop someone from quiet quitting?” But what if we flipped this narrative over and told you that employers can use quiet quitting to their advantage? Can quiet quitting actually be good for business?

The rise of the “quiet quitting” trend

Before we dive into the possibility of embracing quiet quitting, let’s break down what it is and why it’s happening. In years prior, hustle culture and the rise-and-grind mentality moved to the forefront of workers’ minds. Everyone had a side hustle. Being overworked and unreasonably busy were practically seen as badges of honor.

However, when the pandemic struck, it ultimately changed the workplace in more ways than one. Cascading economic factors like labor shortages, fluctuating supply and demand, and the Great Resignation forced employers to rely more heavily on the employees they still retained. Unfortunately, placing greater expectations on existing employees has led to an increase in employee burnout and a decrease in employee mental health.

As this workforce shift happened, employees started placing a lower value on career success and a higher value on work-life balance and mental health.

“Quiet quitting” is entering the chat

This trend, in short, is the notion that employees will take care of their assigned job responsibilities, but nothing more. They won’t stay late at work to finish a project, go above and beyond expectations, or attend non-mandatory meetings. [Read related article: Why Meetings Kill Productivity (and What to Do About It).]

In years past, going above and beyond your job description was typically rewarded with benefits like public recognition, social capital and career advancement. Yet many workers have decided that the pros no longer outweigh the cons.

Did you know?Did you know? Quiet quitting is more common than you might think. Gallup found that more than 50% of U.S. workers are guilty of quiet quitting.

The benefits of quiet quitting

As a business owner or leader, you’re likely familiar with all the consequences that can come with having a workforce that has silently checked out. You may see a decrease in employee engagement, performance, and morale, as well as an increase in project completion times and customer dissatisfaction. Any employer knows that these are all negative outcomes. But if you can successfully identify the quiet quitters on your team – and as we mentioned, it’s probably half of your workers – and get to the root of why they are quietly quitting, you can use that information to your advantage.

TipTip: If you want an employee to perform a certain job function, include that in their job description. Although some projects can be one-off situations and require extra effort from time to time, accurate job descriptions are the best way to ensure you are properly staffed and that all job duties are being fulfilled.

 

Increasing company transparency

In addition to reestablishing employee expectations, use quiet quitting to increase company transparency. Facilitate open and honest conversations with your employees to bring everyone on board with company expectations and needs.

For example, if your typical busy season is coming up, communicate with your employees about the temporary increase in expectations and make it clear that those expectations will eventually scale back. If you plan to reward hard workers or increase specific benefits to compensate, make that clear.

Asking for employee feedback on expectations and processes and actively using that feedback to improve is another great way to support your staff and stay transparent.

Improving employee work-life balance

One of the primary drivers behind quiet quitting is that employees want to improve their own work-life balance. While quiet quitting may not be an employer’s favorite way to find out that their employees are overworked or disengaged, it opens the door for change.

Many organizations have recently realized the value of having a balanced workforce and now prioritize their employees’ work-life balance as a result. Instead of forcing employees to resort to skating by on the bare minimum, you can actively support their mental health and work-life balance through the addition of benefits like mental health days, flexible scheduling and remote work opportunities.

Employees, even quiet quitters, generally want to do good work. Treating them well can help motivate workers to fulfill their job responsibilities to the best of their ability.

Boosting company morale

If you read other articles, you’ll probably learn that quiet quitting can lead to a decrease in company morale. This is because when half of your workers only do the bare minimum, the other half are left to pick up the slack, exponentially increasing their workloads. Uneven workloads can harm company morale.

However, if you actively address quiet quitting in a way that reestablishes expectations, and improves transparency and work-life balance, you can improve company morale.

Viewing quiet quitting as a good thing

Let’s return to our original question, “Can quiet quitting actually be good for business?” The answer we’ve arrived at is “maybe,” depending on how you view the issue. The specific act of employees disengaging from work and only doing the bare minimum is probably not good for business – OK, it’s definitely not good for business. However, when your employees speak, it’s your job to listen. This quiet quitting trend can serve as an eye-opener for many organizations, forcing them to take a closer look at their employees’ overall experience.

Instead of agonizing over quiet quitting, use your awareness of it to your advantage. Start having conversations with your workforce to see what is and isn’t working, and then actively make necessary changes. Your workers will thank you for it – even if they thank you quietly.

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
business.com Staff
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has researched and written more than 300 articles on HR-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and HR technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products and services that help business owners run a smoother human resources department, such as HR software, PEOs, HROs, employee monitoring software and time and attendance systems, Skye investigates and writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.