Quiet Quitting: Meaning, definition & how to prevent it

Quiet Quitting

In recent months, news feeds and social media have exploded with updates from fed-up workers. Voices speaking up about feeling overworked and underappreciated. Experts commenting, criticizing or celebrating it. All this accompanied by the hashtag #QuietQuitting.

So what does “quiet quitting” really mean? How did it come about? And how do you prevent it in your organization?

What is quiet quitting?

“Quiet quitting” is a newly coined term describing a form of work-to-rule approach, where employees limit their tasks strictly to those within their job description. Work is kept within defined working hours, without major psychological or emotional investments.

Quiet quitters reject the notion that work is the no. 1 priority. For some, that means setting up boundaries and not taking on additional work. For others, it simply means not going above and beyond. No more desk lunches, staying late or attending non-mandatory meetings.

Where did it come from?

Quiet quitting is considered the result of a number of recent changes in the workplace. Downsizing, budget cuts and covid-related crisis handling required employees to take on extra responsibilities (in some cases against their will). In addition, the hybrid work environment has blurred the lines between work and personal life. Combined, workers today expect more from their employers. If their needs are not fulfilled, they can easily feel overworked and underappreciated.

Implications of quiet quitting


Is quiet quitting a bad thing? Not necessarily. It can actually be a healthy step in the right direction towards work-life balance for those who struggle to maintain just that. These are your colleagues who consistently take on extra duties or work extra hours. Work-life balance is key for happy, healthy and productive employees. After all, a heavy workload is one of the main reasons behind work-related stress and burnout.


Having an unhappy employee quit is a bad thing. However, having them not quit can be even worse. Rejecting projects based on lack of motivation leads to stagnation - both for the individual and the company. Many organizations are dependent on an engaged workforce to maintain its competitive advantage. Likewise, most employees need to be engaged and challenged in order to thrive. In addition, the unwillingness to go the extra mile can increase the workload for other colleagues.

Reducing involvement to the bare minimum, employees might also miss out on the things that make a workplace enriching, such as workplace culture, social events and community feeling. Worst case, quiet quitters might even have a negative impact on the work environment.

Skills development opportunities may prevent quiet quitting

So how do you prevent quiet quitting in your organization? We know that there is a strong link between quiet quitting and workplace dissatisfaction. Unhappy employees are usually less engaged, motivated, or willing to go the extra mile. 

According to the LinkedIn Learning Report, 94% of employees stay longer if provided opportunities for learning and development. Furthermore, 87% of millennials expect their employers to invest in their skills (Gallup).

Investing in skills development might therefore be an effective way of keeping your employees happy and engaged. An internal academy of relevant training provides opportunities for growth and career advancement, which boosts the sense of purpose. Personalized learning journeys spark motivation and help set up both long and short term goals.

Developing skills is a rewarding feeling while it builds confidence in the day-to-day work. With a strong skills capital, your employees will feel empowered. At Learnster, we are confident that learning organizations are less likely to suffer from quiet quitting.

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