Quiet Quitting: Meaning, definition & how to prevent it

Quiet Quitting

You have probably heard of the internet phenomenon and workplace trend "quiet quitting". But what does it really mean? How did it come about? And how do you prevent quiet quitting in your organization?

What is quiet quitting?

"Quiet quitting" describes a 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 comes first. For some, that means setting up clear boundaries and not taking on additional work. For others, it simply means not going above and beyond. In other words: no more desk lunches, staying late, or attending non-mandatory meetings.

Where did it come from?

Quiet quitting is the result of a number of changes in the workplace. Downsizing, budget cuts, and covid-related crisis handling gave employees extra work and responsibilities (in some cases against their will). On top of that, hybrid work blurred out the line between work and personal life. As a result, workers started to expect more from their employers. When their needs were not met, they felt overworked and under-appreciated.

Implications of quiet quitting


Is quiet quitting a bad thing? Not necessarily. A small dose can actually be a healthy step in the right direction towards work-life balance for those who struggle to maintain just that. 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 unhappy employees quit is a bad thing. But 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 engaged employees to maintain its competitive advantage. In return, most employees need challenges and stimulation in order to thrive. In addition, doing the bare minimum can increase the workload for other colleagues.

Reducing involvement at the workplace, employees might miss out on the things that make life at work enriching, such as culture, social events, and community feeling. Quiet quitters might also 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 make an effort. 

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 development, which boosts the sense of purpose. Personalized learning journeys spark motivation and help set up both long and short term goals.

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

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