Quiet Quitting: A Not-So-Silent Rebellion

Let’s get one thing straight: It’s not quitting, they’re just tired.

American workers have had enough.

Enough of their employer’s broken promises, of unhealthy work/life balance, toxic workplaces, being overworked and underpaid—and they aren’t holding back their collective disappointment.

In recent months, many have flocked to TikTok to share their stories of “quiet quitting” and stand in solidarity with their peers. The similarities between this trend and last year’s Great Resignation—a period in 2021 that saw close to 4 million workers leave their jobs each month—are staggering, to say the least. It indicates a clear and present disconnect between many organizations and their own employee experience initiatives. A disconnect that, if left unchecked, could evolve into a larger, potentially more devastating employment branding problem.

For now, at least, most folks aren’t actually quitting their jobs, they’re just choosing something new: themselves.


What is quiet quitting?

First, it’s not quitting—not exactly. Kathy Kercher, founder of Career/Life Alliance Services says, “Quiet quitting is a new term for an old concept: employee disengagement… [but it’s arriving in a moment of] unprecedented burnout.” The good news is that quiet quitting doesn’t appear to be the Great Resignation 2.0, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cause for concern. Sure, employees aren’t quitting in droves, as they did last year, but they are implementing a form of self-care that demands a more sustainable work/life balance. Essentially, many workers are no longer willing to go “above and beyond” for employers that refuse to take the needs of their workforce seriously. Here’s what that can look like:

  • Logging off at 5:00 p.m.
  • Only working on assigned tasks
  • Prioritizing family/personal life responsibilities over work
  • Not responding to after-hours messages until the next business day
  • Strictly adhering to their job descriptions—nothing more, nothing less
From an employment branding lens, this response from workers is more than understandable.

After all, the employee experience is still a relationship—one that can flourish, provided both parties' basic needs are met. For example, employers shouldn’t expect their teams to be constantly on-call, answering after-hours messages, and working in unhealthy workplaces. However, in environments where employees feel respected by their employers—that their company respects them and will take care of them—workers are more likely to take on that “above and beyond” mentality, because they’re proud to be a part of their organization. At the end of the day, it really is all about boundaries and fostering a culture of respect and inclusiveness.


So, What Can You Do About It?

Is your business witnessing an increase in quiet quitting and/or resignations? If so, now’s the time for your HR and Internal Communications teams to leverage eNPS (employee net promoter score) systems to gauge employee sentiment and engagement. Whether it be a company-wide survey, an all-hands meeting, or a platform for discussing specific issues—your HR and Internal Comms teams, as well as leadership, should be prepared to listen, discuss, and provide transparency on how they plan to address concerns and proactively work with employees to elevate everyone’s overall experience.

When people love their work and believe in their employer, they’re going to be happier and more productive.

Rebuilding the trust between an employer and an employee might not be easy, but we believe it’s absolutely worth it. After all, when people love their work and believe in their employer, they’re going to be happier and more productive. That’s why, before diving into damage control, we feel organizations would be better served by initiating an open, honest dialogue with their employee base that begins with their acknowledgment of the issues being raised, and interest in coming to a mutually beneficial resolution.


Here are a few tips on how your HR and Internal Comms teams can jumpstart your employer/employee relationship:

  • Identify and Address the Real Issues 
    • Before anything can be resolved, you must first identify the primary issues and how they impact your employees and your business. 
  • Create Communication Alignment Around an Employment Brand 
    • Employees should always be able to rely on cross-functional messaging alignment from their employer. Lack of authentic messaging, an inconsistent employment brand can lead to miscommunications. Ahead of any responses to your employees’ concerns, ensure messaging is updated, aligned, and meets brand standards. 
  • Amp Up Manager Guidance 
    • Work with people managers to create new plans for regularly checking-in with their teams to ensure workload is evenly distributed and goals are realistic. 
  • Evaluate Employee Engagement 
    • Now’s the time to take a good, long look at what engagement opportunities are available to your employees and look for ways to improve upon them. Are they realistic? Are they engaging? Do they have the potential to create new connections with team members? Regardless of your answer here, we’re of the opinion that the best path to building connections within the workplace is to always be on the lookout for new, exciting ways to create those kinds of opportunities. 
  • Reassess Employee Benefits 
    • Review current employee salaries, benefits, including mental health and emotional well-being offerings, workplace flexibility, time off policies, and overall employee satisfaction, then work together with leadership to recalibrate, as needed. 
  • Rethink Recognition & Rewards 
    • Finally, one of the chief complaints lodged by quiet quitters is being expected to go above and beyond for their employer, while receiving little-to-no recognition or additional compensation. Let’s change that. Actively practicing the art of public gratitude shows employees that they are seen, and their work is respected. Providing awards, surprise bonuses, and additional incentives to those employees adds a tangible side to your appreciation, too.

Not sure how to begin? We can help. 

Quiet Quitting is just the latest workplace trend to highlight how a bad employee experience can lead to decreased productivity, loss of revenue, and damage to your overall employment brand. Sure, it’s a scary situation to find your business in—but the good news is that it’s both preventable and fixable. We know, we’ve been there, too. Luckily, we know how to guide you through and set your employment brand up for success. 


Ready to take on quiet quitting and take control of your employment brand? Let’s talk! 

  1. Contact us. 
  2. We’ll get back to you ASAP and set up a working session to better understand your business’ specific needs. 
  3. From there, we’ll provide you with a custom-tailored plan to elevate your employment brand and help drive performance within your organization. 



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