A Day of Reckoning Coming for Quiet Quitters


A Day of Reckoning Coming for Quiet Quitters
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A new term, “Quiet Quitting” is being used these days to describe an age-old employee problem that has gained momentum since the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased acceptance of remote work.

Quiet Quitters are those employees who do only what is absolutely necessary, and no more. They lack enthusiasm, are not engaged or involved, and have no interest in doing anything beyond the bare minimum requirements of their jobs. A June 2022 Gallup survey concluded that as high as 50% of current U.S. employees are Quiet Quitters and that this outlook is most common in the 18-35 age group. 

Until now, those workers have remained on the payroll because of a severe labor shortage resulting from unrealistic expectations of a dramatic surge in business after COVID-19. In addition, an unusual number of individuals have simply dropped out of the workforce, and employers have been forced to accept lower standards and more tolerance for new hires and existing employees to fill empty positions. 

But it appears that this situation is about to change. The economy is slowing down, there is the threat of a recession, and layoffs are becoming more common. Uneasiness started with the tech companies, but it has spread to other industries and the banking system. 

Some companies have used a bell curve to identify top, average and poor performers. Quiet Quitters are most often in the poor performance category and therefore more likely to be let go. Other companies simply eliminate entire departments or subsidiaries to remain profitable. In any event, the days of workers being able to write their own employment tickets are drawing to a close, and worker capability and performance are back in vogue. Company belt-tightening is becoming common, and employee layoffs are a quick way to improve profitability. 

Quiet Quitters are that way for different reasons, and the performance of some of these individuals might be upgraded with a little company effort. Working only the official hours, and no more, could be important for family caretakers or those with more than one job. Some may be unhappy with their position or their immediate supervisor for legitimate reasons. A few may be burned out from long hours or unreasonable management requests. Some younger workers may be obsessed with “quality of life” dreams that may never give them happiness. At the bottom, a few simply don’t care, and others aren’t actually capable of doing the work. 

Now would be a good time for management personnel to meet privately with those Quiet Quitters who might be vulnerable to a layoff. Make the effort to find redeeming qualities or opportunities for improvement. Are they missing a sense of purpose in their jobs? Do they lack a feeling of belonging to the organization because they are working remotely? Do younger workers know what is truly expected of them? What would give them the feeling that they are doing something important? Is there a way in which they could be given more of a vested interest in the company’s success? 

Saving even a few Quiet Quitters would be a good company investment in the long run. Try it.  

Jack Goodhue, management coach, can be reached at

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