quiet quitting

3 reasons why employees are quiet quitting

The expression “quiet quitting” is one of the latest controversial issues in the business world that Human Resources departments face. We want to give it some attention because of the implications it has for the psychological well-being of employees

What is quiet quitting? 

Despite the words, this is not a real resignation since it alludes to workers who do not resign from their position but rather from the extra unpaid efforts that may be expected of them. The downside is that this makes them appear as non-existent employees who resign de facto even though they remain in their jobs when they are employees who scrupulously fulfill their tasks

Therefore, the expression “quiet quitting” applies to those who perform only and exclusively the tasks assigned to them, strictly respecting the time officially allotted to them and investing in them only the necessary amount of effort, creativity, and concern to get them done. 

quiet quitting

In other words: not one more task, not one more hour, not one more overexertion. 

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Quiet quitting to commitment: truth or dare?

This is called quiet quitting and is often explained by one of the most feared phenomena in the HR headquarters of any company: the employee’s lack of commitment to their job and, therefore, to their company. 

However, doing what is necessary, required, and indispensable, strictly complying with the instructions and accurately observing the stipulated work time, should not be considered an indicator of good practice, commitment, and involvement. Is work commitment only explained through the extra resources that the employee offers the company, based on their fear of dismissal, their desire to be well regarded, and the expectation that their selflessness and generosity will be rewarded in the future?

Give it your all or go home

It seems as if the premise is taken for granted that there are only two possible attitudes for employees: give it your all or go home. That is to say, to offer more than what was agreed, more than what is necessary, and more than what is economically and non-economically remunerated, or else to resign from the position due to a lack of commitment to the company. It is considered that doing “just enough” to do the job is not enough, forgetting that, in reality, “just” also means adequate, correct, sufficient, or good. 

The employee then moves into a theoretically irreproachable role, given that they fulfill their obligations. Still, at the same time reproachable, given that they do not involve themselves further, they do not place their work commitment above any other aspect of their life. 

Understood in this way, quiet quitting, or what is considered as such, is a conception of work and of the relationship between employee and company that should be regarded as old-fashioned by now but refuses to disappear. 

For some reason – or powerful reasons – in many professional sectors, there is an inertia to consider negatively those workers who do not give their all, focusing their profession on passion, excessive motivation, or absolute dedication to the interests of the company they work for. 

This way, they probably misnamed quiet quitting may be at the heart of a serious misunderstanding between many companies and many of their employees, even though often neither party is aware of it. The company does not feel cared for by the employee, feels frustrated by an expectation and places on the employee who does what they should, but only what they should, the responsibility for the company not moving forward and, of course, the responsibility for the employee not seeing their professional development progress faster.

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Why quit “quietly” instead of actually doing it? 

Quiet quitting is a mixture of the workers’ statement (“This is as far as we have come”) and a kind of wake-up call from the employee to the company in preparation for an implicit renegotiation of the conditions of a given job (“The agreement is what it is and it is there to be fulfilled if you want another arrangement, let’s make it”). 

However, what reasons lead employees to strictly comply with their tasks and schedule without exerting themselves beyond what is necessary to perform them? 

1. Understanding the job

We could explain it through a positive and even-tempered attitude towards their work: they don’t feel it’s necessary to give more to improve, so why would they stay longer hours or push themselves harder? As these employees understand efficiency and professionalism, it is all about getting the maximum results with the minimum level of attrition. Anything outside of that is inefficient and unprofessional. 

2. Being unhappy in the company

We could also explain it through a possible negative attachment to the company, which leads them not to engage further: they don’t feel that the company behaves towards them in the same way. They may even perceive that they act worse, so why should they give what they don’t receive? 

3. Work does not come first

Other employees perceive their work with a more or less adequate level of pleasure or motivation. They do not experience work as a “passion” and do not place it at the center of their lives: their priorities are different. Still, they simply consider that work is just work: a worthy and proper method to satisfy their basic needs and that, with some luck, it helps them develop as a person, build a social network… but not much more. 

The premise of employees who consciously or unconsciously subscribe to the quiet quitting tendency is “I will not do anything for which I am not compensated in some way”. In other words, anything that falls outside of what was agreed upon and is not explicitly re-agreed also in favor of the employee is placed by that employee off their agenda. Probably unceremoniously, without remorse, without bragging about it, and without allowing it to be confused with alleged cowardice on their part to leave the company. 

quiet quitting

We care for emotional well-being in organizations

At ifeel, we understand that productivity at all costs does not make sense in the long run for any company. In other words, we work under the premise that the priority is to be well, not to produce more anyway, since the well-being of employees is one of the most potent weapons when it comes to producing better. 

Our team of psychologists, experts in well-being at work, has created an emotional well-being program for companies that can guide HR managers in this task and help the rest of the company’s members.

With this service, HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on improving the psychological well-being of the teams in their charge. If you are part of the HR department in your organization, we recommend that you try our program now and see how it could help you.

This program offers all employees a complete mental health care service that they can access in different ways depending on their needs. Those who wish to have access to an online therapy service with one of our psychologists specialized in cases like theirs or interact with one of our professionals to receive emotional support in a more specific circumstance that worries them.

Of course, in our Resources section, you can find different materials that will help you with many of your day-to-day functions as part of the HR department. For example, podcasts, HR guides on various topics (e.g., employee experience or how to design a good HR strategy), or Interviews with leading HR executives. In addition, we have a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which you can use to comply with the requirements of the Labor Inspectorate.

We hope you found this post on quiet quitting interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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