What the Data Says About Quiet Quitting


You’ve probably heard the phrase “quiet quitting,” which has been one of the most-discussed topics in business and HR circles this year. Just in case you haven’t, quiet quitting refers to a phenomenon in which employees stop making any effort to go above and beyond their job description, instead coasting by on the bare minimum of effort. The phrase was initially used on social media, but over the past few months has found widespread acceptance among team leaders and managers, who recognize that this trend is very real and likely rampant.

But what does the data show us about quiet quitting? How common is it? Is it likely to improve? And most importantly, what can employers and HR leaders do in response? Let’s dig into some numbers to find helpful answers.

How Common is Quiet Quitting?

recent study by Gallup provides some unwelcome news: There’s credible evidence to show that quiet quitters make up at least half of the U.S. workforce, potentially more. The percentage of employees who are actually engaged with their work is just around 32 percent, while the percentage that’s actively disengaged continues to grow. Gallup notes that the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now the lowest it’s been in a decade.

It’s worth noting that about 18 percent of the workforce is actively disengaged with their work, but these aren’t the quiet quitters; these are “loud quitters.” Employees who don’t identify as engaged or as actively disengaged may all be considered quiet quitters.

What’s the Root Cause of Quiet Quitting?

Clearly, quiet quitting is a big problem for business owners and team leaders… but what are some of the underlying factors that cause it?

The Gallup report offers some clarity here. Generally speaking, the bit causes of quiet quitting include:

  • Employees feel like their supervisor or manager doesn’t care about them.
  • Employees, especially younger ones, don’t see a lot of opportunities for professional development or career advancement.
  • Employees don’t know what is expected of them at work (this is especially common among those who work in hybrid or remote environments).
  • Employees don’t understand the mission of the company, or don’t see how their own position contributes to that mission.

By understanding some of the factors that lead to quiet quitting, business owners and team managers, along with HR leaders, can help create work environments that foster engagement and dissuade employees from quiet quitting.

Strategies to Curb Quiet Quitting

There are several ways in which HR might help reduce quiet quitting. Some suggestions:

  • Encourage managers to have regular check-ins with employees, helping employees to feel like they are truly seen and cared for in the workplace.
  • Make sure you clearly communicate professional development offerings.
  • Have a clearly defined, written mission statement included in employee handbooks and elsewhere. Train managers and leaders on how to articulate that mission, and how to connect it to individual employee positions.
  • Additionally, coach managers on how to be clear in expectation-setting. Also make sure employee expectations are outlined in the handbook and reviewed with regularity.

These are just a few ways in which HR can connect employees to a broader sense of purpose, potentially boosting engagement and reducing quiet quitting. We’d love to tell you more, or to help you implement some of these strategies. Reach out to WhiteWater Consulting whenever you’d like to talk.

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

About the author
Chuck Cooper of WhiteWater Consulting LLC is a member of XPX Charlotte

The greatest asset a company has is its people. We stand ready to serve when you have questions or needs regarding a comprehensive HR strategy, employee engagement and company culture.