Skip to Main Content
Awards 2024
Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting; is it really a bad thing or just misunderstood?

Is quiet quitting really such a bad thing, what role do bonuses play and did COVID and remote working increase quiet quitting?

If quiet quitting is doing only what is asked of you, then what's wrong with that? Strategic planning and execution, requires everyone to play their part; not too quickly and not too slowly, you want things on time and in full. As a leader you are the conductor of the orchestra, you rely on other people to play their part as described. 'Quiet quitting' or 'working to your wage' or doing just what is asked of you shouldn't impact a businesses strategy, after all employees are doing what is expected. Or are businesses being disingenuous with what they expect?

Quiet Quitting & Bonuses.
When people do what is asked of them, should we pay them a bonus? Some business I have worked with paid bonus for just turning up; others expected 150% commitment, 150% output, complete dedication, and an 80 hour week before they would even consider a bonus. Those who Quietly Quit are really saying I don't want, expect or perhaps value your bonus structure. They don't expect more because perhaps they are happy with what they have?

I have always worked on the premise that a bonus is for going above and beyond, in terms of performance or effort; you get paid to deliver, that's your wage for the work. When you over-perform and go the extra mile, that's what a bonus is for? It's a reward, not your wage. Too many businesses and their employees confuse these two types of payments, bonuses become part of the expected wage and discretionary effort becomes unilaterally expected, although bonus payments rarely happen that way. If we want employees to stop quiet quitting we need to understand whether they want to do more than is expected; because some simply don't.

"Hello. Are you there? Come back you are now indispensable?"
COVID provided the perfect backdrop for organisations to demonstrate how essential some employees were and how dispensable others are. Of course some businesses simply failed due to a lack of income, however many that survived created a culture of them and us. Those who were furloughed and those who were not. But how many came back from furlough and thought, I need to do more, or did they realise that their worth was finite. How many remained and realised they were doing far more but for nothing extra? Were those who didn't get furloughed the loud partisans fools? Those who do more, go further for no extra pay? Have they now realised the futility in their ways? Are they now quiet quitting as it's easier to be one of the crowd than one of the few? Have the quiet quitters changed sides?

I'm not sure quiet quitting is a bad thing, some businesses may even benefit from it. But where there is quiet quitting and a reduction in that discretionary effort, it is likely a sign of poor leadership?

Log in to leave a comment


Profile picture for Cath Howard BSc (Hons)
Cath Howard BSc (Hons)
11/11/2022 13:01:35
Really interesting article, I now know what is meant by Quiet Quitting (and it's not handing in your notice & leaving without a party). Useful read about why people might disengage.