How Humanizing the Workplace is Effective to Prevent 'Quiet Quitting' and Keep Your Employees Engaged

Thursday, 15 September 2022

The newest buzzword in the workplace is quiet quitting. Although it seems like an employee quitting their job, it actually refers to a revolt against the 'hustle culture' or hustling mentality of going above and beyond the call of duty.

Maybe some of the younger generation employees at your company have been anonymously sharing their experiences on TikTok or Twitter, taking a quiet quitting mentality as an option in the workplace since it has become the latest trending topic in social media for the past few weeks.

As part of providing you as the business leaders become aware of this latest trend, let's take a look at what quiet quitting is, why people do it, what that means for employers, and how humanizing your workplace can stop it from happening at your company.

What is 'Quiet Quitting'

To prevent working longer hours, these type of employees have restricted their tasks to those that directly relate to their job description. They want to create clear boundaries and perform the bare minimum with a personal reason to achieve work-life balance.

These workers are still performing their job obligations, but when they get home, they put work behind them and concentrate on other activities and hobbies that have nothing to do with work.

A few examples of quiet quitting:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for everything related to work.
  • Rejecting taking new assignments that employees perceive to be outside their job descriptions.
  • Merely follow instructions of what they need to do and do the bare minimum as expected without making an effort to go above and beyond.
  • Not willing to respond to work-related text messages or work emails sent outside of work hours on weekdays.

The ongoing pandemic might have been the catalyst for quiet quitting. Longer work hours, Zoom fatigue, and the gloomy feeling of losing control to balance work and personal life even though most people can work from home during the pandemic are some of the possibilities that cause quiet quitting.

What 'Quiet Quitting' Means for Companies

Although the term quiet quitting may become a recent trend, especially on social media, the practice is not. Employees have been discreetly quitting for many years, whether it was due to low pay, an unreasonable workload, burnout, a toxic workplace, or a lack of career advancement possibilities.

In the concept of employee engagement, those employees who choose quiet quitting are called disengaged employees.

Even Gallup's previous research on employee engagement in Indonesia in 2013 showed that 77% of employees are disengaged. Only 8% are engaged, and 15% are actively disengaged, which means that quiet quitting is not new in the workplace. Gallup's research shows that almost a decade ago, 77% of employees in Indonesia were practically quiet quitting.

Of course, quiet quitting brings negative consequences to companies, such as additional workload for other employees committed to bringing out the best of themselves at work (engaged employees), decreasing productivity levels and overall employee morale, stagnating the company's growth, and damaging the corporate culture in the long run.

How To Prevent 'Quiet Quitting' in the Workplace

Jim Harter, Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup Research, explained what engaged employees (who are the exact opposite of those who quiet quitting) do differently, "Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise because they personally 'own' the result of their work and that of the organization."

Since engaged employees are the ones whom employers want to retain in the long term, the key to preventing quiet quitting from becoming a habit in the workplace is simple, either you immediately fire those existing employees who are quiet quitters because they are an additional burden to the company, or you might want to analyze several things that probably need improvements in the people management aspects to humanize your workplace so it will systematically prevent quiet quitting to happen, such as:

#1 Humanizing Work Hours

Most employers must be aware of the dangers of overworking their employees. Not only can it lead to increased errors and work accidents, but it can also lead to mental and physical fatigue.

Quiet quitting might happen because of mental fatigue and burnout conditions some employees suffer due to long work hours. They become apathetic to what happens around them in the workplace when they cannot find solutions to those conditions.

Employers can do a few things to help in humanizing work hours:

First, they can try to schedule more breaks throughout the day. It will allow employees to take a few minutes to rest and rejuvenate.

Second, employers can offer flexible work hours. It will allow employees to choose when they want to start and end their workday, which can help them better balance their work and personal life.

Third, reduce unnecessary meetings that can take hours without a clear outcome. Fewer meetings in a day, only for an urgent thing that needs to be discussed within 45 minutes or less, will preserve your employees' energy to focus on their other priorities at work.

Sometimes I wonder when I find companies with a strong tendency to have so many meetings in a day, even until late at night, "Do they get paid just to have meetings all day? When can they focus on work and bring the expected results if they spend hours attending meetings?"

Lastly, employers can provide resources that help employees manage their time more effectively. For example, employers could provide time-tracking software or online courses on proper time management.

#2 Humanizing Compensation & Benefits

It's no secret that happy employees are more engaged and less likely to leave their company. But what is the key to keeping employees satisfied and preventing quiet quitting from happening?

Compensation and benefits play a big role in increasing employee engagement.

Here's how:

  • Offering competitive salaries and wages will help attract and retain the best employees.
  • A comprehensive benefits package will show employees that you care about their well-being and make them feel valued.
  • Creating unique employee recognition programs will show employees that their hard work is appreciated and encourage them to contribute and stay for a longer term with the company.
  • Don't forget, allowing employees to develop themselves personally and professionally by upskilling and reskilling is something they would appreciate to perform better at work.

#3 Improving Work Relationship

It has been said that trust is the cornerstone of any relationship - and this is especially true in the workplace. A recent study found that employees who trust their colleagues and leaders are more engaged in their work and less likely to experience burnout, which means less possibility for them to quiet quitting.

Furthermore, when employees feel they can trust their colleagues and leaders, they are more likely to share information and ideas openly. It prevents silos from forming in the workplace and allows for more collaboration and creativity.

So how can you improve work relationships and increase trust?

Here are a few tips:

  • Get to know your colleagues on a personal level. Take the time to learn about their interests, families, etc.
  • Be transparent in your communication with others. Share your thoughts and feelings openly, without fear of judgment.
  • Listen more than you speak, and treat others just the way you want to be treated.


Quiet quitting is a new trend in the workforce, especially in the younger generations.

Some of these young generations do it because they feel they are not being heard or valued at their job or have a false perception of their workplaces due to a lack of communication from their managers, or maybe what they see, hear, or feel at work doesn't match with their values, work preferences or future career aspirations.

Employers must be aware of this trend and take necessary steps to prevent it by analyzing their employees' perspectives, taking necessary steps to humanize the workplace, and educating them about the importance of balancing or even integrating work and life aspects.

Two-way communication is one of the key factors because gaining your employees' support for the best approach to align their individual and company goals while giving them time to enjoy their lives outside of work can significantly increase retention and make them realize that their individual contribution means a lot to the company's growth in the long run.