Everyone loves a buzz phrase until you’re an HR pro facing 2 phrases about employee dissatisfaction.

The term Quiet Quitting went viral on the social media platform TikTok, last year (2022), coined by influencer Brian Creely. A year later, Loud Quitting became the newest talked-about workplace trend.

quiet quitting vs loud quitting

On the surface, the terms seem to describe 2 volumes of the same call to action, but is this the case?

In this article, I explore the deeper meaning of quiet quitting vs loud quitting, what challenges they pose to organizations, HR professionals, employers, and employees — and how to remove them from your company vocab.

Let’s discuss…

What Are Quiet Quitters? (and how to change their tune)

While a ‘Q’ based alliteration may be uncommonly satisfying (and uncommon), it’s not completely accurate in this case. The first thing to note about Quiet Quitters is that they are not actually leaving their jobs. Quiet Quitters are employees who perform only the bare minimum of what is required of them to keep their jobs.

Some examples of quiet quitting may be:

  • refusal to take on work outside of the scope of a job role
  • leaving work at work and refusing overtime or extra projects
  • remaining silent in meetings or team chats unless expressly called upon
  • not answering emails or calls outside of office hours

At this point, you may think that quietly quitting sounds suspiciously like not being taken advantage of and overworked, and in many ways, you would be right.

The one indicator of quiet quitting commonly touted and not fitting neatly into a healthy attachment to work, is unusually high absenteeism. However, absenteeism may be your only option if your work schedule and/or employer lacks flexibility and understanding. This highlights the driving force behind most cases of quiet quitting — work-life balance.

3 questions arise from this:

  1. How can you stop quiet quitting in your organization?
  2. Should you?
  3. What is a healthy relationship with work?

Let’s tackle them one by one.

How to stop quiet quitting in your organization

Quiet quitting among employees is largely a morale issue. Employees who feel overlooked, under-compensated, or unheard can begin to disengage from their work. In more extreme cases, this can cause avoidant behavior. But for employees who want to keep their job longer, quiet quitting is a strong indicator of lack of satisfaction with one’s job.

Organizations can help prevent quiet quitting by understanding their employees’ needs and the factors that motivate them.

  • Consider your employees’ attempts to set boundaries. Respecting your employees’ life outside of work and their workload in work leads to employees who feel seen and valued and who have lower stress levels.
  • Consider your employees’ salaries and benefits.
    • Are benefits inclusive and relevant?
    • Are there pay gaps within your organization?
    • How are bonuses allocated?
    • Have salaries risen in line with the cost of living?
  • Create strong DE&I practices within your organization.
  • Seek employee advocates who can help build a positive employer brand.
  • Practice anonymous employer surveying to understand your employees and take action based on results.

Is quiet quitting a bad thing?

Quiet quitting is defined as:

completing one’s minimum work requirements without going above and beyond, bringing work home, or overachieving.

What is quiet quitting? Is it a new phenomenon? (by Jeremy Salvucci)

Quiet quitting is comparable to the Lazy Girl Job movement. In both cases, employees consciously choose to limit their effort at work to the base amount required to maintain their paycheck. Where they differ is that the ‘Lazy Girl Job’ is sought out under the self-awareness that this is all the employee wishes to give to their work from day one.

In contrast, Quiet Quitters are created in job roles by a lack of motivating, or a high level of demotivating, factors. This differentiation highlights why it’s important for employees, as well as employers, to tackle quiet quitting. Quiet Quitting is often a sign of an unhealthy work environment for at least some of your employees. This affects the mental health of your team, their productivity, and the organization’s bottom line.

Should more employees be Quiet Quitting or seeking Lazy Girl Jobs?

A healthy relationship with work is not a fixed target. Life work balance looks different from case to case. Here are some things to consider if Quiet Quitting or finding a Lazy Girl Job appeals to you:

  • Are you looking for a way to feel less anxious?
    • Anxiety about work indicates something is unhealthy for you. Quiet Quitting may be a bandaid, not a cure.
  • Have you set boundaries that have been ignored?
    • Quiet Quitting may be a step too far if you haven’t first given your employers a chance to respect your needs.
  • Quiet Quitting can lead to feelings of detachment and listlessness — you may not feel as awesome as you expect when you know you are not performing to the best of your ability or challenging yourself.

Seeking a job with requirements that suit your personal work-life balance style can provide the healthiest relationship with work… and you just may find yourself going above and beyond every now and then.

What are Loud Quitters? (and how to silence them)

Loud Quitters are employees who are severely unhappy with their work. Loud Quitters consciously undermine the organization, their managers, and peers. In contrast to Quiet Quitters, Loud Quitters are ready to leave their positions and do so in a disruptive way. Social media and ease of communication increase the power of this retaliatory behavior, and Loud Quitting should not be taken lightly by organizations.

When faced with Loud Quitting, organizations may wish to consider:

  • The workload of their employees.
    • Burnout and chronic stress are rife in the workforce.
  • Suitability of employees to their roles.
    • Employees who constantly feel in ‘crisis’ can become resentful.
  • Inclusivity practices.
    • Employees who feel ostracised or sidelined may experience strong negative emotions such as rage.
  • Salaries and benefits.
    • Salaries are the number one lever to attract talent and keep them (happy).
    • Benefits should primarily be there to keep your workforce healthy. When you care about your employees’ holistic health, they view the institution positively.

Is Loud Quitting Healthy?

The short answer is no. Loud Quitting is seen as a sign of deep resentment and rage at a person’s employers or the organization they work for.

Rage is angers less healthy sibling. While anger indicates something that needs to be changed in one’s experience, rage is a destructive emotion that can lead to acts of violence. Resentful acts of rage are not healthy for either the employee or the employer. They can create negative health implications such as high blood pressure and negatively affect the organization’s bottom line and employer branding.

Listen to Your Loud Quitters

Listening to your employees is the most effective way to cancel out the noise of loud quitters. Loud Quitters are rarely made overnight. Understanding your employees’ needs and helping them to flourish in a healthy work environment will keep the blood pressure of your team and your P&L sheet in a healthy region.

Why I Wrote This:

Ongig aims to help HR pros build healthy, diverse, and inclusive teams. Our Text Analyzer software creates awesome JDs to attract the right candidates for your roles.

Shout-Outs (at a reasonable volume):

  1. Loud quitting: what is it and why HR should be talking about it (by Mercer)
  2. What is quiet quitting? Is it a new phenomenon? (by Jeremy Salvucci)
  3. After Quiet Quitting, “Loud Quitting” Is The New Workplace Trend (by Anoushka Sharma)
  4. Quiet Quitting: A Proper Guide to a Very Real Trend (by Personio)
  5. Work Avoidance Defined: How to Mitigate Avoidance Behavior (by MasterClass)
  6. Rage vs Anger (by College of Allied Educators)

by in HR Content