Skip to content
Hiring Advice Engaging your workforce Why your staff might be quiet quitting
Why your staff might be quiet quitting

Why your staff might be quiet quitting

The year-end break is a chance to unwind and spend time with loved ones, but four in five employees will also reflect on their careers. It may leave them unsatisfied with their current role, and employers might need to consider ways to engage them in the new year.

According to research for SEEK, nearly half of employees (45%) think about pay, promotions, and opportunities to upskill over the holidays. People may also start questioning if their role or organisation aligns with their values and ponder ways to improve their work-life balance.

Some will kick off the new year on the hunt for new opportunities. This mission may prompt them to coast – or "quiet quit" – in their current role.

Quiet quitting has become a popular term on social media platforms such as TikTok in 2022, and for good reason: there's a lot of it about.

Globally, 19% of employees are likely to consider quiet quitting, while 30% say they have quietly quit in the past.

Why do people quiet quit?

In Malaysia, quiet quitting has been on the rise steadily in the past few years. Here are some of the reasons Malaysian employees consider quiet quitting:

  • a lack of job satisfaction

  • burnout

  • being unhappy in the workplace

  • a toxic work environment

  • wanting greater work-life balance

Incidentally, Malaysians listed most of these factors as career dealbreakers, according to Jobstreet by SEEK's Hiring, Compensation, and Benefits Report.

Employees are well aware that the power dynamic between employers and employees has shifted, giving them more confidence to weigh up their options.

Traditionally, employers have asked a lot from employees because they could. But this tactic is no longer reasonable when other companies do so much more for their people. Why settle for a 9-to-5 job with zero perks when other options provide compassionate leave, free snacks, and company-sponsored training programmes?

The bar has been raised.

What does quiet quitting look like?

Employers must recognise when and why staff are checking out and uncover ways to lure them back in and keep them motivated.

When people decide to quiet quit, they may display the following signs:

  • limiting tasks to those strictly in their job description

  • not taking on additional responsibilities

  • doing the bare minimum to get the job done

What can I do about quiet quitting?

Connect with your people

It's easy to pick up on behaviour changes when employers and employees have a good relationship based on sound communication and confidence.

On the other hand, a poor professional relationship makes it harder for you to know when your employees are coasting – and easier for them to do it. If people don't trust or feel valued by their managers, their engagement and productivity drop.

Once you have identified a quiet quitter, you must unroot the reason. It might have absolutely nothing to do with work. For example, they may be dealing with something difficult in their personal lives.

After discovering the problem, have conversations with your employee without judgement so you can learn about their concerns and challenges. Give them some autonomy to design their work in a way that works for them.

Be fair while boosting morale

There are various ways to maintain employees' respect for their work and even inspire them. ⁠Firstly, employers should adhere to the "non-negotiables." These include:

  • paying people what they're worth

  • paying people more if they receive a promotion

  • ensuring their role is sufficiently resourced

  • ensuring managers have the skills and capacity to lead well

There are many ways you can elevate employee engagement. For many people, flexibility and time off are also highly valued, often more than a pay rise. It could mean letting your staff choose their hours as long as they finish their deliverables.

Some companies have even introduced 'summer hours', where everyone knocks off at 1 p.m. on a Friday. That's a great example of meeting your people halfway, and you'll get those four hours back through loyalty.

Other ways to boost morale may include well-being sessions such as massages or yoga, social activities, and courses allowing staff to upskill.

But what may keep people motivated will vary. Engagement surveys and focus groups, as well as direct conversations between managers and teams, are the key to understanding this.

Celebrate achievement and bring staff on the journey

You must also celebrate achievements and plan the future alongside your staff.

Recognising your people's contribution is huge and doesn't have to put a massive dent in your bottom line. Heartfelt messages or handwritten cards can go a long way. At the same time, looking forward to the year ahead can make employees feel excited.

Quiet quitting is less of a concern if companies invest in managers and leaders to look after staff well. Most people care about their work and want to see themselves, their team, and their company succeed.

They just need a reason to believe in that.

Subscribe to Hiring Advice

Get expert Hiring Advice delivered to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe from emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to our SEEK’s Privacy Statement