The new expression on the block ‘silently quit’ has been going around lately. However, this behaviour may not be new. Look closely, and you may have seen it to the people around you or even with yourself. We look into what silent quitting really is, why we may experience it and what can we do to help ourselves.

What does it mean to Silently Quit and why does it happen?

Silent quitting refers to an employee disengaging from their job, experiencing the lack of motivation, and letting go of their responsibilities, all without explicitly resigning. Signs of silent quitting can include decreased productivity, missing deadlines, lack of enthusiasm, reduced communication with colleagues and superiors, and general disinterest in the job or company. You may ask why an individual may feel and act this way. Below are some factors which contribute to a disengaged employee:

  1. Poor management or leadership
  2. Lack of clear job expectations or feedback
  3. Limited opportunities for growth and development
  4. Inadequate compensation or benefits
  5. Lack of recognition or appreciation for their work
  6. A toxic work environment or poor company culture
  7. Personal or professional issues outside of work
  8. Work overload or job burnout
  9. Limited autonomy or decision-making power
  10. Feeling undervalued.
  11. Feeling disconnected from the company’s mission and values.
  12. Personal or professional issues such as family or health problems, financial stress, or career dissatisfaction.

Some may argue that the arrangement of ‘work from home’ have seen many silently quitting. By not being physically present, distance between colleagues may widen. More effort is needed to reach out and connect, should team leaders not advocate for occasional check ins.

The points above and considering ‘work from home’ as a factor, points to the need for a sense of belonging and connection as human beings.

Humans are social beings, and we have an innate need for connection and a sense of belonging. When we feel connected to others, we feel valued, supported, and a part of something greater than ourselves. This sense of connection thus creates a positive emotional state, which is essential for motivation and engagement in our work. Where there is a connection, there is a commitment.

When we feel isolated or disconnected at work, we are more likely to feel demotivated, disengaged, and disinterested. And a higher chance of silently quitting.

Additionally, feeling connected at work can create a sense of accountability and responsibility to our team members, which can also increase our motivation to work hard together and contribute to the team. Overall, feeling connected to others is a crucial factor in employee motivation, engagement, and job satisfaction.

What can leaders do to create an engaged team?

What can leaders do to create an engaged team and avoid silently quit employees.
Photo: fauxels

As a leader, it is paramount to be mindful of the work culture you are cultivating and behaviour you are promoting. To inspire teams, there are several ways one can create an engaged team, including:

  1. Setting clear goals and expectations and to communicate them effectively to ensure everyone understands are on the same page.
  2. Provide regular feedback and recognition to their team to acknowledge hard work and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration among team members, creating opportunities for them to work together and share knowledge and expertise.
  4. Invest in employee professional development by providing training, mentoring, and coaching to help them grow and develop in their roles. More importantly, to follow the training and coaching sessions closely.
  5. Foster a positive work culture that values open communication, respect, and inclusivity. A culture that promotes work-life balance and employee well-being can also increase engagement.
  6. Empower employees by giving them autonomy and decision-making power, providing opportunities for them to take ownership of their work and make meaningful contributions.
  7. Lead by example and model the behaviour they expect from their team. They should demonstrate a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and a commitment to the organisation’s mission and values.

What can employees do to avoid Silently Quitting?

In some cases, leaders may not be aware that their team is disengaged or not motivated. As an employee, it is important to approach the conversation with a positive attitude and an open mind, focusing on finding solutions to the problem. By communicating effectively with your leader, you can work together to address the issues causing your lack of motivation and create a plan to help yourself and perhaps other colleagues feel more engaged and motivated.

Employees can approach the topic by:

  1. Requesting a meeting with your leader to discuss your motivation levels and express your concerns.
  2. Being clear and specific about what is causing your lack of motivation. Give examples and explain how it is affecting your work. Or bring up what is expected of a leader in your opinion and discuss further.
  3. Being receptive to feedback from your leader and listen to their perspective on the situation.
  4. Proposing solutions to improve your motivation levels, such as changes in job responsibilities based on your strengths & weakness, training or professional development, or a change in work environment.
  5. Creating an action plan together with with specific steps, and agree on a timeline for review.
  6. Regularly following up with your leader to discuss your progress and make adjustments to the action plan as needed.

You may use the below table to help you navigate through the conversation:

How do you feel?
Why do you feel this way?
What do expect from your leader?What can your leader do to help?What can I do to help myself?
Table 1: Questions to consider and reflect

It is worth noting that a disengaged employee can be a result of something one is going through. It could be personal or professional issues, and individuals can consider confiding in family or friends, engage in activities where support can be rendered or seek professional help accordingly.


An employee silently quit when they are disengaged from their work and the organisation without communicating their concerns. This can lead to negative outcomes for both the employee and the organisation. To avoid silent quitting, employees can prioritise open communication with their leaders, take care of their mental and physical health, seek opportunities for professional growth and development, and most importantly, actively work to maintain a positive work-life balance. By taking these steps, employees can remain engaged and motivated in their work, and avoid silently quitting.

Post Image: Ron Lach