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Employees ‘Quiet Quitting’? It’s time to take a deep dive into your organisational culture

Written by Staff Writer

February 21, 2023

By Nelly Mohale, Head of Human Capital at Decusatio

Research highlights that the greatest effect of the pandemic is the perspective shift of employees on the value of work. In short, employees want a greater sense of work-life balance. The desperate need for this balance is fueling phenomena such as “Quiet Quitting” which describes disengaged employees. 

What is Quiet Quitting and why is it happening?

According to Zack Khan, a 24-year-old software engineer and musician in New York whose quiet quitting video has gone viral on TikTok, quiet quitting is when employees are “no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life.” It is when employees disengage and become demotivated in the workplace. A kind of protest against an imbalance between work and life. Quiet Quitting is dangerous because the employee continues to do their job duties and is not necessarily disobedient, but they use strategies to avoid exerting more effort beyond what is required that could affect the wider company morale. This includes employees declining to volunteer, only accepting simple tasks, or making excuses about being too busy to assist supervisors or coworkers. 

Despite the fact that the phrase “Quiet Quitting” is new, the phenomenon is not. Leaders have long struggled with the issue of disengaged employees. According to Gallup, disengaged employees cost the world $7.8 trillion, confirming that this is a huge global issue. The Society for Human Resources Management’s survey found that 51% of HR professionals stated that quiet quitting is indeed real with 36% confirming that it was actively occurring in their workplaces. 

Quiet Quitting starts when your organisational culture fails to create a perceived environment that upholds employee health and well-being and encourages a healthy work-life balance. A staggering 60% of the surveyed HR professionals who were actively facing this problem said that the main cause was the post-pandemic culture mainly highlighting the inability to preserve culture in a virtual setting. What makes matters even worse is that 28% of the quiet quitters are in managerial positions. This finding raises an even bigger concern as culture cannot endure without committed skilled managers who set the tone for the rest of the company.


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How to effectively deal with quiet quitters

Employees either quietly perform the bare minimum or leave the company if there is a disconnect between their perceived company culture and what your brand promise is to your employees in terms of their well-being. To effectively deal with Quiet Quitters, organisations need to go beyond just prioritising employee wellbeing and make sure they implement employee assistance programs. Creating a culture that drives excellent employee experiences that speak to each individual is crucial to effectively engage employees. You need to have open and sincere dialogues with your staff. By giving employees a platform to discuss their challenges openly, you can help to keep them engaged. Additionally, follow-through is essential. Many employers get it right by creating safe spaces for employees to speak up about their challenges but when it comes to implementing changes to support employees, they fail. Promises to improve and assist your workers are not enough. Taking action demonstrates to staff members your seriousness, sincerity, and support. Employees’ faith and work ethic can often be restored when they see management’s attempt to implement solutions, even if it is not perfect. 


Your culture is either fulfilling your promises and empowering employees to be engaged – or it produces Quiet Quitters. An organisation that openly acknowledges its flaws and inadequacies is superior to one that pretends to be something it is not. High performers are more likely to stay with a company that is honest with them, even about unfavorable topics, than one that appears to be playing games. Make sure you implement promises to build a favourable company culture that retains top talent.


Nelly Mohale is Head of Human Capital at Decusatio. She works with high-growth businesses to identify talent that can positively contribute to growing organisations. Nelly’s strength is building out innovative strategies to recruit talent. To find out more about some of the recent projects Nelly has been involved in get in touch with her on nelly@decusatio.co.za.

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