Using Employee Surveys To Combat Quiet Quitting

Philip Cleave
February 20, 2023
Overworked man quiet quitting

While the ‘Great Resignation’ was one of the major trends to come out of the Covid lockdowns, as more people left their jobs to find improved conditions elsewhere, a new phenomenon has now emerged called Quiet Quitting.

Equally disruptive, but not in such a sudden way, the disengagement caused by quiet quitting, can have a slow deteriorative effect on the performance of an individual, which can potentially impact the morale of those around them too.

But what do we mean by quiet quitting exactly? What are it’s causes and costs? And what can HR teams, or business owners do to better manage it?

Read on to get a better handle on the concept and the steps you can take to limit its impact in your workplace.

What is Quiet Quitting?

A trend that’s been slowly gaining traction in the UK, quiet quitting refers to those employees who go to work, but only put in the bare minimum in terms of time, effort and enthusiasm needed to retain their job. The individual’s doing the quiet quitting are physically present, but mentally and emotionally disengaged.

The problem with quiet quitting, is that when it becomes a major issue within your organization, it can start to erode those strengths that previously gave you your competitive edge, such as your creativity, innovation and determination.

Costs of Quiet Quitting

If that wasn’t enough, there are some wider costs of quiet quitting, which could impact your business:

Increased absenteeism

The disengagement that comes with quiet quitting, could lead to more individuals taking more time off and calling in sick more often, especially if they’re also suffering from the effects of burnout, which can be costly to a business.

Lost productivity

When staff quiet quit, they only do the bare minimum of what is expected of them.

The trouble with this, however, is that most of us operate in teams and depend on the work and efforts of others to complete bigger tasks and projects. So, if anyone is not putting in as much effort as the rest of their colleagues, it can affect the wider output and achievements of that team.

Negative impacts on your wider workplace morale

While quiet quitters only do enough work to get by, they have a tendency to display a detached or negative attitude too. This can negatively impact the morale of their colleagues and create a wider sense of uncertainty and insecurity about the stability of the company they work for.

Reputation damage

If quiet quitting becomes endemic within an organization, it also risks damaging its reputation and making it more difficult for that company to attract top talent in the future.

This is particularly the case if the reason behind a valuable employee quietly quitting is their manager. Subsequently, once that disgruntled employee finally leaves, he or she may start talking about the negative experiences they suffered with other people they know, which might have negative repercussions for that company’s reputation.

So, what are the causes of quiet quitting and what can HR teams and business owners do to better manage it, if it emergences within their own company.

That’s what we will go on to look at next.

Causes of Quiet Quitting

When it comes to the causes of quiet quitting, there are many parallels with The Great Resignation, as both are rooted in the UK workforce that has become increasingly frustrated with being overworked, while experiencing a lack of flexibility and opportunity in their roles.

There are also some additional factors that can really gnaw away at employees and put them at greater risk of quiet quitting:

Poor management

Whether it’s a lack of effective communication, direction and support, or excessive micromanagement. If staff are struggling with how they’re being managed, and can’t find some middle ground with their manager, it can harm their motivation and cause some of them to begin retreating from their role and its objectives.


While poor management can lead to stress, when it’s combined with too much work and too many deadlines, the result can be burnout.

Such constant demand to deliver, while feeling like they’ve never fully caught up with their workload can take a toll on an employees’ mental health and lead them to quietly quitting.


An employee’s discontent can be further exacerbated, if in addition to an increased workload and more responsibilities their salaries fail to increase.

Not only are there the practicalities of rising prices in the wider world to worry about, but the lack of a pay increase can also lead many staff to feel undervalued and unappreciated. This in turn can lead many to quiet quit, while they look for better opportunities elsewhere.

Work culture

While a positive work culture can have a beneficial impact on staff engagement and motivation, the opposite is true if the work culture is poor.

If an organization is beset by excessive micromanagement, harassment, discrimination and poor career progression the company culture can quickly turn toxic. And when staff don’t feel safe or supported in this work environment, they may opt to resign quietly, rather than try to confront the issue or raise a complaint.

Potential signs of Quiet Quitting

While it’s useful to know some of the potential issues behind quiet quitting, it’s equally helpful to know what signs to look out for, so you can see whether quiet quitting is a significant problem within your organization.

Fortunately, there are some notable signs that could indicate that an employee in your business could be practicing quiet quitting. These include:


An employee who was previously well engaged and active within your workplace suddenly becomes distant and uninterested. They may miss or fail to participate in meetings, or not want to contribute to project work.

A sudden performance drop-off

A usually high performing employee suddenly displays poor work performance for seemingly no reason. This could include missing targets, falling short on deadlines, or completing substandard work compared to what they usually deliver.

Behavioral changes

Sudden changes in behavior, can also indicate quiet quitting, where staff who are usually communicative and interactive with their co-workers, suddenly become withdrawn. This could be either through not engaging in conversation, no longer joining in work activities, or simply by avoiding the office altogether if that company operates a flexible working model.

Quiet quitters can also become more cynical, and more openly critical of a company and its management, or generally appear less happy overall.

Man using best practice advice to plan his next survey

How to manage Quiet Quitting

If some of your employees have reached the point where they’re quietly ‘fading out’ at work, it signals a dissatisfaction that should be discussed.

At this point you need to be asking yourself questions such as:

  • What has caused this change?
  • How can we improve their experiences?
  • Is this a problem that’s likely to be affecting other staff?

You then need to think about what actions and tactics you should take next to identify and better manage the root causes:

Listen and then invest

While many leaders often believe they know what’s best for their workforce and the best ways to maximize their performance, the best leaders actually listen to their staff and their needs.

By giving employees the opportunity to express their opinions, this can help guide where money and resources should be invested to fuel positive change. However, to make the best decisions, this requires effective listening techniques that rely on the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, which is where the use of employee surveys can pay real dividends.

Run regular feedback surveys

From running employee satisfaction surveys to check how happy your staff are with their jobs, managers and the wider company culture, to gaging their emotional connection to work and pride in expressing this to others through the use of employee engagement and Employee NPS surveys. There’s a wide range of employee surveys you can run to get a better idea about how your staff are feeling and give you a better insight about what you can do to improve their contentment, engagement and morale.

By taking the initiative to strike up a more frequent two-way dialog with your staff, it can in some cases help stop quiet quitting before it even begins.

Use feedback to improve the employee experience

The overall experiences you deliver for your staff, will also have a major impact on their engagement levels and their overall contentment and morale.

So, whether it’s initiatives to improve their work environment, or policies to improve their work-life balance and job development opportunities. Whatever it is you’re doing to try and improve your employee experience, you can use the feedback from surveys to find out more about what they love and would like to see more of.

Promote staff wellbeing

We talked earlier about the effects of burnout and how big a factor this can be in quiet quitting. Subsequently, it can be advantageous to prioritize employee wellbeing and mental health and ways in which you can help them to feel happier, healthier and more valued at work.

There are two key areas where you can make a start on this. Firstly, reducing the workload of overly stretched staff, can help combat their stress. This can be partly achieved by allowing them to focus on just one task at a time, which will also enable them to complete their projects to a higher standard.

Next, you can look to promote a better work-life balance. This can be achieved by offering staff greater flexibility about where they can work from and their working hours. And managers can also help in leading by example, in terms of maintaining healthier boundaries between work and home life.

Offer employees opportunities to develop

Nobody likes to feel like they’re standing still or being overlooked at work.

It’s important that employees feel they’re developing professionally and being challenged in their role, because when this is missing, it can breed apathy, resentment and disengagement.

Again, surveys can be used to get staff feedback and help you to identify exactly what they need in order to feel that they’re progressing and working towards their goals.

Build a positive company culture

As mentioned earlier, the company culture has a big role to play in determining engagement and contentment among staff. So, it pays to make it as good as you can.

Promoting open communications and transparency is a good place to start, encouraging employees to share their thoughts and ideas, and then actively listening to their feedback.

Try to foster a sense of community and strengthen team relationships, as it’s much harder for people to dissociate themselves when they’re emotionally connected to their colleagues. Effective ways to do this include after work drinks, team-building games and away days.

Make sure you have some way of recognizing and rewarding staff for their contributions to the business too, whether that’s an employee of the month scheme or vouchers for the biggest achievements.

It’s also important that you have a fair compensation and benefits package, which aligns with industry standards. Competitive salaries and benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans and generous paid time off can also help you to attract and retain top talent.

Reducing the effects of Quiet Quitting is crucial to keep moving forward

While it is good to have a solid understanding of quiet quitting, and have strategies for preventing and reducing it in your business, it’s prudent to acknowledge that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to completely eliminate it from your business.

If an employee has taken the decision to seek out work elsewhere, quiet quitting may naturally occur, as they gradually step off the gas before leaving your company entirely.

At this stage, you could draw on some strategies to try and retain that employee if they have previously shown good work effort and performance. Tactics here could include mapping out a future career development plan for them, offering them a pay rise match or a review of their current benefits package.

However, if the employee has already made their decision and handed in their notice, then you need to think what you can do to limit the impact of quiet quitting, as otherwise it could influence and affect other employees within the business.

If garden leave is something your company can offer, it may be worth considering this option to minimize the impact of their quiet quitting on their co-workers. Another approach could be to lessen their responsibilities during their notice period – however, it is still important to ensure they have enough work to feel productive and valued as part of the team.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to quiet quitting, as every business will be set up slightly differently. However, if you can draw on any ideas and tactics to reduce quiet quitting and its effects, it will be worth it, as this should help minimize its impact to your wider business and keep you moving forward.

Deliver better experiences and retain and attract more talent

The quality of experiences that you can deliver for your staff, has a big role to play in preventing them from quiet quitting. But you can only generate the best experiences with employee feedback and the right survey tools.


Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.