Tips for resolving conflicts with quiet quitters

Your colleague does the bare minimum at work, only contributes ideas in a meeting when called upon, and has zero initiative. With your constant prompting and reminding, it almost feels like you are his/her full-time baby sitter.

After some reflection on your part, you realise that your colleague may just be a “quiet quitter”. While “quiet quitting” may have made headlines lately as a new workplace trend, experts say the term is another fancy word for “chronic disengagement”.

Joe Galvin, chief research officer of executive coaching organisation Vistage Worldwide, noted the six following signs to look for when it comes to quiet quitting, according to a Forbes article.

  1. Disengagement on a chronic basis.
  2. Performance only to the minimum set of performance standards
  3. Isolation from other members of the team
  4. Withdrawal from any non-necessary conversations, activities or tasks
  5. Attendance at meetings but not speaking up or taking action
  6. Teammates report a sudden increase in their workload in having to pick up the slack

Find out what motivates them

While it is easy to generalise and blame them for workplace conflicts, Galvin advises managers to take the high road and find out why they act the way they do.

For instance, some workers may feel too burned out to contribute further. Some workers may feel disgruntled, overlooked for a promotion or raise, and are acting out passive-aggressively.

Gen Z and millennial workers, in particular, are active at work and make valuable contributions, but prefer to prioritise their mental and physical health. Their boundaries may come across as disengagement and “quiet quitting” to some. 

How to address disengagement

Hybrid and remote work arrangements make it easier for workers to mask “quiet quitting” behaviours. As such, managers should solicit feedback and information from their team members, and foster a two-way conversation about performance and career paths.

It also helps to check in on their physical and mental health, and if they are experiencing stressful situations in their personal lives.

Perhaps they are disillusioned with the long hours and unrealistic targets. Or they feel they are not being compensated fairly. Some of them may feel that their personal time is disrespected, or their projects are not progressing on schedule due to bureaucracy. These are common reasons why employees may feel unmotivated at work.

It doesn’t pay to be quiet quitter

A survey by found that quiet quitters, or people who do the absolute bare minimum at work, are some of the most annoying people at work.

The survey, conducted among 1,005 full-time employees across the US in a variety of sectors, found that more than six-in-ten (62 per cent) say they are annoyed with the quiet quitting trend.

In addition, more than half (57 per cent) say they have recently noticed a colleague who has “quiet quit”. This same group of respondents revealed that they had to take on more as a result. The findings also revealed that both Baby Boomers and Gen X are most annoyed with the quiet quitting trend.

As such, it is in the interest of team camaraderie to root out such behaviour, before it destroys staff morale and leads to more discontent among your staff.

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