‘Quiet Quitting’: A Mark of Irrevocable Resignation Or A Reflection of Company Culture?


September 1, 2022

Workplace dynamics could be the reason employees are quietly quitting. Leaders have a chance to show that when it comes to talent motivation and well-being, commitment and contentment don’t need to fall on opposite sides of the scale.

The concept of ‘quiet quitting’ has been making a lot of noise on the internet thanks to a TiKTok video describing how some professionals are quitting the idea of going ‘above and beyond’ at work. The short video clocked up 3.5M views in the first month, dividing opinion on whether ‘quiet quitting’ helps or hurts the world of work.

Whether you think this is just a rebranding of what was previously referred to as ‘slacking off’, or one way to achieve a healthy work-life balance, ‘quiet quitting’ provides insight into the work mentality virilized by Gen Z, further animating intergenerational conversations about the world of work.

The rise of ‘quiet quitting’ comes in the wake of the pandemic, where boundaries between work and play, home and office, blurred completely. Throw in a lack of career growth and the absence of meaningful work–cited by McKinsey & Company as two of the top motivators for quitting–and you have the base recipe for resignation, whether internal (doing the bare minimum), external (leaving your job), or both.

Employee Burnout

The jury is still out on whether this attitude will encourage organizations to rethink everything from promotions to purpose, or if it is just an indicator of how broken the system is. Comments on TikTok cite a lack of recognition and a toxic work environment as some of the reasons for ‘quiet quitting’, while others share that ‘performing your duties but… no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life’ is a way of protecting mental health and increasing productivity.

Quiet Quitting

Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and CEO at Thrive, took a different stance in a post that went viral on LinkedIn. “Quiet quitting clearly entered our work conversation, but here’s why we need to keep it out of our work lives. Quiet quitting isn’t just about quitting on a job, it’s a step toward quitting on life.”

Huffington agrees that “we should absolutely reject ‘hustle culture’ and burnout,” but the answer to that lies not in going through the motions at work or doing the bare minimum, but in finding a job that “inspires you, engages you and brings you joy.”

Thinking about resign

Certainly, the principal trigger for ‘quiet quitting’ seems to be a general lack of purpose. While finding meaning is a personal journey, McKinsey has found that companies play a critical role in creating purpose. “One of the things that we were surprised to find in the research is that about 70 percent of people say they define their purpose through work,” says Naina Dhingra, Senior Partner with McKinsey & Company.

“So what that means is that people are looking for opportunities in the work they do day-to-day to be actually contributing to what they believe their purpose is.”

While the mission of a company should not be molded to the fancies of its talent, leaders should be looking to co-create a purpose-driven culture at work–not least because employees who say that they live their purpose at work are six times more likely to want to stay at the company.

A purpose-driven work culture can be defined as one that puts people at its core–creating community through recognition, building careers through continuous feedback, and fostering trust through flexibility. Organizational culture dictates purpose, productivity and profit–and when culture is done right, all three can rise.

Employee Engagement StarMeUp

StarMeUp is a behavioral science-based solution that helps organizations create a purpose-driven culture–retaining talent, boosting performance, and fostering a sense of belonging at work. Culture saves the workplace, and StarMeUp gives companies the tools they need to co-create the culture they deserve.

Looking to put your leadership development aspirations into action?

Discover how StarMeUp can help you create a culture that puts people first.

Let’s talk

Join us and find out more about what the power of culture and technology can do for your company.

Visit our website and follow us on Instagram, FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter


Future of Work Trends, Quiet quitting, workplace culture


Build a world-class employee experience today

Speak to our team