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Is “Quiet Quitting” A Thing?

Many employers are scratching their heads trying to understand the “quiet quitting” phenomenon and how to address it. Senior Director of HR Strategic Placements at HR Works, Adrienne Schleigh, recently had the opportunity to sit in on a panel with other HR professionals and Even Dawson at WXXI Public Broadcasting Council to discuss the topic. Here are some key takeaways:

Is this a new issue, or is this a continuation of what employers have faced over the last 20+ years? Gallup polls show little change in overall engagement levels, which would suggest it’s not necessarily a departure from the norm. However, when digging into the data, we see two key segments of employees who have seen a significant drop in engagement since the middle of 2021: Gen Z and managers.

Is this a true shift in expectations of Gen Z employees, something that could define their generation’s approach to employment? It’s too soon to tell. Absolutely nothing about these past two years has been normal in the workplace, and we are coming off of what can only be described as a period of employment trauma. No one escaped it completely. But who did it impact most? Arguably those who were just entering the workforce and had no real concept of what “normal” was and, due to their relative inexperience, needed guidance and structure the most…ie. our Gen Z workers. On top of that, we are experiencing a hot jobs market that is unmatched since well before these employees were born. And so, we have a generation of workers who were thrown into a career with daily turmoil, little structure, and are now being bombarded with new job opportunities with salaries that quickly adjusted to the job market…ie. more money.

Should the lack of engagement and/or quick job changes be a surprise? Probably not. However, this poses a prime opportunity for employers to seize the moment and help employees heal from the initial blow they received stepping into a Covid-torn workforce.

How can employers respond? Well, the good news is we don’t need to start from scratch…we just need to listen to the themes we’ve heard (and perhaps ignored…) for some time now… Remember when your Gen X said they wanted work-life balance and flexibility? What about when your Millennials said they wanted that…plus growth and development, too? Well, you can now add fair and equitable pay and a connection to your internal company community to those lists.

You see, while it may be too soon to tell if quiet quitting will define Gen Z, it’s not too soon to tell that each generation rightfully has certain expectations of employers. Whether or not an employer gathers the input from employees and then starts to implement changes will determine if they can move the needle on employees who are quiet quitting.

Listed to the full conversation at: Discussing “quiet quitting” (

Struggling with the recruitment or retention of a Human Resources professional?  Reach out to HR Works today!

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Adrienne Schleigh | Senior Director, HR Strategic Placements
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HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.