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What is “Quiet Quitting” and how to better re-engage employees for better workplace well-being?

“Quiet quitting” has become a buzzword in the HR world, describing employees who do only the minimum required, avoiding additional tasks and deeper engagement. This behavior indicates significant disengagement, where employees are not actively invested in their roles or the organization's success, reducing their professional footprint to the bare essentials rather than resigning outright​ (job seekers)​​ (People Matters)​.

Recognizing the Signs of Quiet Quitting:

  1. Reduced Effort and Productivity: A noticeable decline in performance and initiative.

  2. Lack of Participation: Withdrawal from team activities and discussions.

  3. Increased Absenteeism: More frequent unplanned absences and tardiness.

  4. Minimal Communication: Decreased interaction with managers and colleagues.

  5. Indifference to Feedback: Lack of response to both positive and negative feedback.

  6. Decline in Quality of Work: Subpar results and missed deadlines​ (job seekers)​​ (People Matters)​​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

What could possibly be the cause?

  1. Burnout: Chronic stress and exhaustion.

  2. Lack of Recognition: Feeling undervalued and unappreciated.

  3. Poor Work-Life Balance: Overwork and insufficient personal time.

  4. Inadequate Career Development: Lack of growth opportunities.

  5. Toxic Work Culture: Negative or unsupportive work environments​ (job seekers)​​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

Addressing Quiet Quitting

Singapore ranks as the second highest among the nine countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region surveyed in terms of healthcare spending attributable to stress-related illnesses such as Chronic stress associated with mental health (anxiety, panic attack, and depression) to the physical manifestations including chest pain, circulatory problem, gastrointestinal problem, etc.

A study from Cigna Asia Care Support in 2019, shows that stress-related illnesses cost Singapore’s economy about US$2.3 billion (S$3.2 billion) per year and account for about 18% of the country’s total health expenditure (Cigna stress report, 2019).

Given the increasing focus on employee well-being, many companies are implementing proactive strategies to support mental, physical, and financial health. These efforts are critical, as the impact of stress-related issues and burnout on the economy and productivity is substantial​ (job seekers)​​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

How employers can address employee engagement and burnout proactively?

1. Improve Employee Engagement:

  • Regular Feedback: Provide constructive feedback and recognize achievements.

  • Recognition Programs: Celebrate employee contributions and hard work.

  • Career Development Opportunities: Offer training and clear pathways for advancement​ (job seekers)​​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

2. Enhance Work-Life Balance:

  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Implement remote work and flexible schedules.

  • Encourage Time Off: Promote the use of vacation days and mental health days​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

3. Address Burnout:

  • Support Systems: Provide access to mental health resources.

  • Workload Management: Ensure fair distribution of tasks.

  • Encourage Breaks: Promote regular breaks during the workday​ (job seekers)​​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

4. Foster a Positive Work Culture:

  • Team Building Activities: Organize events to build camaraderie.

  • Transparent Communication: Maintain open lines of communication.

  • Inclusive Environment: Ensure a supportive and inclusive workplace​ (job seekers)​​ (Wolters Kluwer Tech Experts)​.

By recognizing and addressing the underlying causes of quiet quitting, organizations can re-engage employees, improve productivity, and create a more positive and supportive work environment.


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