Quiet quitting: Whose fault is it?

Ishika Gupta • April 11, 2023

.quiet quitting' written below the torn page with employee figures standing around

Have you ever felt like giving up on something you were passionate about because the environment 🌏 around you stifled your growth? Or have you seen talented individuals leave their jobs 🏃 or abandon their dreams silently, without any explanation?

If you have, then you might have witnessed the phenomenon of 🤫 “quiet quitting”, a troubling trend that is on the rise in India.

Quiet quitting, also known as silent quitting or unspoken quitting, refers to the act of employees or individuals disengaging from their work 🥱or aspirations without openly expressing their discontent or dissatisfaction.

It’s a silent protest ✊, a quiet rebellion, where people choose to leave their jobs, projects, or ambitions without making any noise. Instead of confronting the issues head-on or seeking solutions, they opt to quietly withdraw, often due to various reasons such as toxic work culture, lack of opportunities for growth, unrealistic expectations, or mental health concerns 😵.

The impact of quiet quitting might not feel significant at first because they’re not abandoning the core activities – they’re just not going beyond them. But for many companies, a workforce that is willing to go beyond the call of duty is a critical competitive advantage. 

The reality is that what we’re currently doing for engagement is not enough and not solving the real life problems of the employees. Even though most companies have some sort of engagement program in place, employees are still more disengaged than ever. 

So, how prevalent is quiet quitting in India?

Let’s take a closer look at some shocking data 🤯.

  1. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 70% of Indian professionals have considered quitting their jobs due to work-related stress 😨. Out of these, 56% have actually left their jobs without discussing the issues with their employers 👨‍💻.
  2. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 🏢 reported that the labor force participation rate in India has been declining 📉 steadily over the years, from 55.9% in 2004-05 to 49.8% in 2017-18. This suggests that a significant number of people are withdrawing from the workforce without actively seeking alternative employment, indicating a potential prevalence of quiet quitting.
  3. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) 😷 highlighted that India has the highest rate of work-related suicides 💀 in the world, with an estimated 230,000 suicides attributed to work-related stress and poor mental health in 2019 alone. Many of these cases could be linked to quiet quitting, where employees  choose to end their lives ⚰ instead of openly addressing their work-related challenges.

Stressed employees shouted by boss

These data points clearly highlight the alarming rise of quiet quitting in India. But why is it happening, and what are the implications?

No open communication

One of the primary reasons for quiet quitting is the prevailing work culture in many organizations in India, which often prioritizes hierarchy, conformity, and obedience over open communication , feedback, and empowerment.

Employees may feel discouraged or fearful to express their concerns, opinions, or aspirations openly, fearing repercussions, backlash, or ostracization. Continuous feedback and open communication concerning their problem and health are necessary at a workplace. 

Increasing stress and low work-life balance

Moreover, unrealistic expectations and lack of growth opportunities also play a significant role in quiet quitting.

Many employees in India face immense pressure to perform exceptionally, meet unattainable targets, or balance multiple responsibilities without adequate support or resources. When they feel stuck 🤷‍♀️, stagnant, or unfulfilled in their roles, they may choose to quit silently instead of raising their concerns or seeking alternatives.

Image showing a illustrative women balancing work and life
A page that shows I quit in a box with mugs, plants and stationary in it.

Mental health stigma

Another crucial factor contributing to quiet quitting is the stigma around mental health 🙇‍♂️ in India. Despite the growing awareness about mental health issues, there is still a significant taboo associated with seeking help.

 In conclusion, quiet quitting is not solely the employees’ fault. It’s a reflection of the work culture and leadership within the organization.

As HR managers and leaders, it’s essential to take proactive measures to prevent quiet quitting by creating an environment where employees feel engaged, motivated, and valued. It’s time to wake up to the reality of quiet quitting and take action to ensure that your employees thrive and contribute to the success of your organization. Remember, it’s a shared responsibility, and together, we can create a workplace where everyone. 

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