Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Loud quitting: the evolution of quiet quitting

If it wasn’t enough for employers to deal with the quiet quitting trend, they’re now faced with its harsher sibling, the loud quitter.

Quiet quitters and the great resignation made waves in the news during its peak – that’s not to say it’s over – but the method of outright quitting has completely changed as of recent.

What is loud quitting?

Loud quitting is the new emerging form of quitting, which involves being vocal with frustration or taking aggressive actions before quitting.

And it’s happening a lot.

In fact, a report from Gallup found almost one in five employees are loud quitting. A statistic that large means it’s likely your organisation is already experiencing this, or it might in the very near future.

On the other hand, the term called quiet quitting is used to describe employees who are no longer engaged with their work, but aren’t actively looking for a new job either. Quiet quitting employees won’t go the extra mile and are doing the bare minimum to get by, but remember the keyword is ‘quiet’.

There’s no proclamation of being frustrated or telling co-workers about their actively disengaged behaviour at work. The employee has effectively ‘quit’ their job, mentally at least.

However, the overarching theme of employees feeling disengaged is alarmingly high. Nearly 6 in 10 employees are quiet quitting and it costs the global economy $8.8 trillion. At least half of the global workforce are actively or passively searching for another job, and it seems as though most are simply unhappy.

With statistics so high, it’s important to understand that dismissing quiet quitting or loud quitting can be detrimental to your business.

Why loud quitting is damaging

A quiet quitter is still effecting the objectives of a business with their silent disengagement, but the loud quitter is far more dangerous to the employer and employees.

Loud quitting involves being vocally resentful towards their employer and discussing this negativity with co-workers. It comes in many forms, and none are better than the other.

Loud quitting employees might make resentful and harmful comments about their employer or colleagues in public, at the office or on social media. They could refuse to complete their work, or worse, sabotage team projects and cost their business a lot of resources.

This form of quitting is very disruptive, especially when it effects the employees around them with negativity. Bringing down co-workers can affect their productivity and cause issues with their own managers, before we know it there’s a domino effect.

  • Spreading negative comments about management or co-workers.
  • Intentionally obstructs business objectives.
  • Frequently mentions quitting their role to multiple people.
  • Using social media to defame the business.

Why an employee might loud quit

Everyone has their own reasons, but here are some possibilities from what we’ve seen so far.

Unhappy with pay or benefits

Not everyone gets a pay raise, and often times many workers are relying on this monetary increase, or at least looking forward to it. It’s important to remember that not everyone ‘loves what they do’, and many people only work for money. While it’s not a reason to have destructive behaviour in the workplace, it often does lead to it.

Having an ideal range of benefits is also a big factor in our new age of flexible work conditions. Engaged employees often express their mental health is better and job satisfaction is greater when given hybrid benefits. But the current return-to-office trend might not be doing these loud quitting employees any favours, especially when it alters their work life balance.

Overworked & underappreciated

We all have a different outlook on how much work is too much, but an overworked employee is likely to lash out quicker than anyone else. Considering stress levels of employees across the globe is at a record high, it’s safe to say that being overworked can be a contributor of loud quitting.

Being underappreciated as a result of poor management can lead to strong resentment towards senior team members. Employees which put constant and receive little to no recognition might eventually decide to stop altogether.

Problem’s with co-workers or managers

It only takes one bad argument to change someone’s attitude in the workplace.

Whether it’s a disagreement with a manager’s approach, or a gossip gone wrong with a co-worker, bad relationships at work will attribute to feelings of confrontation and quitting. Although successful managers can navigate this situation better than others, it’s still difficult to remove angst between employees.

How some employees are loud quitting

Unlike quiet quitters who do the bare minimum but cause no hassles, the loud quitter creates problematic situations.

Here are a few examples.

An ultimatum: often the most challenging scenario for a manager to tackle, but loud quitters might approach their manager and say “do this or else I quit.” It creates a toxic situation and ultimately places the manager in a situation where an immediate decision must be made, which of course has ramifications.

Going public with complaints: some employees take their problems to social media. Naturally, negative social media publicity is damaging for the business but can also be catastrophic for the employee if gone wrong. Future employers could be hesitant to take you onboard and you’re burning bridges between businesses.

Filing a law suit: although an uncommon occurrence, some employees threaten to file a law suit against their employer’s on the basis of unfair treatment.

What can employers do?

Most of the time, a loud quitter is too far gone to recover.

Their level of resentment towards the company and employees could be at a stage where too much damage has been done.

But a quiet quitter can be saved. Why?

Quiet quitters aren’t causing havoc around the office, but loud quitters are intentionally damaging business objectives, team culture and reputation.

In fact, Gallup’s report mentions that 85% of quiet quitters would feel motivated to get back on track if engagement or team culture, pay and benefits, along with wellbeing were better considered. It gives smart managers a chance to recognise individuals who were once motivated but now uninspired, to coach back into a positive and productive routine.

It’s easy to assume that your workplace is unaffected by this phenomenon, but a quick look at the statistics indicates otherwise. The importance of having engaged workers in your team can be the difference between a productive business with costs under control, and a negative workplace environment which is unable to retain staff.

Overall, it’s not all grim news but it’s concerning to see consecutive trends of the great resignation, quiet quitting and now loud quitting.

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Amy Menzies

Amy Menzies

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