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How to Spot the Signs of an Employee Quietly Quitting

    Employee turnover can be a significant concern for any organization, but what’s even more challenging is when an employee is quietly planning to leave. Quiet quitting is when an employee disengages, mentally checks out, and avoids any overt signs of resignation until they finally drop the bombshell. In this blog post, we will explore the signs that indicate an employee is quietly quitting and provide strategies to address this issue effectively.

    Why Quiet Quitting Matters

    Quiet quitting is problematic for several reasons. It not only affects productivity and morale but can also lead to a sudden departure without a smooth transition. Recognizing the signs of an employee who is silently planning to leave is crucial to take proactive measures to retain talent and maintain a healthy work environment.

    1. Decline in Work Performance

    One of the earliest signs of an employee planning to quit silently is a decline in their work performance. This can manifest in various ways, such as:

    • Missed Deadlines: Frequent delays in meeting deadlines or a decrease in the quality of work submitted.
    • Reduced Productivity: A decrease in output and overall productivity compared to their previous performance.
    • Increased Mistakes: A surge in errors or lapses in attention to detail.

    2. Decreased Engagement

    Engagement is a key indicator of an employee’s commitment to their job. Signs of disengagement include:

    • Lack of Enthusiasm: An overall lack of enthusiasm for their role and the organization’s goals.
    • Minimal Participation: Avoiding or contributing minimally in meetings, discussions, or projects.
    • Lack of Initiative: Ceasing to take initiative or go the extra mile to complete tasks.

    3. Withdrawal from Colleagues

    A silent quitter often distances themselves from their colleagues. This is evident when an employee:

    • Avoids Social Interactions: Stops engaging in informal conversations, gatherings, or team-building activities.
    • Reduces Communication: Decreases the frequency and depth of communication with coworkers.
    • Becomes Secretive: Acts more secretive about their work and future plans.

    4. Increased Job Searching

    As an employee contemplates leaving, they are likely to start job hunting. Signs of this may include:

    • Frequent Absences: Taking more personal days or requesting time off without clear reasons.
    • Late Hours Online: Consistently working late or being active on job search websites during office hours.
    • Receiving Calls: Taking private calls and having discreet discussions outside the workplace.

    5. Lack of Commitment to Long-term Projects

    Employees planning to leave might lose interest in long-term projects or initiatives. Signs of this lack of commitment include:

    • Disregarding Future Plans: Avoiding discussions about the future or expressing disinterest in the company’s long-term goals.
    • Unfinished Projects: Leaving important projects incomplete or passing them onto colleagues.
    • Minimal Input: Providing minimal input and effort into strategic planning or organizational development.

    6. Increased Use of Sick Leave

    An employee planning to quit might show an increase in sick leave usage. This is often a sign of their desire to disengage from the workplace without attracting attention:

    • Frequent Sick Days: Taking more sick leave without a clear pattern or apparent illness.
    • Stress-Related Illness: Reporting health issues related to stress or burnout.

    7. Disregard for Company Policies

    Quiet quitters may become lax in adhering to company policies and rules, which can manifest in various ways:

    • Punctuality Issues: Consistently arriving late or leaving early without valid reasons.
    • Dress Code Violations: Ignoring dress code or grooming standards.
    • Quality of Work: Showing less concern for quality standards and customer service.

    Addressing Quiet Quitting

    To tackle the issue of quiet quitting and potentially retain valuable employees, organizations should take proactive steps. Here are some strategies to consider:

    1. Communication is Key

    Open and honest communication is vital. Engage with employees in regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their concerns, challenges, and aspirations. Encourage them to voice their opinions and frustrations without fear of repercussions.

    2. Recognize and Reward

    Recognize and reward employees for their hard work and commitment. Offer incentives, promotions, or pay raises to show appreciation and reinforce their value within the organization.

    3. Develop a Positive Work Environment

    Create a positive and supportive work environment. Promote work-life balance, provide opportunities for professional growth, and ensure that employees feel heard and valued.

    4. Offer Training and Development

    Invest in employee development. Provide training and opportunities for skill enhancement, which can boost motivation and commitment.

    5. Foster Team Building

    Promote team building and camaraderie among employees. Encourage social interactions, team events, and activities that help create a sense of belonging.

    6. Conduct Exit Interviews

    When an employee eventually decides to leave, conduct exit interviews to gather feedback on their experience and reasons for departing. Use this information to make necessary improvements.

    7. Develop a Succession Plan

    Anticipate potential departures by creating a succession plan for key roles. This ensures a smooth transition and minimizes the impact of an employee’s departure.


    Quiet quitting can be a challenge for organizations, as it can lead to a sudden loss of talent and negatively impact the work environment. Recognizing the signs of an employee planning to quit silently is crucial to take appropriate action and address their concerns. By fostering a positive work environment, promoting open communication, and addressing employee needs, organizations can reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting and retain their valuable talent.

    Note: Information found on this site is information only and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please consult your counsel for specific legal advice.


    1. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “Recognizing the Signs of Employee Disengagement.”
    2. Forbes. “10 Warning Signs Your Employee Is Planning to Quit.”
    3. Harvard Business Review. “8 Ways to Tell If Someone Is About to Quit.”
    4. The Balance Careers. “10 Signs an Employee Is Ready to Quit.”