Are quiet quitters holding the secret to improving your company culture?
Engagement 4 minute read

Are quiet quitters holding the secret to improving your company culture?

Megan Orr | September 14, 2023

The term quiet quitting had many organizations reeling in early 2022 with concerns about employee disengagement. But can quiet quitters actually be integral to creating strategies around better engaging employees? Keep reading to find out.

Gallup’s 2023 State of the Workplace report focuses a great deal on the concept of quiet quitting, which is described by Gallup as “what happens when someone psychologically disengages from work”. With nearly 60% of employees falling into this category, “low engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion dollars, or 9% of global GDP”.

Despite the potential costs of quiet quitters, Gallup finds that they can actually be valuable resources for your organization. From their survey, 85% of quiet quitters said that they would change their engagement or culture (41%), pay and benefits (28%), and/or wellbeing (16%) in the workplace. This data provides insight into what organizations can focus on as they work to improve employee engagement. 

Engagement or culture

As we always say at Rise, happiness at work isn’t the cause of employee engagement. It’s the result. Employee engagement plays such a critical role in organizational success and overall company culture. 

From Gallup’s survey, employees mention things like respect, recognition, and autonomy as metrics for better engagement and culture at work. Employees also cite opportunities to learn and grow, with the caveat that there should be equal opportunities across the organization. 

These are factors that are listed continuously when discussing the causes of employee disengagement, so it makes sense that they’re among the top things that quiet quitters would like to see their organizations improve. 

Pay and benefits

When it comes to pay and benefits, Gallup finds that employees want things such as higher salaries, subsidies for things like gas and other transportation costs, as well as proportional rewards for organizational success. 

Of course, improving pay and benefits doesn’t feel like a “secret” to improving employee engagement, but the degree to which employees—and specifically quiet quitters—are interested in better pay and benefits may be surprising to some. With 28% of respondents saying that better pay and benefits was what they wanted to see improved and 41% said engagement and culture, it’s evident that while pay and benefits are important, they’re not actually the most important factors to increasing retention and engagement. 


When it comes to wellbeing, Gallup found that employees consider things like longer and more frequent breaks, better work life balance, as well as improved communication as integral to improving the workplace. 

Wellbeing and work-life balance have become increasingly important since the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees want their employers to be more flexible and offer better support so that they’re able to work more effectively. 

Quiet quitters can be re-engaged with the right leadership. 

Quiet quitting has been used as a sort of fad term to scare employers about increasing levels of disengagement. However, as Gallup describes, it’s more of a psychological disengagement. Employees are setting firmer boundaries around their work-life balance and are no longer willing to do work above and beyond their job descriptions. If you want highly engaged employees, quiet quitters can be a great resource for determining what needs to improve in your workplace. 

In fact, in their report, Gallup describes quiet quitters as “your organization’s low-hanging fruit for productivity gains,” saying that if they’re coached properly, these employees can be inspired and motivated to thrive at work. 

Here are some of the ways that you can inspire and engage your employees:

  • Create concrete ways to recognize employees for their hard work and achievements. Whether it’s through employee-to-employee recognition, one-on-one manager and employee recognition, or formally through organizational awards, engaged employees want to know that their work matters. 
  • Instill a culture of growth. Employees should have many opportunities for learning and development, both at the individual level and as a whole. Your organization should also have clear pathways for growth and advancement, with regular conversations about how employees can achieve goals and advance in their careers.
  • Offer autonomy and flexibility. Engaged employees are empowered employees. Offering employees a certain level of flexibility and autonomy to prioritize tasks and choose projects based on their interests will go a long way in increasing engagement. The Harvard Business Review has found that “when managers exhibited high levels of confidence and trust in their reports, those employees were 88% more likely to experience high levels of engagement”.
  • Check-in regularly. Frequent check-ins are a great way to track employee engagement and wellbeing. Managers should check-in with their employees 1:1 consistently, but employers should also facilitate regular opportunities for employees to give and receive feedback. Things like annual performance reviews and engagement surveys are a great way to keep employees engaged.

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