Quiet quitting can hurt you, say HR practitioners

PETALING JAYA: “Quiet quitting” may be a recent term that emerged last year, but the concept has actually gone by different names in the past.

These include soft quitting, coasting, working-to-rule, disengagement or slacking off, which can happen to people’s lives, work and relationships.

Human capital development experts said such a mindset could harm one’s career and cost the country.

Workforce consulting firm Korn Ferry Malaysia country managing director Anthony Raja Devadoss said an example of quiet quitting would be those who only work from 9am to 6pm despite any urgent crisis that needs their support.

“It’s a global issue. It happens when employees feel disengaged and their needs are not prioritised despite their efforts and dedication.

“They would generally stop caring about the company or be interested in the business direction, as they are unhappy in their jobs.

“They would only do what it takes to not get fired until they find another position.

“Since they need the pay cheque, the job becomes a tick in the box,” he said.

He said employee disengagement could occur for various reasons, including low job satisfaction, lack of growth opportunities, poor work-life balance, inadequate recognition or ineffective leadership.

“Disengaged employees may still physically be present at work, but they become less productive and may mentally check out, leading to a decline in overall performance.

“If most companies condone these, it will impact the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) and even FDI (foreign direct investment), as investors would prefer to select another country to expand their operations,” he said.

For those who feel they are succumbing to the quiet quitting syndrome, Anthony Raja said they should reflect, reach out, and plan to get their head and heart back in the game.

“This could also be to find a new job,” he said.

He added that employers should also be aware of the signs of employee disengagement and take proactive steps to create a supportive and engaging workplace culture.

Executive search and leadership development firm CnetG Asia managing partner Raj Kumar Paramanathan said feelings of disengagement are more prevalent among mid-career professionals.

“They are the conduit between management and entry-level team members,” he said.

He added that employees should leverage the benefits of hybrid work and flexibility that more companies are practising now.

“It’s a pity if employees simply complete the bare minimum.

“Instead, they should consider this an opportunity to grow and expand skills to increase marketability.

“It’s harmful if workers let quiet quitting influence how they choose to behave at work,” he said.

Having coached many talents who have lost their mojo or lack motivation in the workplace, Raj Kumar said they should step up and take control.

“It includes building critical skills such as speaking up – having the courage to say ‘No’ and offer alternatives.

“These can contribute to a thriving culture by looking at the positive aspects of navigating difficult situations,” he said.

Human Resources consultant Usha Devi K. Arumugam said in the long run, quiet quitting might hinder an employee’s chance of promotion and career growth.

“Employers tend to look for employees who perform better than the job requires, be it deliverables or aptitude,” she said.

When asked, Usha Devi called on those intending to quiet quit to ponder why and analyse whether there is a way to change that.

“Find ways to change the frustration points first before quiet quitting quietly.

“Speak to others who can provide objective perspectives,” she said, adding that quiet quitting could be detrimental emotionally and professionally.

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