From Quiet Quitting to Quick Quitting to Quiet Constraint

First, there was quiet quitting. This was a phenomenon in which “quiet quitters” – these were actually highly motivated individuals who felt passionate about what they did – felt unappreciated and overworked. For example, during the pandemic, many people were laid off, yet the work still had to be done. That meant the workers – often managers – who remained ended up taking on that burden in addition to their own work.  

As these professionals took on the additional work (on top of their already massive workload), they began rushing through assignments at a level of quality below their personal standards. The result of being overworked and frustrated – burnout. This, in turn, caused them pull back and only complete their assigned tasks. In essence, they found themselves not quitting their jobs, as the expression may appear; rather, they were quitting going “above and beyond” their designated role.  

Next came quick quitting. It used to be known that if you quit a job in under a year, it didn’t look good in the business world. Well, recently workers are increasingly willing to walk away not only in under a year – but after only a month, weeks, or merely days on the job, according to data from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team.  

Workers don’t feel any hesitation to leave their jobs at the first sign of trouble. This short tenure rate, or STR, is measured by the fraction of positions held for less than one year. Measurement of short tenures started in August 2021 and peaked in March 2022 when STR was up 9.7% year-over-year. Today, workers are still leaving their roles quickly, but the trend has been gradually slowing down.  

Even amid economic uncertainty, due to the tight labor market workers are confident that they will easily find a job elsewhere. After all, in July’s JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report from the Labor Department, there were 11.24 million open jobs, well more than anticipated. It shakes out to nearly two job openings for every person who claim that they are looking.  

Quick quitters are often white-collar workers in tech, financial services, and professional services, according to LinkedIn. Of course, this isn’t a new phenomenon; retail workers have historically been known for quick quitting, although retail is again running counter to the trend by experiencing a decrease in this phenomenon. Quit quitting is getting more headline space because people are more open about it.  

If you think you’ve heard it all, buckle up. There’s a new potentially negative trend in the workforce… 

Enter quiet constraint. This phenomenon can be a bit more divisive than the name entails. “Quiet constraint is an emerging workplace trend where many employees hold in valuable knowledge at work, rather than sharing it with their colleagues,” Falguni Bhuta, spokesperson with Kahoot!, an educational content company in San Francisco, told FOX Business.  

So while your workers may not be quiet quitting or quick quitting, they might be withholding important information from their colleagues, according to Human Resources Director magazine. 

In a survey by Kahoot!, more than half (58%) of employees said that they withhold invaluable knowledge they could share with their colleagues. Gen Z workers exhibited this behavior more than any other generation, with 77% of Gen Zers reporting that they silently sit on beneficial information in the workplace.  

Naturally, this lack of collaboration is causing companies to lose time, money, and productivity when important information that would enable co-workers to perform their jobs more efficiently and/or make better informed decisions. 

Human Resources Director magazine also reports on the trend in withholding important information from their colleagues.  The article blames the trend – in part – on the feeling of being disconnected as a result of remote work environments. 26% of those who admitted to withholding information said they do so because they were never asked to share it, while 23% said it was because their employer did not provide them with a channel or means to do so.  Nearly 30% of Gen Zers report that they mentally check out of virtual meetings. 

nextSource insights

This latest news should be a wake-up call for more engagement across the workplace, especially with remote work environments, virtual meetings, and full-time employees engaging with contingent workers.  

Organizations need to develop a culture that encourages sharing as well as a step to provide ways to share information between departments.  

It isn’t as bleak as it may seem. For example, more than 75% of respondents said they would value an engaging knowledge-sharing platform, according to the Kahoot! survey.  

What are some options to encourage engagement and sharing? 

  • Populate project teams with cross-functional members and tie recognition and compensation to the effectiveness of cross-functional work. 
  • Conduct non-judgmental root cause analyses to understand motivations when information is withheld. 
  • Optimize meetings and employee trainings for virtual and hybrid experiences. Use rich and interactive media to create online polls, develop a humorous video or other interactions before you deliver results. 
  • Encourage a little friendly competition, when possible.  
  • Foster brainstorming sessions. Schedule a group meeting with people from a variety of departments to get a range of perspectives on a certain issue or problem.