Quiet Quitting and Great Resignation - What Companies Need to Know

camila antonucci

Camila Antonucci

September 21, 2022 • 4 minutes read

Trends such as Quiet Quitting and the Great Resignation are just as present in everyday work life in Germany as they are in the US. What these trends entail, how companies can navigate them, and most importantly, how employees reach this point—we shed light on these matters.

Quiet Quitting und Great Resignation

The Phenomenon of the Great Resignation

The pandemic has dramatically changed many aspects of our lives, and the job market is one of them. Thousands of workers have since reconsidered their values and life plans. Many prioritized time with their families and loved ones, some decided to pursue their dreams and aspirations, leaving urban centers for a quieter life. Others simply chose to quit or resign from their employers.

Nowadays, individuals feeling uncertain or dissatisfied with their workplaces consider a career change. They ponder whether their working conditions can be improved, whether this is really what they want to do, or if they even want to undergo training to change their job. This reevaluation has led to a wave of voluntary resignations since 2020, known as the "Great Resignation."

The Great Resignation is a widespread workplace resignation that began in the United States in July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has repeated worldwide. Reasons for this can also be found in poor working conditions, low salaries, or lack of flexibility leading to demotivation.

Quiet Quitting: Resigning without Ending the Employment Contract

"Quiet quitting" is the latest buzzword in the workplace. Although it may seem like quitting the job, this concept actually describes a rebellion against the culture of overwork. It refers to limiting tasks to those listed in the job description to avoid extended working hours.

In other words, it's about setting clear boundaries and building a healthy relationship with work. Setting boundaries aims to simply do the job and avoid actions associated with overload, such as responding to emails at 11:00 PM.

This type of resignation could still be a sign that a person is unhappy in their job or suffering from burnout. It could also mean that they are ready to change positions or are currently seeking another job.

Quiet quitting may sound like a novelty, but it is not a new practice. Instead, it often describes the process when employees seek a new challenge, either due to low pay, overwhelming workload, burnout, or a lack of development opportunities.

If an employee is genuinely dissatisfied, the signs are often much clearer than someone seeking a better work-life balance. Some of these signs include:

  • Non-participation in meetings
  • Arriving late or leaving early
  • Reduced productivity
  • Less contribution to team projects
  • Non-participation in planning and meetings
  • Lack of enthusiasm

Other reasons for this trend can be found, as with the Great Resignation, in the pandemic. Remote work has also altered work dynamics, as employees and managers communicate differently through online meetings, leading to alienation. Regular support that makes employees feel valued and connected can be lost. Hybrid work can be part of a solution to this problem, as it combines the benefits of remote work with the interpersonal aspect.

What can companies do about it?

Both trends are increasing with employee awareness. Employee retention is critical to the success of organizations, and companies should be engaging in measures so their employees actually continue to develop skills that are beneficial to their business.

Internal processes within organizations need to become more flexible and transparent. As the demand for talent increases, employers' terms and conditions must adapt to the times in order to remain competitive.

Here are tips on how you as an employer can retain talent:

  • Encourage open communication: employees who can openly approach their managers are much more likely to raise issues that are important to them, which impacts their engagement at work.
  • Listen to your team: Take employees' suggestions into account. This will show them that you value their input and you can take the necessary steps to improve the work culture.
  • Make sure employees feel valued: Make sure your employees receive both positive and constructive feedback to keep them motivated. You can do this through employee appraisals.
  • Maintain the mental health of your employees: Avoid overworking your team, which only leads to stress.
  • Invest in your employees: Offer your employees the opportunity to develop new skills so that their potential is encouraged.


We would like to point out that our website provides non-binding information, which under no circumstances constitutes legal advice. This also, and especially, applies to topics within the sphere of legal HR advise. The content of this contribution cannot and is not intended to replace individual and binding legal advice. For this reason, all information provided is without guarantee of correctness and completeness, but always researched with the utmost care.

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