Could 'Resenteeism' Spark An Increase In Quiet Quitting

Resenteeism is a new workplace expression that describes staying in a job despite being unhappy and unfulfilled. In this blog we will share strategies to reduce resenteeism in the workplace.

15th May 2024

What is ‘resenteeism’?

Resenteeism is a new workplace expression that describes staying in a job despite being unhappy and unfulfilled. Concerns around the cost of living and job security mean that employees are choosing to stay where they are, but resent their employer simultaneously. Resentment in the workplace can impact companies as a whole, by having a knock-on effect on colleagues, creating decreased morale, productivity and engagement, causing further workplace conflicts.

Examples of resenteeism in the workplace might include:

  • An employee who consistently comes to work late and leaves early, putting in minimal effort because they feel unappreciated and underpaid.
  • A team member who rarely contributes ideas or participates in meetings, simply going through the motions because they don't feel invested in their work.
  • An employee who frequently takes sick days or works from home to avoid a toxic work environment, but doesn't actively look for a new job due to financial concerns.

What is ‘quiet quitting’?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to a situation where an employee decides to quit their job but does not formally announce or communicate their decision to their employer or colleagues. Instead, the employee may gradually disengage from their work, become less productive, and may show signs of disinterest in their job.

Examples of quiet quitting might include:

  • An employee who stops volunteering for new projects or taking on additional responsibilities, doing the bare minimum required to avoid getting fired.
  • A team member who becomes increasingly absent from team meetings and conversations, no longer offering ideas or feedback.
  • An employee who starts taking more frequent or longer breaks, coming in late or leaving early, and generally disengaging from their work.

How is ‘resenteeism’ impacting quiet quitting?

Resenteeism can lead to burnout and decreased job satisfaction, making employees more likely to disengage from their work and eventually quit quietly. Employees who feel overwhelmed and stressed may be less likely to communicate their concerns with their employer or colleagues, choosing instead to disengage from their work until they decide to leave silently.

Resenteeism can also create a hostile work culture discouraging open communication and collaboration. Employees who feel pressured to come to work even when they are not feeling well may be less likely to speak up about workplace issues or to suggest improvements, leading to a lack of engagement and a culture of silence.

How to reduce ‘resenteeism’

Reducing resenteeism in the workplace requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the root cause of the problem alongside the symptoms that contribute to it. Here are some strategies employers can use to reduce resenteeism:

  1. Promote a healthy work-life blend - encourage employees to take time off when they are sick or dealing with personal issues, and provide resources and support to help them manage stress and maintain their overall well-being.
  2. Provide flexible work arrangements - offering flexible working arrangements can help employees to balance their work and personal responsibilities more effectively.
  3. Encourage open communication - create a culture of open communication and encourage employees to speak up when they feel overwhelmed or stressed.
  4. Set realistic expectations - ensure that workloads and deadlines are reasonable and achievable, and provide tools, resources and support to help employees meet their goals.
  5. Provide training and development - offer training and development opportunities to help employees develop new skills and advance their careers. This can help them feel more engaged and invested in their work.
  6. Lead by example - model healthy work behaviours by consistently taking breaks, not working at weekends and late evenings, and encouraging employees to do the same.
By implementing these strategies, employers can help reduce the prevalence of resenteeism in the workplace and create a more productive and engaged workforce. This creates a positive work culture that values employee well-being and encourages open dialogue; employers can reduce the likelihood of employees quietly disengaging from their work and improve their overall employee retention.