Are SPACs the Next Financial Disaster Waiting to Happen?
General Motors CEO Makes 362 Times the Median Employee

Quiet versus Conscious Quitting: Impact on Millennials and Gen-Z

Creating a Supporting Culture in the Organization

I have previously pointed out in my blog that “quiet quitting” does not mean that employees outright quit their job. While employees do not stop performing their duties, they quit the idea of going above and beyond. They no longer subscribe to the hustle culture mentality that work must be our life. As you might expect, Millennial and Generation Z workers are at the forefront of the movement. Baby Boomers and Generation X workers are older and less likely to leave their jobs.

Employers need to be sensitive to the activities and relationships within the organization that might motivate quiet and/or conscious quitting. It can be a positive or negative for workplace behavior.

According to a study by Gallup and published on October 24, 2022, quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce. Many quiet quitters fit its definition of being “not engaged” at work -- people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job. Gallup found a decline in engagement and employee satisfaction among remote Gen Z and younger millennials – those below age 35.

According to research by LLC, when quiet quitters decide to do the bare minimum in their roles, they’re often pushing some of their responsibilities off on others, whether they realize it or not. Naturally, that isn’t going to go over well with some of the quiet quitter’s colleagues. In the LLC report, 62% of employees surveyed said they are annoyed by the trend of quiet quitting, with 57% stating that they had to take on extra work because a colleague had quietly quit.

The following signs of quiet quitting illustrate why this trend could be dangerous for employers. Taken to an extreme, it could bring into question one's work/life balance and wellness, and negatively affect the workplace culture.

  • Disengagement on a chronic basis.
  • Performance only to the minimum set of performance standards.
  • Isolation from other members of the team.
  • Withdrawal from any non-necessary conversations, activities or tasks.
  • Attendance at meetings but not speaking up or taking action. Quitting

“Conscious quitting” entails a choice to knowingly step back from one’s work obligations because of a practice, or lack thereof, of one’s employer. It describes employees leaving their current workplace for companies that better align with their environmental and social values. Not to be confused with quiet quitting, conscious quitting often involves actual quitting and stems from fundamental ethical and moral concerns, rather than general grievances like job dissatisfaction and limited growth opportunities.

Issues like corporate responsibility, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) have consistently ranked as high priorities among Gen Z and Millennials. However, while these concerns are nothing new, recent data suggests that conscious quitting may be more widespread than previously thought.

KPMG survey of 6,000 UK employees revealed that 20% of office workers would turn down a job if environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors were lacking, while 82% see ‘shared values’ a key consideration while finding new work. The attractiveness of these values, or lack thereof, can be seen in that one in five workers have turned down opportunities that don’t align with their values, with this portion rising to one in three for Gen Z employees ages 18 to 24.

Some reasons that lead people to ‘conscious quitting’ are:

  • An excess workload.
  • Poor compensation.
  • Blurred boundaries.
  • Lack of manager support.
  • Unclear or shifting expectations, and
  • Poor communication or conflict resolution skills.

To fend off conscious quitting, employers should create a culture that encourages employees to stay with the organization—such as loyalty, responsibility by top management, respect by management for employees, valuing others’ contributions in the workplace. and even work benefits.

Whether we’re looking at quiet or conscious quitting, Millennials and Gen Z employees are looking to join an organization whose purpose is greater than themselves and in choosing an employer.

Posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on September 14, 2023. You can learn more about Steve’s activities by checking out his website at: and signing up for his newsletter.