Understanding ‘Quiet Quitting’ in Industrial and Manufacturing Industries

Did you know that the industrial and manufacturing industries are two of the biggest industries in terms of employment? On a global scale, these sectors recruit tens of millions of employees every year. In 2023 alone, global apparel manufacturing businesses have recruited over 9 million people, while electronics manufacturing companies have recruited over 17 million people.

With these many people involved in the daily operations of factories and other manufacturing facilities, there are bound to be some issues within the company that can lead to employees quitting their jobs. One of the labor trends to watch out for at the moment is a phenomenon known as quiet quitting.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Essentially, quiet quitting is when an employee does only the bare minimum to accomplish their required tasks. They consciously avoid going above and beyond their assigned responsibilities, which can, in turn, impact your company’s overall productivity. Even if they fulfill their primary tasks, they are less willing to engage in other activities, such as staying late, attending non-mandatory meetings, or showing up early.

The reactions of many managers across various industries have been mixed. While some have been tolerant because of the tight labor market, others have been more aggressive, firing employees who they assume are slacking off.

Although this phenomenon has been present for a few years now, it came to a head in 2022 and became more widespread. At that time, Gallup reported at least 50% of U.S. workers have been quiet quitting, which brings up the question: why does this happen?

The Causes of Quiet Quitting

There are several reasons why your employees may consider quiet quitting, but it all boils down to a disengaged workforce. Several main variables cause these employees to disengage:

  • Lack of Growth Opportunities: When employees feel stagnant, they may not feel motivated to work. Especially with the younger generations, having a clear career path is important. If growth opportunities are vague in your company, there’s a high chance that you’ll experience quiet quitting from discouraged employees.
  • Toxic Workplace: When businesses prioritize their profit over their employees’ well-being, the employees feel less valued and less motivated to work. When their physical and mental well-being is being jeopardized, they will be more inclined to quit their positions in search of something better.
  • Poor Compensation: For some employees, compensation is their top priority. When they find that their salary doesn’t change if they increase their level of effort, they stop giving the company their 101%. They instead, “act their wage.”
  • Excessive Workload: Employees can only take so much within their working hours. That said, if employers or managers assign them more tasks than what they’re capable of accomplishing, then they might feel discouraged and unmotivated to work.
  • Poor Communication: The only way for employees and employers to build a lasting relationship is if there’s consistent communication between the two. Employees can share their concerns, and employers can find ways to solve them. But if there’s poor or no communication happening, it’s almost impossible to eliminate internal problems and create a conducive work environment.

The Impact of Quiet Quitting on Your Company

On the surface, quiet quitting might not seem to be affecting your company in a big way since these employees are still technically doing their jobs. But if your employees continue down this path, it can have negative impacts on your facility’s operations.

Reduced Productivity

Because employees are doing the bare minimum, the quality and quantity of their output are affected, which, in turn, can impact the productivity of your factory. Since industrial facilities follow a rigid workflow, one employee’s lack of efficiency can impact the rest of the employees’ efficiency. As a result, you end up producing fewer products to distribute to your clients.


Disengagement is another consequence of quiet quitting. If your employees lack the motivation to work or feel dissatisfied, they can disengage and detach themselves from their work and the company at large. Their output quality and collaboration with other members of your faculty will suffer. Both issues can affect your reputation and internal processes.

Decreased Mental Health

When employees quiet quit as a result of excessive workload, poor communication, poor compensation, lack of growth opportunities, or a toxic work environment, they can suffer from mental health issues. These mental health issues can trigger further problems that can impact the well-being of your facility.

Perhaps, due to their poor mental health, they get sick or stop getting to work on time. These struggles will hinder their ability to work for your company.

Granted, many positions in industrial facilities are more focused on physical labor. But when an employee’s mind is not 100% present, it will be difficult — and maybe even dangerous — for them to work on complex jobs.

Increased Cost for the Companies

To combat the negative effects that quiet quitting brings about, your company will be forced to shell out more money to either hire new people, invest in more efficient equipment, or alter daily operations.

Quiet quitting not only impacts the finances of your business directly. It also costs the nation’s economy around $450 to 500 billion yearly.

Signs and Clear Employee Behaviors To Watch Out For

To avoid this phenomenon’s negative effects, you need to watch out for early signs of quiet quitting so you can find ways to mitigate the situation as soon as possible. These include:

  • Employees are cynical about anything and everything
  • Employees not finishing their projects on time
  • Employees showing signs of stress
  • Employees being micromanaged
  • Employees feeling overworked

When these signs appear, be sure to implement strategies so you can protect not just your employees but your business at large.

How Do You Prevent Quiet Quitting?

There are several strategies you can implement to prevent quiet quitting in your factory. These include:

  • Earned Wage Access: Give employees the chance to get 50% of their salary ahead of payday.
  • Employee Feedback: Foster better communication between employees and employers.
  • Regular Check-ins: Allow managers to see for themselves how each of their employees is faring on-ground.
  • Training and Learning Opportunities: Give the workforce a chance to grow their skills and move toward their career goals.

All of these strategies can keep your employees from quiet quitting and engage in a more conducive work environment. Remember, by prioritizing their well-being, you too can keep your company’s profits and reputation intact — and improve them.

Practice these effective strategies so you can prevent quiet quitting and enhance daily operations.