Why Quiet Quitting Happens in Marketing & How Managers Can Prevent It [Leadership Data]

While many think quiet quitting is nothing more than setting healthy boundaries, others see it as a sign of poor work ethic.

We could debate whether quiet quitting is good or bad forever. But, are workplaces actually taking the time to understand why it happens and how they can effectively and supportively address it?

In this post, we analyze data from 500 marketing leaders to learn how leaders are keeping up with quiet quitting, why they think it happens, and how they plan to navigate it.

Quiet Quitting Fast Facts

Before diving into the why and how, here are a few fast-facts to keep in mind about the state of quiet quitting:

On average, leaders think 17% of their staff are quiet quitting — but 33% of full-time employees polled in our consumer trend survey admit to doing it.
64% of marketing leaders say quiet quitting is a reflection of poor work ethic, while one-third view it as setting healthy boundaries.
77% of marketing leaders admit that it’s their responsibility to prevent quiet quitting, and 63% say it’s a reflection of poor leadership.
73% of marketing leaders say the determining factor in whether employees quiet quit is the quality of their relationship with their supervisor.
77% of marketing leaders say quiet quitting is unacceptable, but over half of them say it’s happening in their organization.

Marketing Leaders Might Underestimate Quiet Quitting

More than half of the surveyed leaders say they’re concerned about quiet quitting.

And, although 77% of leaders also say quiet quitting is unacceptable, 57% admit it happens in their organization.

Although they rightly assume it happens. our research hints they’re still underestimating how often it happens. Marketing leaders say 17% of their staff are quiet quitting, and 80% think they’d know if someone was quiet quitting,

However, in our State of Consumer Trends Report, 33% of full-time employees admitted to quiet quitting in their current job. Since this data is self-reported, it’s likely even higher than that as some might worry about disclosing their quiet quitting status.

Regardless of how often it happens, 57% of marketing leaders are somewhat to very concerned, while many worry about how low productivity and effort could get out of hand.

With that said, 64% say quiet quitting is a reflection of an employee’s poor work ethic, while only 36% view it as setting healthy boundaries at work.

Why Marketing Leaders Think Employees Quiet Quit

When it comes to the cause of quiet quitting, marketing leaders point to a handful of issues that leaders can prevent or help resolve. Here are just a few:

Lack of Accountability

According to leadership, the top reason for quiet quitting is that employees think they can get away with doing the bare minimum. In other words, a lack of accountability.

Poor Incentives

Leaders also think employees quiet quit because workers see no benefit in going above and beyond, feel burnt out, and are unhappy with the company culture.

If you’re looking at the data above and thinking that these all reflect issues with company management rather than employees trying to skirt by, you would be right. And marketing leaders know this too.

Employee-to-Supervisor Relationship

Most marketing leaders agree that it’s their responsibility to prevent quiet quitting and that the trend is a reflection of poor leadership/management.

In fact, 73% of marketing leaders say the determining factor in whether employees quiet quit is the quality of their relationship with their supervisor.

How Marketing Leaders Navigate Quiet Quitting

A whopping 66% of marketing leaders say their leadership team has explicitly discussed how to address it.

But, what solutions are they discussing or trying?

While it might not always be possible, here are few potentially simple and thoughtful ways to make employees feel happier and fulfilled at their workplace, thus — feeling more connected to their job.

Marketing leaders say motivating employees with rewards, recognizing hard-work, and offering career development or leadership opportunities are some of the most effective strategies.

After COVID-19, we all took a look at how our workplaces care about our health, mental wellness, psychological safety, physical safety, and overall well-being. And, many employees chose to leave workplaces that couldn’t keep up.

So, it’s not shocking that marketing leaders encouraged supporting employee health and well-being, emphasizing work-life balance in company culture, and offering employees flexibility in their work schedules.

If you’re worried your workplace is primed for quiet quitting due to management, lack of accountability, or other reasons, read up on these resources with expert insights from great leaders, managers, and even psychologists:

18 Strategies to Increase Employee Retention
How to Cultivate Psychological Safety for Your Team, According to Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson
Establishing Employee Wellness at Work
Remote Work Loneliness: How to Protect Mental Health When Working Remotely
6 Secrets to Achieving Work-Life Balance, According to HubSpot Marketing Managers

What Marketers Should Think About Before Quiet Quitting

While you should make setting boundaries and workplace standards key parts of the conversations you have with your manager, be cautious when entering “quiet quitting” territory.

When setting healthy boundaries, you should continue meeting the expectations of your job description and keep your colleagues in mind so they don’t have to take on extra work themselves.

If you decide to disclose that you’re quiet quitting in the workplace, keep in mind that some managers will not be pleased, while others will want to support you in setting those boundaries. Regardless, know that many marketing jobs require you to exceed the expectations of the current role to earn raises, bonuses, or promotions. Because of this, long-term quiet quitting could make upward motion difficult at any company.

Ultimately, try to keep an open dialogue about how you’re feeling in your role, what goals you’d like to reach for, what your most effective working style is, what could be holding you back, and how your team can create a positive and psychologically safe environment.

The Marketing Executive’s Playbook

Whether you agree or disagree with marketing leaders on quiet quitting, it helps to get their perspective on major industry trends.

Check out our Marketing Executive’s Playbook as well as our Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader series, for insights from leaders on their goals for 2023, the top challenges they expect, how they’re preparing for a recession, how marketers can make the greatest impact in their roles to get promoted, and much more.

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