Employee Satisfaction and Quiet Quitting: How Is Your Organization Doing?


Many leaders are panicking about the “quiet quitting” movement. For employers, leaders and HR professionals, quiet quitting means less productivity, lower performance, lower profitability, higher turnover, and even lower customer satisfaction.

If you’re a founder, CEO, or leader, you’ve worked hard to get where you are now, and quiet quitting probably feels at odds with your personal values. This can make quiet quitting an emotional subject, almost offensive, and makes it feel personal. Those emotions can cloud your perspective in identifying it, understanding it, and dealing with it.

Quiet quitting didn’t come out of nowhere, though. Many employees feel that they’ve worked too hard for too long. Worse yet, they often feel like their efforts at work don’t matter.

Sometimes, unsatisfied employees turn to quiet quitting to feel more satisfied with their lives.

If you think your employees are quiet quitting, your first instinct might be to blame them for being lazy. But before you do that, pause for a moment. Consider how your organization, or very often your leaders, might be contributing to the problem, too. 

Here’s the thing: Quiet quitting is a sign of low employee satisfaction and low employee engagement. When the majority of employees are unsatisfied, there are usually organizational problems hidden under the surface. 

And in most cases, you can do something to fix those problems.

Before you can take action on quiet quitting, you need to identify the problems causing it. And identifying those problems starts with tracking employee satisfaction.

Why Employee Satisfaction is Important

When employees aren’t satisfied with their jobs and workplaces, they feel less satisfied with their lives. Lower life satisfaction results in reduced energy at work. They don’t perform as well, even if they have plenty of time and talent. They don’t excel as much as they could if they were happier and more motivated.

Sometimes, unsatisfied employees turn to quiet quitting to feel more satisfied with their lives. 

Unfortunately, quiet quitting isn’t the recipe for happiness that employees hope for—never mind their employers! Work-life balance is important, but there’s a difference between balance and quiet quitting.

Employee satisfaction doesn’t just affect your employees. Lower employee satisfaction leads to lower performance. Lower performance leads to lower productivity, lower customer satisfaction, and lower sales down the road.

In other words, employee satisfaction affects both your employees’ energy levels and your company’s bottom line.

Note that employee satisfaction is not the same as engagement. Satisfaction is just a surface-level, early indicator of engagement. Measuring employee satisfaction is a way to see trends that affect engagement.

For many leaders, wanting a positive workplace community is enough reason to measure employee satisfaction. Most of us would like a world where more people are happy at work.

And even if that’s not something you worry about, the cost of low employee satisfaction should get your attention.

Employee Satisfaction As an Early Warning System

When employee satisfaction declines, that’s an early warning that things are going wrong.

It’s a warning that signals that more employees will start quiet quitting, if they haven’t already. It’s a warning that your company’s productivity is going down, and your customer satisfaction and sales will soon follow.

It’s not always obvious when employee satisfaction is going down. If you want to spot downward trends before they lead to serious problems, you need a way to track them.

If you’re worried about quiet quitting, set up a system for measuring employee satisfaction.

Measuring employee satisfaction can help you see when something is wrong. When you know your baseline, you know when satisfaction is on the decline. You know when to take action to prevent quiet quitting. The good news is that measuring employee satisfaction is incredibly easy, and can be done in a matter of just a few minutes per employee.

How to Spot Employee Satisfaction Problems Before They Lead to Quiet Quitting

Our Employee Satisfaction Survey helps you track employee satisfaction. It uses data from the standard Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS) questions to give you insights into employee satisfaction, emotional states, and engagement levels.

The standard ENPS survey questions ask employees how likely they are to recommend your company as a place to work. What’s more, when you use our Employee Satisfaction Survey, you also get a brand new measure called the Employee Sentiment Score.

The Employee Sentiment Score shows you how those ENPS responses relate to satisfaction, engagement, and quiet quitting. For example:

  • High scores suggest a degree of satisfaction, where employees are more likely to be highly engaged, high-performing culture contributors. These employees add value beyond what you pay them for.
  • Somewhat high scores suggest employees are satisfied but may not be engaged. They’re experiencing a degree of ambivalence and are vulnerable to the influences of those around them who are disengaged and dissatisfied. They may begin to show signs of quiet quitting.
  • Moderate scores suggest employees are generally unhappy with their work, their teams, their leader, or the company at large. These employees are more likely to quiet quit their jobs, and may even be experiencing some passive animosity.
  • Low scores suggest your employees feel active animosity toward their work—a problem with serious ramifications. These employees are culturally toxic and can cause long-term harm to the organization.

As a reminder, satisfaction is a more superficial measure of employee sentiment. Employee Engagement goes much deeper to understand the emotional landscape of your employees.

We usually recommend that leaders combine quick Employee Satisfaction Surveys every 1-3 months with full Engagement Surveys every 3-6 months. This strategy helps leaders stay on top of changing employee sentiment without causing survey fatigue.

You can access the Employee Satisfaction Survey through your Life Engineering organization membership. With this survey and your Employee Sentiment Score, you can quickly find pockets of discontent before they turn into quiet quitting. Then you can do more targeted engagement research to learn what the problems are.

Start Measuring Employee Satisfaction Today

Life Engineering has the tools to help organizations find and solve engagement problems. We can help you see employee satisfaction problems before quiet quitting takes off, then find ways to re-engage your team.

If you’re ready to improve employee satisfaction at your company, take the next step and sign up for a Life Engineering membership.

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