People Leadership

From rage applying to quiet quitting: What employers should know about active disengagement—and how to prevent it

April 11, 2023

Employee engagement is a hot topic, and a lot has been said about why workplace engagement is so crucial. But the reality is that disengagement can fester at any workplace. What happens when employees are disengaged? It’s more than just yawning in meetings or checking social media during work hours. Actively disengaged employees can cause major problems for your business, from costly turnovers to lowered morale. These employees are more than just checked out—they could potentially contaminate your work culture. 

Engagement fluctuates; even your best employees won’t feel 100 percent engaged 100 percent of the time. But you shouldn’t presume that actively disengaged employees will simply bounce back. It’s important to understand and prevent active disengagement in your workplace. 

Here’s what employers should know about active disengagement. 

Rage applying and quiet quitting are increasing in popularity. 

You may have heard new terms like “rage applying” and “quiet quitting” popping up. Rage applying happens when an employee’s frustrations grow until some culminating event motivates them to apply to as many new jobs as they can. Quiet quitters are employees who are not immediately satisfied with or engaged in their role at a new company and resign within the first year. 

Rage applying and quiet quitting are gaining visibility in the media. More employees are now participating in these or other forms of active disengagement as alternatives to staying at their jobs and solving workplace frustrations with their employers.  

Like engagement, disengagement doesn’t happen overnight. 

Rage applying and quiet quitting are examples of active disengagement where employees are reacting to chronically stressful working conditions and economic circumstances. Rage applying or quiet quitting usually happen because of long buildup of frustrations, which may include: 

  • Unfair compensation; 
  • Unsatisfactory work conditions; 
  • Burnout; and 
  • Toxic work environments. 

Sound communication and recruitment strategies can help prevent disengagement. 

Disengagement can cause expensive turnover and inefficiency for employers. At the same time, rage applying and quiet quitting don’t always work out for employees. They may find themselves in a job that doesn’t align with their goals or that offers less desirable working conditions. It can therefore be in both employers’ and employees’ best interests to find new ways to handle challenging work situations. 

Tackling active disengagement starts with communication and recruitment strategies that can help build trust, meet employee needs, and prevent turnover. What strategies do HR experts recommend for this? Download our FREE Guide to Preventing Active Disengagement to learn more! This guide covers information and tips on solving employee frustrations, coaching disengaged employees, and hiring reliable talent.