Quiet constraint? Well, but why?

The global talent crisis continues to spawn its own children! These toddlers are new-fangled concepts: Quiet quitting, quiet firing, and now quiet constraint.

Quiet constraint is briefly defined as follows: When employees refrain from sharing valuable information with their colleagues and keep it to themselves for one reason or another. It is this information that would enable others to do their jobs better. This action is actually sabotage.

The existence of this sabotage was first highlighted by a survey conducted by the global learning and development platform company Kahoot!. Kahoot!’s report suggested that quiet constraint is the current new hidden threat to corporate life. According to the data, over half (58 %) employees say that they hold in valuable knowledge they could share with their colleagues.  The Gen Z generation exhibited this behaviour more than any other generation, with 77% of Gen Zers reporting that they silently sit on beneficial information in the workplace.  This may be because this generation, defined as the first digital natives, is individualised due to their close relationship with technology and find it more difficult to adapt to teamwork.

The answer to the question of why workers were holding in information is also interesting: 26 % said they were never asked and 23 % said their employer doesn’t provide them a channel or means to do so.

Even more interestingly, more than three-quarters of employees said they would value an engaging way to share knowledge.


What is the difference between quiet quitting and quiet constraint?

For several months now, there has been a debate on quiet quitting. But what distinguishes this new concept from quiet quitting?

Our answer is very short: We are talking about different reflections of the same thing.

If quiet quitting is a heading, quiet constraint is a subheading describing only one of the accompanying behavioural patterns.

The only difference may be that quiet quitting is a more passive action, while quiet constraint can be considered a more deliberate and active action.


While quiet quitters only do the work assigned to them and do not interfere with the rest, people who have a tendency towards constraining quietly only hear the questions they are obliged to answer and are not interested in the rest.

For the quiet quitter, the profitability and efficiency of the company, the success of the projects, and the performance of their team are no longer important. So do employees who tend to constrain quietly. The information they restrict or withhold may be the information that prevents their company from taking steps.

In both cases, employees show their lack of engagement to their jobs and workplaces. In our opinion, both concepts indicate a serious employee engagement problem.


What do the experts say?

We also looked at the statements of experts commenting on the issue of quiet constraint. Some of them think that conditions encourage employees to focus more on their personal needs, this process turns into quiet quitting, and at the point where individuality comes the concept of quiet constraint emerges. According to this point of view, quiet constraint is considered as a step beyond quiet quitting.

Experts describe this acceleration as a major risk for organisations. According to IDC, a global market research company, the cost of lack of information to Fortune 500 companies is at least 31.5 billion dollars a year.

On the other hand, it is stated that healthy sharing of information can increase productivity by 10-40%, as well as helping companies avoid repeated mistakes.

Amy Morin, psychologist and host of the podcast “The Verywell Mind”, analyses the phenomenon from a psychologist’s point of view and argues that it occurs when individuals start to compete instead of cooperating.

Whatever the reason, quiet constraint sets the dominoes in motion within a company:

  • Lack of communication leads to lack of information.
  • Mistakes are repeated.
  • Repeated mistakes create a multi-faceted negativity from customer dissatisfaction to sales figures.
  • Productivity and profitability figures decrease.
  • Performance of teams is negatively affected.
  • Presence of quiet quitting or quiet constraint creates unhappiness among employees.
  • Continuation of this viral state reduces employee engagement.


With employee engagement falling, we are returning to where we started the circle. Quiet quitting and/or quiet constraint are increasing. It’s a complete vicious circle. 


This is exactly where the importance of keeping the pulse of employees in real time comes into play. Frankly, we don’t mind sprinkling a bit of advertising in between, because that’s exactly why we developed the Moodivation technology.  We are going through a period when employee emotions change frequently for various reasons. The results of the engagement analysis we carried out in the third week of January can no longer be taken as a reference when we reach the end of July.  In any case, in every change, at every step, monitoring employees’ feelings and thoughts, collecting their feedback and using it in planning can be the solution to this quiet invasion.

Has the quietness begun?

Then initiate the dialogue and ask: What do they think? What do they want to change? How do they feel? How is their communication with their managers? Do they see themselves as part of the company they work for?