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What is Quittok? And what can you do about it?

You open your inbox and see an email from your CEO with the subject line, “What the heck is this?” The email includes a link to a video from a former employee who recorded their resignation and shared it on social media.

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

Kat writes about topics in the careers, human resources, productivity, project management, and business ownership spaces.

If your stomach just dropped to your shoes, we get it. It feels like a worst-case scenario for any HR professional, but it’s also a growing trend — especially on TikTok, where the term “Quittok” is gaining steam as a hashtag and category of videos.

A quick TikTok search for #Quittok returns over 2,600 posts. And while not all of them are recordings of actual resignation conversations, plenty of them are.

There’s this one of a corporate jargon-filled performance review that ended with a resignation.


Quit My Lazy Girl Job with Me! It’s been a year since I have quit my corporate career and I never posted this meeting so I thought I would now to celebrate! I just wrote a memoir on my upbringing and what created all of the anti work philosophy I have. #corporate #lazygirljob #careeradvice #quittok

♬ original sound – Anti Work Girlboss – Anti Work Girlboss


Or there’s this one where the employee quits and calls out a toxic work culture.


honestly could have saved myself and just sent a text cause they don’t care but i had dreamt of this moment for 2 yrs. #quitting #resigning #quitmytoxicjob #cya #trafficcontrol

♬ original sound – Josie Joy

There’s a potential silver lining here: Not all of the conversations are negative. Some offer surprisingly good company publicity.

But it still marks a major shift for employers: Employee conversations that used to stay “in-house” are now out there for the world to see, share, and comment on — a concept that became unmistakably clear with the recent Cloudflare incident when an employee named Brittany Pietsch recorded herself being let go. The video racked up millions of views and tons of press.

So why are employees (particularly younger ones, considering TikTok’s users are primarily Gen Z) publicizing these potentially sensitive conversations? And perhaps even more importantly: Can (or should) you do anything about it?

Control and connection: why employees share their resignation conversations

The idea of publicly posting such a private and potentially confidential conversation feels foreign to many people — especially older generations who were taught not to bad-mouth their employers or air their dirty laundry. But for younger workers? The benefits of sharing their resignations could outweigh the potential fallout.

Building a sense of agency

“Many people use social media as a form of agency, the feeling of being in control of one’s life and one’s future,” explains Paula Caligiuri, DMSB Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University and co-author of “Live for a Living.”

Younger employees, in particular, are struggling at work — which can leave them grappling for some level of authority over their decisions, futures, and well-being.

Where previous generations might have just swallowed their concerns or written them off as normal parts of the working world, Gen Z isn’t as inclined to tolerate perceived mistreatment. The same McKinsey research showed that they’re far more likely than any other generation to point to a hostile work environment as a major impact on their ability to do their work.

Even if they don’t confront their employer directly (something they’re surprisingly unlikely to do), posting on social media is a way of calling their company to the carpet and “holding leaders accountable,” adds Rima Roychowdhury, a Gen Z Journalist and Content Creator who hosts “A Gen Z Journey,” a podcast aimed at bridging the gap between the senior and Gen Z workforce.

Controlling the narrative and perception

“Making a resignation public or sharing it with friends is a way to control the narrative,” says Paula. Think that sounds manipulative? Well, you’ve probably done the same thing before. Look back on your own resignations and you’ll see that you probably put your own spin on them when venting to family, friends, or trusted loved ones.

Maybe your employer didn’t recognize your skills. Or they restricted your development. Or they underpaid you. Or they showed favoritism. Whatever justification you gave, it’s always easier to point the finger at your employer than to accept accountability for why the role or workplace wasn’t the right fit.

Younger workers are doing that same thing, just in a far more public forum that feels intuitive to them. Sharing their resignations allows them to shape the story, manage the perception of themselves and their former employer, and ultimately feel justified in hitting the road.

Finding connection and camaraderie

Love them or hate them (we know, you hate them), these videos resonate with younger workers. “For most of us, it’s probably our first time, or among the first few times, getting fired or resigning, and acknowledging the reality of the situation is tough,” Rima says.

“Seeing others take charge of their situation and posting it gives us the confidence that we’re not alone.”

It’s natural for workers to rely on their social support systems when they experience career setbacks or make hard decisions. And, for younger employees, those support systems are often found online.

When research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General states that “people pay more attention to information they perceive to be related to themselves,” it makes sense that these resignation videos quickly pick up steam online.

Seeing sharing as normal

“Social media has shaped many people to be comfortable making their private world public,” Paula explains. That’s especially true for Gen Z, who are the first real digital natives. They don’t remember a life pre-internet and pre-social media.

For them, sharing big moments — from childbirth to divorce to, yes, even job resignations — isn’t a bold move. It’s normal (and maybe even their ticket to achieving internet fame).

What can employers do to keep conversations in-house (and offline)?

Some of the reasons why younger employees turn to social media are understandable — but that doesn’t mean these videos are advisable. As an employer, this public posting can open up a whole can of worms in terms of your reputation and employer brand.

So it begs the question: What can you do?

“Employers may be tempted to wedge fine print in employment contracts to ban them from filming such videos,” Paula says. “And that’s exactly what they shouldn’t do.” It might not even be legal to do so in some locations.

Your next reaction might be to reach out to the former employee and request that they take the video down. But that could backfire, especially when you run the risk that they’ll record and share that conversation too.

It can feel like you’re tiptoeing around a lot of tripwires here. But rest assured, there are a few steps you can take to respond to this situation with strategy and tact.

Train supervisors on how to have these conversations

Paula says the most important thing companies can do is adequately train supervisors on how to have these types of meetings and employment conversations. “Basically, you want to keep your company from going viral for the wrong reason,” she says.

When managers know how to lead these discussions with respect, honesty, and support, it could turn a negative into a positive if the employee does decide to share the exchange.

For example, take a look at all of the “manager goals” comments on this video below, compared to all of the “groan, corporate jargon” comments in the video above:


Quitting my corporate stable job that I love in this economy??? Y’all should have seen my dads face when I told him hahaha.

♬ original sound – Darby

Solid manager training leads to a more productive conversation – and exposure that helps (rather than hinders) your employer brand.

Take a hard look at your culture and employee experience

You’re asking why an employee is publicly posting about their decision to leave. But perhaps the better question to ask yourself is this: Why are they deciding to leave in the first place? What needs or expectations aren’t being met?

According to motivational psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, all humans have three innate psychological needs that are essential for well-being:

  • Autonomy: Control over work, decisions, and outcomes
  • Belonging: Sense of connection with others
  • Competence: Continued growth and development

Improving each of these elements can mean employees that are more engaged, happier, and less likely to leave — which means less potential for the dreaded “I quit” videos.

1. Autonomy

Remember that younger workers often share their resignation videos to achieve a sense of autonomy, which indicates they lack those feelings in their daily work lives.

Offering flexible work options can fuel a sense of independence, but organizations should also clearly articulate their purpose, values, and expectations.

“This clarity helps employees understand the boundaries within which they can make decisions autonomously while ensuring that those decisions are in line with the overarching goals of the organization,” says Debra Franckowiak, Organizational Psychologist at Inspired Training Institute.

2. Belonging

Gen Z expects a culture of belonging at work, but it’s something that’s undoubtedly suffered amidst remote or hybrid work arrangements and layoffs. Research form BetterUp shows that 25% of employees admit they feel like they don’t fit in at work.

Focus on ways to help employees feel like part of something bigger than themselves, whether that’s connecting their work to the company’s larger goals or offering plenty of social and bonding opportunities.

3. Competence

According to research from Handshake, 87% of undergrads say learning and development benefits are either important or essential when evaluating a job opportunity. It’s proof that employees — and especially those that are early in their careers — want chances to grow and develop new skills.

From listening to employees’ career goals and providing resources to offering helpful feedback and access to challenging projects, investing in employee development goes a long way in making them feel more valued and supportive.

When a video is posted online, the temptation is strong to jump into crisis mode. However, use it as an opportunity to look inward and make strategic improvements to these three areas. Doing so will create a more positive employee experience, which hopefully translates to more positive (or private) employee exits.

Try video stitching

Want to make lemonade from those lemons? Try using the video as part of your own marketing efforts in the form of a video stitch. It’s a technique that allows you to combine an existing video on Tiktok (in this case, the video of the employee resigning) with a video you create.

“If the public is firing shots at the company, it is an opportune moment for HR to step up and create a video stitch explaining their side of the issue,” Rima says. “It does the job of answering questions and helps with marketing, so it’s a win-win.”

“If the public is firing shots at the company, it is an opportune moment for HR to step up and create a video stitch explaining their side of the issue. It does the job of answering questions and helps with marketing, so it’s a win-win.”

Don’t use your video as an opportunity to pick the former employee’s perspectives apart. Rather, focus on how your organization is acting on that feedback to better meet employee needs moving forward.

When Rima says that “Gen Z wants more transparency,” this is a solid way to meet them where they are, take accountability, and highlight some of your upcoming changes and initiatives. However, remember to keep your audience in mind. If they’re not already in TikTok, the video probably won’t land.

Quittok: An opportunity to question, not quell

Quittok? For employers, it’s more I-don’t-like-it-one-bit-Tok. And for good reason: It’s nerve-racking to reckon with the fact that current and former employees can publicize sensitive conversations that you assumed would stay private.

But as much as the threat of virality might have you battening down the hatches or instituting punitive policies for employees who post online, treat this less as an opportunity to quell and more as an opportunity to question.

What about your culture or employee experience made them feel like they needed to resort to this? And more importantly, what can you do to address those shortcomings moving forward?

Will an employee sharing their resignation still feel like a betrayal? Of course — and posting online is likely not going to make it onto lists of career best practices anytime soon. But with the right next moves, you can transform that video from a blemish to a benefit.

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