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Quiet Quitting in your Workplace and Three Ways to Prevent it

Posted - November 14, 2022
Worker relaxing with a stack of papers on desk
Listen to the full interview about Quiet Quitting with Mani Rego, on Youtube or on Spotify.

Quiet quitting, acting your wage, corporate coasting, DYJ: doing your job. Regardless of how you frame it, quiet quitting is making a big impact.

The term originated from a viral TikTok that described it as, “not quitting your job, but quitting the idea of going above and beyond.” Essentially, quiet quitters do what is in their job description within their allotted work day, and nothing more. 

How can you prevent it in your workplace? Here are three ways:

  • Connect with employees regularly to check your team’s temperature
  • Understand what you can change for your employees, and what you can’t
  • Hybrid work is here to stay. Hone your hybrid leadership skills.


What is Quiet Quitting?

Is it worth the concern? In the most positive light, it is a renewed commitment to life beyond the workplace. For instance, one article from CBC describes quiet quitting as a cultural shift away from the early- and mid-2010s. Until now, “hustle culture” ruled and work was prioritized over everything else. Elsewhere, some analysts describe it as an indication of poor management. Poor management because employers are demanding additional effort from workers without investing in them enough in return. Other reporters believe it’s a passive aggressive approach from the frustrated middle class who have forgotten the power of union-organizing.

One thing is for sure: quiet quitting has become an enormous challenge for leaders and HR managers. In fact, a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that over one-third of HR professionals report that quiet quitting is actively occurring within their organization. Additionally, nearly half of HR professionals polled say their organization has struggled more than usual to motivate employees to go above and beyond the scope of their work. That takes a lot of work. In Toronto alone, almost half of all desk workers say they feel disengaged from their jobs. 

We wanted to get the best advice to address quiet quitting within an organization. So, we sat down with Mani Rego, a strategic HR and DEI thought leader with over 25 years of experience. Mani gave us three great tips to prevent and address quiet quitting in the workplace.  

1. Make it a point to regularly connect with each team member.

There is a 33 percent chance that quiet quitting is actively happening in your organization. If you find your company in that segment, it should not be a surprise to you. Why? If you’re out of the loop on your team’s feelings, good or bad, there’s probably a high chance that there is quiet quitting in your ranks. 

If you are not connected to your team enough to know how they are feeling, then you are not connected to them enough to know whether they are engaged. Communicate with your employees constantly to ensure your lines stay open for any workplace challenges that arise. Mani explains the important role that managers have in this.

“There’s no way that within two years, someone who was a top performer has magically become someone who quietly quit. These are people that you’ve turned into dead wood.”

In general, it is up to the manager to always be checking the temperature of their team. Then they will know how motivated and engaged employees truly are with their work. Proactively reaching out and connecting with your team is an important practice that can help prevent quiet quitting.

Already sensing a quiet quitter in the works? Harvard Business Review recommends asking these questions at your next one:one to help re-engage employees

  • What’s your frame of mind today?
  • Who do you feel connected to at work?
  • What barriers can I remove for you?
  • What new thing do you want to learn that will excite you and help you grow?

Quiet quitter or not, make sure you have the right people on your team.

In an unhealthy leadership style, managers may skirt around the issue of disengagement and make someone’s life miserable. (Recall the recent CBC article on quiet firing). Instead, it would bode better for both parties to be respectfully direct and to address low performance head-on. At the end of the day people want to be led with respect, be encouraged, and be supported. Mani points out that leaders also need to be mindful that they can’t change an employee.

“The right HR person is going to help you make sure you have the right people on your team. They will also help you exit the people who should no longer be there.”

Working on addressing workplace conflict head-on can make a situation easier – or be a sign it’s time to move on.

Mandating back to office won’t prevent quiet quitting. Hone your hybrid leadership skills.

Any HR manager will tell you that quiet quitting is a new phrase to an old problem. However, Mani believes that part of the reason why it’s recently gained momentum is people’s post-pandemic attitudes towards work. The pandemic took a toll on everyone, and forced many people to rethink how they spend time with their family and community.

In the pandemic era, burnout impacted almost the entire workforce and nearly the same proportion of workers said that their career priorities have changed, with flexible working and job security now being a higher priority than salary and career progression. For example, a study from Gartner found that up to 39% of the workforce would consider leaving their organization if it mandated employees to go back to a fully on-site arrangement. 

Shifting employee priorities towards flexibility and better work-life balance means that managers will have to recognize those values in order to best connect with and engage their employees. As Mani said, “It’s all about knowing your people and knowing how to connect with them and making sure they feel connected to the company. All this comes down to the basics of HR and leadership and management development.”



About Dean Benard

Dean has been a professional investigator for almost 30 years, including roles as a police officer, regulatory investigator, Investigations manager, and has run Benard + Associates since 2003 where he and his team have conducted thousands of investigations in regulatory and workplace matters. Additionally, he is an advisor, consultant, coach, and leader in the investigations and conflict resolution communities. 

His background educationally includes a nursing diploma from Fleming College, yes he was first a registered nurse working in critical care and research, before he entered the investigative field. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Health Administration and Ethics from York University, a Masters of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School, and has a postgraduate certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University