Quiet quitting: why it happens and 6 ways to prevent it
Should you be worried about quiet quitting? "Don't be concerned if employees are meeting expectations but not going beyond to achieve better work-life balance," says Amanda Gorman, WSPS Mental Health Consultant.
"But if an overachiever in your workplace suddenly dials back their efforts, you need to pay attention. Employees may quietly quit because they are experiencing too much psychological stress related to workplace issues."
In all, 13 workplace factors influence an employee's psychological health and safety and could prompt quiet quitting.[i] Understanding what's at play and being proactive is the key to keeping employees motivated and engaged.
Amanda outlines 6 ways to do that.
How workplace factors contribute to quiet quitting
Why do overperformers suddenly stop doing those extras? Amanda notes that it can be tied to:
- recognition and rewards. "Do your employees feel they are not being recognized for their efforts?" Rewarding and recognizing employees is essential for employee engagement, retention and creating a positive work environment.
- job dissatisfaction. Is the person frustrated because of never-ending obstacles? Is the job varied or challenging enough?
- workplace changes. "Has the person’s manager, job or workload changed to create the change in their performance?
- lack of empowerment. "It's demotivating if you are not able to offer any opinion or creative thought on what you do."
- lack of promotion. "How long is too long to hold someone in line for promotion?"
- poor workplace interactions. For instance, unfair treatment, bullying, belittling, etc.
6 ways to bolster psychological health and reduce quiet quitting
- Re-assess your workplace culture. "Is it characterized by trust, honesty, fairness, tolerance and mutual respect? Does it support employees’ psychological concerns and personal growth?"
- Upskill supervisors and managers. To build trust with employees, managers and supervisors require emotional intelligence, empathy, vulnerability, and listening skills - traits that can be learned.
- Open the door to conversations. Have an open-door policy and more one-on-one meetings where employees can ask questions and express concerns without fear of reprisal.
- Find out what motivates employees. "Use a survey to engage employees. Ask questions about their opinions on what an ideal workplace looks like. Additional questions such as, 'What inspires you to work with full attention and enjoyment?' and 'What do you believe are the top three attributes of a good manager?' can also provide valuable insights."
- Guard against burnout. Are workloads, deadlines and expectations reasonable and achievable? Do you have a policy in place that allows employees to disconnect from work during their off hours without penalty? (See 6 tips to launch a "disconnect" policy now.)
- Empower, recognize and reward employees.
- provide career advancement opportunities
- welcome ideas - Is there a better way to do the job? What are your opinions on the company’s direction or activities?
- provide extra training so employees can take on new responsibilities
- offer payment for overtime work
- continually acknowledge and recognize employees' contributions
How WSPS can help
- Mental Health Prevention Roadmap. Tools to help you develop a psychologically safe workplace.
- ThinkMentalHealth.ca, a website created by Ontario's health and safety system partners that provides access to reputable and tested mental health tools, models and frameworks.
If it’s one-on-one personalized support you’re looking for, check out our healthy workplace experts and consulting services.
- Workplace Mental Health: How Managers Should Respond (1/2 day, classroom or virtual delivery)
- Workplace Mental Health: What Health and Safety Committees Should Know (1 day, classroom or virtual delivery)
- Reducing Mental Health Stigma in the Workplace (30-minute eCourse, FREE)
- Mental Health First Aid Training (2 days, classroom)
- What does workplace mental health have to do with you? Everything.
- New survey shows safety is critical in attracting and retaining top talent
- Managers Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
- Change-making mental health conversations: 9 tactics for encouraging frank, open talk
- 6 ways to boost mental health through greater job control
- Why encouraging vacations can increase productivity and job satisfaction
- Safety in 60 Seconds: short safety tips on Psychological Safety
- Psychological Safety Blog: What you can learn from the quiet quitting phenomenon
Guides and Brochures
- What to consider when implementing a Mental Health and Safety Program in your workplace (guide)
- Our definition of health & safety includes mental harm prevention. Does yours? (brochure)
- Mental Health in the Workplace Poster
Check out our Resource Hub for additional articles, tools and downloads.
[i] Learn more about psychosocial workplace factors that influence mental or psychological health at Guarding Minds@Work, a website developed by researchers from the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions within Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Health Sciences.
The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.