Some equate “quiet quitting” with turning off and tuning out when the workday ends. Others more aptly call it carving out time for yourself, setting firmer boundaries around personal time and confirming expectations of what’s required to do a job well
Many employees – stressed from the global challenges of the last few years – are re-evaluating how work fits into their lives and not the other way around. Employees are affirming a commitment to balancing life and work by questioning expectations that were the norm for previous generations.
The ability to dial back and switch off from work to reduce burnout and maintain better balance is something many women and underrepresented groups are afraid to do.
Employee Burnout: A Study
A recent study from Deloitte, Women @ Work 2022: A Global Outlook, states that burnout for women has reached alarmingly high levels. Many are seeking new, more flexible working patterns, leaving their employers or the workforce entirely.
Who is most affected? The same study says that women of color are more likely to experience burnout, and are less likely to feel comfortable talking about their mental health in the workplace than their white counterparts. The ability to seek and achieve more flexibility and create solid boundaries between work and personal time is something many marginalized identities feel they cannot do, even as work cultures shift.
And according to Shaun Harper's Quiet Quitting Isn’t Really A Thing Among Black Workers, because of the representation burden that’s placed on Black workers, many feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to perform above average at work because they fear that failing to do so would result in Black people not getting hired at the company in future years.
Inclusion: The Antidote to Quiet Quitting
The Deloitte study details how inclusive cultures that support women and underrepresented groups and promote mental wellbeing, create far higher levels of engagement, trust, and career satisfaction. In these types of environments, women report that they plan to stay with their employers longer.
While The Great Resignation and quiet quitting are substantial challenges, there’s also a positive impact for organizations that “get it right” when it comes to culture.
So how does a company reduce burnout and improve employee engagement around work and the workplace?
- Prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). A people-first strategy should create trust and belonging and support balance for everyone, and ultimately create a place where people can bring their authentic selves to work.
- Make work matter. Meaningful work helps employees feel their skills and expertise are respected. People want to know that what they are doing is helping the company and its customers, and even the world.
- Get a pulse on your people. Don’t just talk to the high performers, check in with steady workers. An annual engagement survey is a great benchmark and consider regular, quick check-ins with a cross-section of employees.
- Build relationships and partnerships. DEI work must be adopted by many different groups of people in the organization, not just Human Resources or the diversity office.
- Encourage candid conversation. Create a safe place for dissenting opinions. I talk about this in my blog, Do Your Employees Feel Psychologically Safe? Belonging is a fundamental human need. To achieve their greatest potential, employees must feel accepted for who they are.
- Perform exit interviews. Find out why people are leaving and address those specific issues.
People want to find meaning and a sense of belonging in their work. Creating an environment where this is the norm will make your company stand out as a place where people can and want to do their best work.