Psychologist, trainer, and thought leader Hema Vyas says: ‘It needn’t be, as an epidemic of quick-response sackings threatens the nation’s workplaces.
Instead, organisations must address the trend by creating a safe space for constructive, honest conversations and mitigating the collateral damage to people and businesses.
It’s no surprise that the aftermath of the pandemic has led to a change in our collective thinking. While previously we may not have questioned our part in the rat race, we learned to appreciate the quality of family time, the benefits of working from home and freedom for hobbies, socialising and exercise – and more and more employees rethought whether their work life still serves them.
The shift in consciousness saw organisations reporting a decrease in productivity, innovation, and creativity – and ultimately, business success – as increased numbers of the workforce ‘checked out’ of their roles while remaining in post, prompting the term ‘quiet quitting’ to be coined this summer. And now ‘quiet firing’ is being utilised as the one-size-fits-all solution.
But employees are not solely to blame for working to rule, says Vyas, and leaders can take steps now for a more engaged, enthusiastic and productive workforce.
What actions can leaders take?
According to Vyas: ‘Organisations and leaders need to be accountable for their team’s well-being and health; quiet quitting is often born of sadness or despondency. This could be from small disappointments, workplace grievances, personal reasons, or a sense of disconnect with work and colleagues.’
‘To be an exceptional leader, you must create the space to recognise this. Make the time within your workload to notice who may not be firing on all cylinders. Stop, question why this lack of engagement could be an offer to relieve them rather than making the quick call to get rid of them.’
Experts agree that though working from home has myriad benefits, a side effect has been that we have lost the natural ease of ‘casual conversations. These water cooler moments in the office or over impromptu drinks after work allow us to pick up subtle social cues in a neutral way, often preventing issues like burnout and disconnect from taking hold.
At the same time, home working can make it too easy to feel isolated and unable to break free from unhappiness with work. Vyas says: ‘Creating moments of engagement – whether it’s work socials, in-person meets to discuss a project, regular office as well as team away days and retreats – could be key.’
She says: ‘Honesty and transparency in that safe space allow for difficult conversations to be had where solutions can be found; if an employee isn’t excited or doesn’t feel ‘seen’ how can they be supported? Leaders need to create a work culture change with space for people to be human: the result is less friction and drama and more creativity and productivity.’
Ensuring that leaders have appropriate training and the capability, to be honest in tackling any issues openly and consciously instead of falling foul of passive-aggressive tactics is also hugely important. Constructive, transparent communication between parties allows for a person’s value to be used effectively – even if that is elsewhere, in a conscious parting of ways.
How can Hema Vyas help?
HR departments are useful to an extent, but their loyalty is often on the employer’s side: outside support is invaluable to finding active solutions that work before quiet firings loom on the horizon.
Vyas’ clients (including Google, EY, Bamford, LSE, and Soho House) say that her unique insights and objectivity have helped provide various impactful solutions and powerful perspectives that have positively changed lives and businesses.
One high-profile client said: ‘Hema speaks with passion and empathy and gets people outside their comfort zone, reconnecting with themselves, which is crucial in this frantic world.’
Hema shares: ‘I intend to take people on a journey of meaningful value. To share tools and insights that enable leaders to create a heart-led culture with exceptional leadership, mentorship, and well-being at all levels. This creates a positive ripple effect extending far beyond the individual and your organisation.’
To book a 20-minute complimentary call with Hema Vyas visit here.