Psychologist, trainer and thought leader Hema Vyas says it needn’t be, as an epidemic of quick-response sackings threaten the nation’s workplaces. Instead, organisations must address the trend by creating a safe space for constructive, honest conversations to take place and mitigate the collateral damage to people and business.
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 quality 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?
Organisations and leaders need to be accountable for their team’s wellbeing and health; quiet quitting is often born of a sadness or kind of despondency, claims Vyas. This could be from an accumulation of small disappointments or workplace grievances to personal reasons, or merely a sense of disconnect with work and colleagues: Vyas says that to be an exceptional leader you need to create the space to recognise this. “Make the time within your own workload to notice who may not be firing on all cylinders. Stop, question why this lack of engagement could be and 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 watercooler 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, while home working can make it too easy to feel isolated and unable to break free from feelings of unhappiness with work. Vyas says that 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, Soho House) say that her unique insights and objectivity have helped provide a range of 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 so crucial in this frantic world.”
Hema shares: “It is my intention 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 wellbeing at all levels. This creates a positive ripple effect that will extend far beyond the individual and your organisation.”
To book a 20-minute complimentary call with Hema Vyas visit hemavyas.com ENDS
Notes to editors:
Hema Vyas offers a variety of solutions for people and organisations including Retreats, Mentoring, Talks, Away Days and bespoke programs. She is currently writing a book titled ‘The Silent Heartache of High Achievers’ exploring the unseen problems high attaining individuals frequently suppress, causing sadness and disconnect in their work life that can be hidden beneath capable and competent exteriors.
For further information, images, speaking and interview requests please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
*Vyas says ‘conscious dismissal’ may of course be appropriate, freeing up space for the right person to come in and to allow the employee to find what is right for them also.