His name is Dean Lindsay, although it’s not his LinkedIn name. “Quiet Quitting Keynote Speaker” is this search-savvy consultant’s new moniker, and he says it helps him get hired — at $10,000 to $15,000 a day — by companies that are sweating the latest buzzy downsizing term .
Mr. Lindsay, who has been advising companies on corporate culture issues for two decades, says that quitting quietly is closely related to burnout, work-life balance, stress management and other phenomena that have occurred before. His recipes are also largely the same.
Seeing that the viral TikTok phrase had quickly migrated from social media to the C-suite, prompting many bosses to think about how to stop employees from checking out, he didn’t hesitate to rebrand and swapping his name on LinkedIn for something catchy and up to date.
“I just fell for it,” he says.
If you’re running a business now, chances are your inbox is full of messages from experts claiming they can boost morale, foster connections, boost adoption, and various other jargon-strewn dreams come true. The people who claim to know the most about quiet cessation are real go-getters, it turns out.
The extent of the problem these consultants are trying to solve, and whether it is new, is debatable. A lot of them say it’s irrelevant. Getting people to care more about their jobs and colleagues may be an ongoing corporate mission, but it’s an important one, the argument goes. So what if it took a meme to reinforce the sense of urgency?
Some, like Mr. Lindsay, run engaging workshops full of motivating mnemonics. (It’s about the six Ps of progress, he says: joy, peace of mind, profit, prestige, pain avoidance, and power.)
Less experienced Advisors tout youth as an advantage, saying they can reach out to Millennials and Gen Z.
Still others are offering to run employee-driven charity campaigns using company funds to make people feel better about where they work.
Rising Team, a Palo Alto, California startup that sells camaraderie-building software designed to reduce quitting (silently or otherwise), just completed a second round of venture capital, bringing the total investment to $6 million .
For hiring managers, the pitches can seem endless.
Priti Patel, chief people officer at G2, a technology marketplace, says she gets emails every day about solving burnout and quitting quietly.
“I don’t count anymore,” she says.
While some prompts appear to be gimmicks, Ms. Patel says she doesn’t roll her eyes at all of them. She landed in her current position last year after initially working for the company as an independent coach on ‘conscious leadership’, which she describes as helping managers deepen their emotional intelligence.
Her take on quitting quietly is that it’s just the idea of having boundaries at work—hardly new. Still, setting the boundaries is a real challenge for managers and direct reports alike, she says, and sometimes an outsider can help set expectations that work for everyone.
Karyn Twaronite, Ernst & Young’s Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, adds that recruiters can offer valuable perspectives by representing the views of young people or others who are absent or rare in the leadership ranks. EY uses a mix of internal and external consultants, she says, and conducts quarterly “Pulse” surveys to ask if employees feel they belong with the firm — which started its consulting services last month – and audit business – and are free to be themselves.
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“These feel softer, but we know they’re critical because if people don’t think that way, they could theoretically stop,” she says. “If a consultant can help executives listen to their employees or decipher the data, that’s really important.”
Data is a key selling point for Rising Team, Facebook’s venture-funded startup,
Google and Yahoo veteran Jennifer Dulski was founded in 2020. (She says her business idea predates the pandemic, but “the timing turned out to be perfect.”) Her fledgling company begins by surveying a client’s employees to gauge the likelihood that they’ll stay. and says it can deliver a significant increase in the proportion of those planning to stay here in a few months.
Ms. Dulski, who teaches management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, wants to get colleagues to know and like each other—without resorting to hackneyed exercises like betrayal. Rising Team’s “kits,” as the software calls them, lead groups of employees through virtual or face-to-face discussions about every six weeks. A kit for a 10-person team costs $99 per month, and companies with many teams can get discounts for buying in bulk.
The idea is that workers who are invested in their peers are less likely to slack off or leave.
Money helps, too, although raises and bonuses aren’t the only ways to foster loyalty and engagement, says Tess Murphy, director of strategic partnerships at Kiva, a nonprofit microfinance organization. Their proposition to companies is that they can increase employee enthusiasm by having each employee donate a small sum — up to $50 — to a cause they love.
Kiva has led these company programs for eight years, but the turmoil of the past two years has prompted more workers to consider whether they and their employers are making a difference in the world, says Ms. Murphy. Companies, in turn, are looking for initiatives that can give their employees meaning.
Ms. Murphy says companies are asking, “‘How do we connect them and get them excited about our work?’ ”
Much of her dismay is centered on young workers who fixate on what does or doesn’t say in their job descriptions and invest too few hours for the tastes of some older colleagues, she says.
Appealing to executives confused by their greenest employees, Adam Owens quit a steady job in human resources and started his own consulting firm this year. He describes himself as an unconventional alternative to competitors with Ivy League MBAs and decades of experience. If you’re a Boomer or Gen Xer trying to figure out Gen Zers, he says, hire someone like him, a former philosophy student who dropped out of college early and built a career without the typical credentials.
Many young workers are not unmotivated, he adds, but they don’t necessarily measure success like their predecessors did or do what others think they should do. He wants to help bosses understand what really matters to these employees.
“Millennials are uniquely positioned to deal with this challenge,” says Mr. Owens. “We act as a bridge between the other generations.”
Write to Callum Borchers at [email protected]
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