A Caring Culture: The Antidote to “Quiet Quitting”

Quiet Quitting image

You may have seen a new workplace trend that has made it out of TikTok and into mainstream media coverage: ‘Quiet Quitting.’ The term itself has sparked lively debate; it does not refer to employees leaving their positions. Rather, quiet quitting is the term people are using to say no to the expectation that they go “above and beyond” their regular duties or work hours. It means completing the tasks, working the hours that your job description requires, and not pushing yourself to the point of burnout.

The inception of this movement -and the catalyst for many social transitions we have seen over the past two years- is the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘great resignation’ has seen workers voluntarily leave their jobs in search of new positions with better conditions like improved pay, benefits, and workplace flexibility. People don’t necessarily want to “quit.” What they want is for their employers to enable them to set healthy boundaries at work and have time to take care of themselves and their families.

‘Quiet quitting’ reveals troubling fissures in mainstream American workplace culture and expectations. Employers, including those of us in the nonprofit sector, often expect employees to regularly go “above and beyond,” their job descriptions. With the impact of COVID-19 and the great resignation, many nonprofits are understaffed, causing staff in adjacent positions to be overburdened. If we find that staff members are acting disengaged, this may also be caused by how they’ve been treated by supervisors and colleagues, and whether they feel that people in the organization truly care about them.

When employees know we care and our organization’s actions demonstrate caring consistently over time, miracles can happen. Our upcoming hybrid annual conference, ‘This is the moment to care…and CONNECT!’, on October 18-20, 2022, is dedicated to providing both the inspiration you crave and the practicalities you need to create a strong caring culture in your organization.

With a hybrid virtual and in-person format, the conference will present sessions on creating a caring hiring process, how to transform your office space into a place of wellness, diving into the science behind self-care and creating a healthy workplace, and more.

The following are some caring practices and policies that we have utilized at Maryland Nonprofits that have contributed to high staff retention, commitment, and satisfaction:

  • Ensuring a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a cornerstone for positive workplace culture
  • Listening to staff and communicating how their input is utilized
  • Providing sufficient paid time off and encouraging employees to use it, including vacation time, sick time, a week in August when the office is entirely closed, and flexible as-needed administrative leave
  • Actively encouraging employees to rest and not work when they are sick
  • Checking in with colleagues who are ill, facing grief, or need extra help
  • Addressing overload and other factors that lead to burnout
  • Providing frequent positive feedback
  • Celebrating successes

We hope you will join us in making ‘quiet quitting’ obsolete in our workplaces as we take proactive steps to be part of the movement to create workplace cultures that care. We look forward to seeing you at our conference in October!

Heather Iliff is President & CEO of Maryland Nonprofits, responsible for advancing the organization’s vision to create a highly effective, ethical and equitable nonprofit sector that drives change through collective action and advocacy.