The quiet quitting phenomenon


Marion Breyer

The quiet quitting phenomenon

The quiet quitting phenomenon

Solutions that will get 2023 off to a good start

With the pandemic, the anxiety generated by unprecedented health and social contexts, an economic reality marked by inflation, and a significant talent shortage, th ways in which we work and collaborate have been profoundly transformed. Montreal’s job market has been going through major changes, including a very low unemployment rate of 4.7%, a record number of vacant positions reaching nearly 80,000, as well as accelerated changes regarding the balance of power between employers and employees.

Workers have never had so many options when it comes to professional destinations, while business leaders must be competitive in terms of creativity (and generosity) in order to retain their staff and offer stimulating and advantageous working conditions. In Montreal, the talent shortage is particularly challenging for the Information Technology sector, which is a problematic situation given the largest city in Quebec’s reputation as an international technology hub.

The quiet quitting phenomena is creating quite a buzz within the media and is seemingly gaining momentum. Pascale Brochu, Vice-President of Business Development and a relocation expert at Anywr Canada (Montreal), a leader in international recruitment, offers a few solutions that will help you keep your employees motivated and fulfilled, solutions that will be even more profitable if you are trying to recruit certain highly sought-after profiles.

What is quiet quitting?

Analyzed, scrutinized, observed under every angle again and again, this behaviour, which is not new, was quickly defined by experts. Sometimes considered as employee disengagement, sometimes explained as limiting oneself only to tasks that fall within the job’s functions, quiet quitting is, beyond its conceptualization, a true paradigm shift with very tangible consequences within the working world. Parallel to the “Great Resignation”, quiet quitting is often a means for the employee to rebalance their professional and personal lives, but without suffering the detrimental effects that resigning could have on their situation.

Origins, symptoms and consequences of quiet quitting

The symptoms of quiet quitting are very similar to classic indicators of decreased motivation and low employee engagement. This can take many forms: refusing to work overtime or to check emails outside of work hours, keeping oneself strictly to their job description, no longer offering support to colleagues by working more in order to help them, etc. Such behaviours obviously bring about certain risks, all depending on the different contexts, since their consequences can be reduced productivity, interpersonal tensions, and eventually, the employee’s “real” resignation.


There are many hypotheses regarding the origins of quiet quitting:

  • The context of the pandemic, the lack of socialization and an accumulation of collective fatigue
  • The talent shortage and the need to “do more with less” (less resources, but just as much work to do)
  • The increased use of remote communication technologies (which makes us “always available”)
  • A lack of clarity in terms of expectations and expected results
  • Limited opportunities to learn and to develop
  • A deficit in leadership and low adherence to the organization’s mission
  • A greater desire to find a better balance between personal life and professional life
  • New ways of thinking among younger generations

Solutions are within your reach

Quiet quitting can be considered as the mask and the mirror of a more subtle dysfunction within the workplace. Anywr Canada believes that, although the phenomenon’s causes and outcomes are rather well defined, it is becoming urgent to talk about solutions and practices that have already proven successful here and elsewhere. To properly address the issue, you must first identify it. This means listening to your employees, even (and especially) in a remote work environment, and identifying employees who may likely be in “quiet quitting” mode.

Some solutions are seemingly obvious: respect of employee’s work schedules and no communications sent outside of those hours, pleasant work environment, clear development opportunities, continuous training, healthy leadership, and good working conditions. However, depending on the work to be accomplished and the various contexts, these solutions are not always appropriate or sufficient. That being said, there are other remedies.

For example, by allowing talents to choose their working methods (such as remote work, freelance, wage portage, geographical mobility, etc.), a decrease in resignations, psychological disengagements and weariness are observed. A Statistics Canada study, conducted during the pandemic, revealed that 8 out of 10 new remote workers would prefer working at least half of their hours from home after the pandemic.

Other solutions, that can be considered in the short and long term, are also available:

  • Implementing a solid socio-professional on-boarding procedure and ensuring a transparent, honest and strong employer brand. Managing expectations is important; deliver what you promised to your future talent.
  • Make sure that you have a rigorous follow-up with your recruits. Implement “Stay interviews” instead of “Exit interviews”. Take your employees’ pulse at regular intervals so that you can quickly react in order to improve talents’ well-being.
  • Improve the intrinsic motivation of talents by making sure that their work makes sense to them.
  • Open a discussion around talents’ aspirations, goals, and life and career plans in order to develop with them, and for them, a common long-term vision of their career paths.
  • Make skills development a priority: evaluate employees (in a constructive manner) in order to help them progress and develop, and do so on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, etc.).
  • When an employee leaves the company, conduct an “off-boarding” interview in order to understand the reasons for their departure.

In the end, the ultimate goal behind these solutions is to ensure that the employees within your organization are fulfilled, find true meaning in their work, and contribute in healthy and positive ways to a caring and respectful work environment. Regardless of their ethno-cultural backgrounds, functions, aspirations, skills and experiences, all talents deserve to be welcomed, receive good on-boarding and have workdays that lead them to fully invest in their work, for their own benefit and for that of their colleagues.

To learn more about Anywr Canada and its main services, visit




Marion Breyer

by Marion Breyer