Better Balance Can Shift Quiet Quitting to Better Engagement

by Kimberly Bowen
The past two years of the COVID pandemic have stretched employers to attract and retain talent. 

First, it was the so-called ”Great Resignation.” Next came the phenomenon of “quiet quitting”, with employees who claim to respond to stress and burnout by doing the bare minimum and quietly taking on fewer new responsibilities and challenges. 

For many, this latest trend has been more about setting boundaries with the goal to strike better work/life integration.

According to Unum research, over half (56%) of U.S. workers said they felt mentally unwell in the last year, which resulted in missed work and lower productivity. 

As talent-management professionals, we need to continue to recognize the continuing needs of our workforce, especially as we enter what hopes to be the latter stages of the pandemic. We believe companies need to continue to embrace the new world of work and adapt. Here are a few tips to consider.

Communicate healthy boundaries

Unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout, lost productivity, poor work performance and poor health.

Companies need to communicate work expectations through performance evaluations, regular team meetings and one-on-one meetings. Managers can also encourage employees to use their time off. Share information about bereavement leave, paid leave and other policies.  

Model good behavior

Disconnecting from work while on scheduled PTO shows you trust your team, sets healthy boundaries that employees can emulate and provides a much-needed break for you.

Prioritize mental health

Employers can help by offering benefits that support the whole employee, including their behavioral health and physical wellbeing. Be proactive in employee outreach efforts. If there are new benefits to a financial wellness program, offer a session outside of open enrollment to keep employees informed.

Reassess benefit offerings

There are core benefits that many companies offer, such as medical, dental and vision. Then there are some that go the extra mile like adoption benefits, job rotations, emergency savings and financial planning resources. Each benefit brings value to the company and employees.

Companies need to continually reassess and offer benefits, including scholarship reimbursement programs, personal days, and employee networks for specific groups, such as veterans or employees of color.

In today’s workplace, we can’t afford for employees to physically or mentally clock out. With the right combination of work/life boundaries and thoughtful benefit offerings, companies can be the catalyst for employees to strike a balance so they can show up their full, authentic selves.

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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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