Large open office space with rows of desks and people working

Quiet Staying

Move over Great Resignation.

Quiet Quitting is a thing of the past.

Now? We’re onto Quiet Staying.

The Wall Street Journal published an article on the matter no less than a month ago about the cliff-like decline of turnover. Attrition has taken a serious nose dive. And while that might seem like a good thing, it also means high performers and their path for growth are delayed.

Leaders in large companies now FEAR they won’t be able to keep star employees invested and engaged with less vacant positions opening up internally. It’s like the scene in Forrest Gump where young Forrest desperately looks to find a seat on the bus only to be met with, “Seat Taken…Seat Taken.” Corporate musical chairs has come to a halt. “Quiet Staying” is now the only new tune of the holiday season and it has made it harder for high potentials to move up into challenging new roles.

So what gives?

Why are people quietly staying?

Are we striving to hide through the holidays? Afraid of a tightening 2024 economy? Beaten up from the chaos, change, and craziness that’s happening across the world before our very eyes?

Yes. Yes. And, overwhelmingly, yes.

Add in the cringeworthy return of election season — aka, the ultimate smear campaign to America — which presently makes folks on all sides wish they could hide under an invisibility cloak.

We can’t escape. We can’t agree. We can’t get along. And we don’t seem to do much about it outside the powerless move of staying put. We’ve lost control of just about everything catapulting many into a holding pattern better known as paralysis.

So we stay. Doing so quietly trying not to get noticed through it all.

Once upon a moment ago, job hopping and loyalty lows were a thing of the recent past. Today, consider gifting your Chief People Officer one of those giant bottles of Maximum Strength Advil just to get them through the holidays.

This might be a good time to acknowledge that my #1 personal core value is “optimism”. I get that while the above content might be informative it certainly isn’t being conveyed in a glass-half-full manner.

In the spirit of flipping this script, I am reminded of Warren Buffet’s famous quote about investing:

“be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

While quiet Staying doesn’t mean quiet slaying, here’s what YOU can do about “all this” right now:

  1. Provide access to Leaders. Create constructs and find ways to engage your high potentials and keep them vested — like a direct line to learn from the top. Create or find growth opportunities based on what’s important to each person. Show them you care. It doesn’t have to be high cost. Think: “Believership Breakfasts” (access to top brass in the organization), Mentee Programs (High potentials would love to share what they know with 1st-year employees or interns).
  2. Provide access to Inspiration. One offsite a year: 2-5K per diem to learn and be inspired by what’s going on outside the walls of your organization. In return, the high potential has to present a 10-slide “What I Walked With” report that can inspire others inside the organization. Perhaps they have to present this at a team town hall. Showing you invest in the growth of your people is always a good thing.
  3. Let your people heal. The holiday season IS here. Perhaps “Quiet Staying” is as simple as your people needing to refill their gas tanks. We all know more hard work is coming in the year ahead. Give people the rest they need to be ready for 2024.
Ryan Berman
Ryan Berman
Ryan is an author, keynote speaker, and the founder of Courageous. His book, Return on Courage, shows how during these courage deficient times, courage is a competitive advantage for those leaders who choose to unlock it.
Twitter @ryanberman | LinkedIn @ryanberman

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