A new workplace trend: Conscious Quitting

Published on March 15, 2023 by Eleanor Holmes

What is Conscious Quitting?

Conscious quitting is when an employee quits or resigns from their job due to the company’s values not aligning with their own. This can be down to an organisation’s sustainability values (or lack thereof), or the company’s approach to diversity and inclusivity. Though this new workplace trend seems to be mainly enacted by workers in the 18-24 year old age range, it is also becoming increasingly popular with workers of all ages. In 2021, three-quarters of adults in the UK were worried about climate change, and one in five employees do not believe their current company is an inclusive place to work. These statistics show the importance of particular ethical values to many employees, and how they may impact their relationship with their current organisation.

An employee may decide that if a company does not align with their own values and ideals, they cannot morally remain a part of that organisation that contributes to opposing values. As a result, the worker may decide to leave the company and pursue employment in another which shares the same values or similar. 

The impact of Conscious Quitting on businesses

According to the Net Positive Barometer survey, almost half of UK workers are willing to quit their jobs if their current company’s values do not align with their own. 46% want their current organisations to make commitments to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives in order to prove that their ideals are similar to their own. Furthermore, one in five potential employees have declined a job offer if they felt the company offering the role did not share the same ESG values. 

As a result of the above, conscious quitting of employees or prospective hires from jobs within a company could negatively impact the company’s hiring and retention rates. There are varying costs involved with hiring, training, and retaining employees at the company, and therefore losses are inevitable should workers consciously quit from a workplace. It also costs the company time and effort with these endeavours, which if needed to be repeated, could also cause more issues within the business and its other ventures. 

How to prevent Conscious Quitting 

In order to prevent employees from conscious quitting, one critical tool to use is communication. Quite often, employees may not be completely aware of the company’s ESG initiatives, sustainability goals, or its stance on certain topics such as equality and diversity. It is also important to communicate these aspects of the organisation during the recruitment and interview processes of new candidates; this allows prospective employees to learn about the company before they join, and for employers to see if they would be a good culture fit within the organisation. By ensuring your company’s policies and staff handbook reflect your organisation’s values and encouraging staff to engage with these documents, employees are more likely to have a better understanding of the company culture. Without effective communication, staff may be unaware of all the values your company has and misinterpret this as the company not holding them at all. You can ensure that employees are aware of and understand the company’s values and initiatives by making sure they have read and understood the relevant documents, such as the staff handbook. This can be achieved by using software to assign tasks for employees to read and confirm they understand certain documents and policies. 

Another way to prevent conscious quitting amongst employees is to conduct a review of your organisation’s values and ESG initiatives and evaluate if they need an update or be added to in order to reflect your employees’ own values. For example, if your company does not have a specific initiative concerning the environment and sustainability, it may be worth exploring initiatives your company can take part in to integrate it into the company culture. This could be achieved in ways such as committing to a carbon neutrality goal within a certain time frame, or by actively encouraging sustainable behaviour in the workplace, such as recycling and energy-saving actions. Even if your organisation already participates in initiatives such as the aforementioned, making sure it is enshrined within the company’s values and ethos is a good way to ensure employees feel a part of the company’s culture and share in their common principles. As an example, Agilio Software has a Culture Club that employees can be involved in to share their ideas for initiatives and activities they wish for the company to be involved in, such as sustainability or health and wellbeing projects. 

Read more from the myhrtoolkit blog

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Picture of Eleanor Holmes

Written by Eleanor Holmes

Eleanor is a marketing executive at myhrtoolkit who writes on topics including HR technology and software, workplace culture, and marketing advice for HR consultants.

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