The Gurus Who Say They Can Make Quiet Quitting Disappear—for $15,000 a Day
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The Gurus Who Say They Can Make Quiet Quitting Disappear—for $15,000 a Day

Some have Ivy League degrees, others have no degrees, but these workplace consultants all say they’ve got an antidote to the viral trend of employee disengagement

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Oct 7, 2022 8:46amGrey Clock 4 min

His name is Dean Lindsay, though that’s not what he goes by on LinkedIn. “Quiet Quitting Keynote Speaker” is this search-savvy consultant’s new moniker, and he says it’s helping him get hired—at $10,000 to $15,000 a day—by companies sweating the latest buzzy term for employee disengagement.

Mr. Lindsay, who has been advising businesses about corporate culture for two decades, says quiet quitting is closely related to burnout, work-life balance, stress management and other phenomena that came before. His prescriptions are largely the same, too.

When he saw the viral TikTok phrase had quickly migrated from social media to the C-suite, compelling many bosses to think about how to stop workers from checking out, he didn’t hesitate to rebrand, swapping out his name on LinkedIn for something catchy and of-the-moment.

“I just jumped on it,” he says.

If you’re running a company now, chances are your inbox is full of messages from experts claiming they can goose morale, foster connection, boost buy-in and make various other jargon-studded dreams come true. The people who claim to know the most about quiet quitting are real go-getters, it turns out.

The extent of the problem these consultants aim to solve, and whether it’s new, is debatable. Many of them say that’s beside the point. Getting people to care more deeply about their jobs and colleagues may be a perpetual corporate mission, but it’s an important one, the argument goes. So what if it took a meme to intensify the sense of urgency?

Some, like Mr. Lindsay, run rousing workshops full of motivational mnemonics. (It’s all about the six P’s of progress, he says: pleasure, peace of mind, profit, prestige, pain avoidance and power.)

Less experienced consultants advertise youth as an advantage, saying they can get through to millennials and Gen Z.

Still others offer to set up employee-driven charitable campaigns, using company dollars, to make people feel better about where they work.

Rising Team, a Palo Alto, Calif., startup that sells camaraderie-building software designed to reduce quitting (quiet or otherwise), just closed a second venture-capital round, bringing total investments to $6 million.

For human-resources leaders, the pitches can seem endless.

Priti Patel, chief people officer at G2, a technology marketplace, says she gets daily emails about solving burnout and quiet quitting.

“I don’t even count anymore,” she says.

While some solicitations strike her as gimmicky, Ms. Patel says she doesn’t roll her eyes at all of them. She landed her current position last year after first working with the company as an independent “conscious leadership” coach, which she describes as helping managers deepen their emotional intelligence.

Her take on quiet quitting is that it’s simply the notion of having boundaries at work— hardly new. Nevertheless, establishing the boundaries is a real challenge for managers and direct reports alike, she says, and sometimes an outsider can help set expectations that work for everyone.

Karyn Twaronite, Ernst & Young’s global diversity, equity and inclusion officer, adds that HR consultants can lend valuable perspectives if they represent the views of young people or others who are missing or rare in the executive ranks. EY uses a mix of internal and external advisers, she says, and conducts quarterly “pulse” surveys, asking whether employees feel that they belong at the firm—which last month started splitting its consulting and auditing businesses—and are free to be themselves.

“These feel like softer things, but we know that they’re critical because if people don’t feel this way, then they could, in theory, quit,” she says. “If a consultant can help leaders listen to their employees or decipher the data, that’s really important.”

Data is a main selling point for Rising Team, the venture-funded startup that Facebook, Google and Yahoo veteran Jennifer Dulski launched in 2020. (She says her business idea predates the pandemic, but “the timing turned out to be perfect.”) Her young company starts by polling a client’s staff to measure the likelihood they’ll stay, and says in a few months it can deliver a meaningful increase in the share who plan to stick around.

Ms. Dulski, who teaches management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, aims to get co-workers to know and like each other—and without resorting to hackneyed exercises like trust falls. Rising Team’s “kits,” as she calls the software, lead groups of employees through virtual or in-person discussions every six weeks or so. A kit for a 10-person team costs $99 a month, and companies with many teams can get discounts for buying in bulk.

The idea is that workers who are invested in their colleagues are less likely to slack off or leave.

Money helps, too, though raises and bonuses aren’t the only ways to promote loyalty and engagement, says Tess Murphy, director of strategic partnerships at Kiva, a microfinance nonprofit. Her pitch to companies is that they can pump up employee enthusiasm by letting every worker direct a small sum—as little as $50—to a favourite cause.

Kiva has managed these corporate programs for eight years, but the tumult of the past two has prompted more workers to consider whether they and their employers are making a difference in the world, Ms. Murphy says. Businesses, in turn, are grasping for initiatives that can give their people a sense of purpose.

Ms. Murphy says companies wonder, “ ‘How do we get them connected and excited about the work that we’re doing?’ ”

Much of their consternation centres on young workers who fixate on what is, or isn’t, in their job descriptions and put in too few hours for some of their older colleagues’ tastes, she says.

Appealing to executives who are confounded by their greenest employees, Adam Owens left a steady human-resources job and started his own consulting operation this year. He bills himself as an unconventional alternative to competitors with Ivy League M.B.A.s and decades of experience. If you’re a Boomer or Gen Xer trying to figure out Gen Zers, he says, hire someone like him, a former philosophy major who dropped out of college in the aughts and built a career without the typical credentials.

Many young workers aren’t unmotivated, he adds, but they don’t necessarily measure success like their predecessors or do what they’re supposed to do in the eyes of others. He aims to help bosses understand what these employees really care about.

“Millennials are uniquely positioned to deal with this challenge,” Mr. Owens says. “We function as a bridge between the other generations.”



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The personal wardrobe of the late fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, who is credited for introducing punk to fashion and further developing the style, is headed to auction in June.

Christie’s will hold the live sale in London on June 25, while some of the pieces will be available in an online auction from June 14-28, according to a news release from the auction house on Monday.

Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s husband and the creative director for her eponymous fashion company, selected the clothing, jewellery, and accessories for the sale, and the auction will benefit charitable organisations The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, and Médecins Sans Frontières.

The more than 200 lots span four decades of Westwood’s fashion, dating to Autumn/Winter 1983-84, which was one of Westwood’s earliest collections. Titled “Witches,” the collection was inspired by witchcraft as well as Keith Haring’s “graphic code of magic symbols,” and the earliest piece being offered from it is a two-piece ensemble made of navy blue serge, according to the release.

“Vivienne Westwood’s sense of activism, art and style is embedded in each and every piece that she created,” said Adrian Hume-Sayer, the head of sale and director of Private & Iconic Collections at Christie’s.

A corset gown of taupe silk taffeta from “Dressed to Scale,” Autumn/Winter 1998-99, will also be included in the sale. The collection “referenced the fashions that were documented by the 18th century satirist James Gillray and were intended to attract as well as provoke thought and debate,” according to Christie’s.

Additionally, a dress with a blue and white striped blouse and a printed propaganda modesty panel and apron is a part of the wardrobe collection. The dress was a part of “Propaganda,” Autumn/Winter 2005-06, Westwood’s “most overtly political show” at the time. It referenced both her punk era and Aldous Huxley’s essay “Propaganda in a Democratic Society,” according to Christie’s.

The wardrobe collection will be publicly exhibited at Christie’s London from June 14-24.

“The pre-sale exhibition and auctions at Christie’s will celebrate her extraordinary vision with a selection of looks that mark significant moments not only in her career, but also in her personal life,” Hume-Sayer said. “This will be a unique opportunity for audiences to encounter both the public and the private world of the great Dame Vivienne Westwood and to raise funds for the causes in which she so ardently believed.”

Westwood died in December 2022 in London at the age of 81.

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