Stay Ellavated | September 2022 | Issue 21

Dr. Ella Speaks

      A recent workplace phenomena that has been the center of discussion is quiet quitting. Originating on social media, quiet quitting is described as doing what is required at work and limiting the ways in which one goes above and beyond. “Employees are not quitting their work but rather quitting the mentality of hustle culture and being tapped in to work 24/7,” notes psychotherapist Amy Morin. The concept of quiet quitting has also been associated with what employees describe as the experience of quiet firing. Quiet firing is defined by instances when employers mistreat workers to the point that they will quit, instead of the employer just firing them. This can be characterized by limiting growth opportunities, taking away aspects of the role that an employee enjoys or even instituting a pay cut, or a reduction of hours.

     These two concepts can present a challenge to an organization’s culture, but they may also reflect something missing in the employee experience. Although the term quiet quitting is new, the idea centers on the importance of employee engagement for the success of the workplace. Gallup noted that in early 2022, the U.S workforce saw its first annual engagement decline in a decade. The trend continued into early 2022 where employee engagement was down by 2 points since 2020. Employee engagement is key and connected to business benefits such as a rise in productivity, the reduction of employee turnover and an increase in customer and employee loyalty. 

So what can organizations do to reduce quiet quitting and firing? Firstly, note how quiet quitting and quiet firing don’t include any direct communication between employees and managers. At the root, these concepts are reflective of cultures without open and clear communication and alignment. The following are a few ways to address quiet quitting and quiet firing at the root.

  1. Increase trust in the workplace. Employees need to know that the organization is as committed to them as they are expected to be. By practicing transparency and encouraging open and honest conversations, organizations can increase trust.

  2. Integrate formalized and ongoing performance conversations. Employees and managers should have dedicated time to review and discuss performance annually, but there should also be touch points quarterly or otherwise. These performance conversations should empower both managers and employees to speak up about concerns on the job.

  3. Embed coaching for employees and managers. Ongoing coaching should exist for employees so that there is always alignment on expectations and support for change. Employees need support with direct feedback in growing in their role and managers need support in leadership and communication to provide the necessary resources and spaces for employees to be able to thrive and communicate openly.      

Check out my recent commentary on quiet quitting and firing with Bloomberg titled "Enough of Quiet Quitting: It's Time to Talk About Quiet Firing" 

With DEI in Mind,

Dr. Ella

The Necessary Journey

     In just TWO months a lifelong dream of my first published book with HBR Press will become a reality. This book will change the game for #DiversityEquityandInclusion by helping leaders and organizations demystify what DEI is all about and take meaningful actions to follow through on those pledges from 2020.

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To learn and read more about the DEI journey, Pre-order the book today! "The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion"

Ellavated Learning

Ellavated Learning: Rising State Legislation on Pay Transparency

By: Hildana Haileyesus


     Pay equity is a topic that is often at the forefront of DEI conversations, especially in the context of gender. As of 2022, the gender pay gap persists with women making 83 cents for every dollar a man makes. A closer look reflects that the gap is even larger for Black(57 cents), Native(50 cents) and Latina(50 cents) women. In addition to the gender pay gap, there is also a racial pay gap with Black men making 76 cents and Latino men making 75 cents for every dollar earned by a White man. Beyond race and gender, research also shows LGBTQIA+ employees make 90 cents for every dollar non-LGBTQIA+ employees. 

     Given the ongoing discussions around pay equity and the rise in DEI commitments by organizations, more and more companies are engaging in pay equity analyses with roughly 66% of organizations conducting an internal pay equity audit. A recent report found that 80% of U.S organizations that conducted a pay equity audit found that there was a lack of equity within their organizations. So how do we address these issues of pay equity in the workplace? 

     One way that states are trying to combat pay inequity is with legislation that mandates pay transparency. California has strengthened their existing equal pay policies by recently becoming the first state to require organizations with over 100 employees to share their median racial and gender pay gaps. 17 states, including New York and Colorado have instituted pay transparency legislation. These policies range from prohibiting employers from asking about a candidate’s previous salary to mandating organizations to publish the salary ranges for all posted roles. 

     Organizational leaders have had a range of responses to these new laws. All have acknowledged that navigating the legal compliance aspect has been somewhat challenging because of the detailed nature of these laws but the impact of accountability has been a positive one. For some, the pay equity adjustments have slightly impacted profit margins. On average; however, it appears that these pay equity policies are resulting in increased compensation for a majority of employees.
     As more states consider such legislation, it is important for organizations to take a serious look at pay equity within their organizations. While the private sector traditionally benefits from independence where internal policies are concerned, there must also be accountability for how these businesses are run when the impact is so significant. While the pay equity gap is closing slowly, organizations should take the initiative to lead these efforts as a service to their employees and to the values they ascribe to. Stronger DEI practices benefit both the employee and the organization and pay equity is just one way to systematically apply the principles of equity in the workplace.


4 Best Practices For Activating Motivation and Discipline for Employee Success

     In the workplace, we have all experienced periods of high motivation along with times when it can be difficult to stay focused on work. As an organization and as employees, how can we balance motivation and discipline in order to manage productivity and burnout? Motivation is an internal driving force that inspires you to take action, while discipline is the series of habits, routines and systems that make it possible to achieve the things you aspire to. Both are extremely important to the success of a business and as leaders, the responsibility is to help  employees find their sources of motivation while empowering them with systems in place to practice discipline when they are not feeling motivated. Below are 4 ways that leaders can support motivation and discipline in the workplace.


  1. Make the connection between employee values and employee roles. Managers should work to have an understanding of what motivates employees. Certain aspects of the job may be exciting for some, and for others there may be a long-term goal that connects to their current role. Learning what these are and helping employees see the relevance in their work can go a long way in increasing motivation.

  2. Affirm and acknowledge employee performance and improvement. One reason why employee motivation can decline is a lack of self-efficacy. Employees feel like they are not good at something and can not improve, they lose the motivation needed to grow. Managers should find ways to build confidence by both affirming and coaching employees.

  3. Share best practices around project management and organization techniques. Managers can help employees practice discipline by connecting them with resources within the organization, such as project management tools or sharing their approaches to time management and task completion. These recommendations and discussions can go a long way in ensuring that employees are supported and in helping managers understand their team’s various working styles and needs of their teams.

  4. Model and be transparent about your own challenges with discipline. Employees should know that their managers are also human and have to course correct when they make mistakes or face challenges with motivation and discipline. By sharing examples of how they have managed these challenges, managers can create room for open dialogue about support needs.


DEI in Action: Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 

Last month, we shared with you that Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 through October 15. We also noted the various ways that organizations across the country take time to acknowledge and celebrate the holiday in the workplace. This month, as a continuation of the learning and because we will be entering the holiday period very soon, we are sharing a great video that highlights the history and importance of the holiday. Take a moment to watch it and share it with your organization as a resource for opening up conversation. Consider the following discussion questions for team and manager dialogues as one simple way to engage with Hispanic Heritage Month in your workplace.

  1. What is one new thing you learned about Hispanic Heritage Month?

  2. What is one misconception you had about Hispanic Heritage Month?

  3. What is one way that your team could celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

You can find the video resource here: Video

Cultural Competence

     Check out Dr. Washington’s most recent episode on food shame in the workplace with guest Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson.

Food Shame at Work: An Oft-Overlooked Employee Experience

Sharing meals can be a way of bringing colleagues together. But food can also be a source of judgment, shame and division in a workplace. Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson, author of Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America, joins the podcast to discuss how employers and employees can be more mindful about cultural and class differences in approaches to food, eating, costs, waste and more. “Food plays a lot of different roles in our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not ... whether it’s in our homes or the workplace or any other institution we engage with,” Williams-Forson says.

Service Spotlight: Bulk & Custom Options of the Necessary Journey

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Elevating Diversity.
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