Quiet quitting Canadian statistics reveal a growing concern. The trend hasn't died. The last few years have taken a severe toll on employee mental health, retention, and wellbeing in Canada, while inflation, the cost of living, and economic macro uncertainties are driving stress levels even higher. Employees feel burnt out, overworked, and underappreciated—and workplace engagement is suffering. How should employers respond?

In this article, we look at the root causes of quiet quitting in Canada and review five strategies employers can use to help reverse the trend in their workplace.

Quiet quitting Canadian statistics—why employers should be concerned

Quiet quitting is when an employee puts in minimal effort to meet the needs of their role and ceases doing anything extra for their employer, manager, or co-workers. The employee in question isn't trying to excel in their role.

A related trend is Bare Minimum Mondays, which takes a similar approach but has a shorter duration. A Bare Minimum Monday is a weekday where employees do the minimum required to remain employed. Recent research showed that two-thirds of the Canadian workforce are disengaged from their employer and “quiet quitting” from their roles, up from the global rate of 59%. This disengagement rate can negatively impact the workload for other team or group members and damage workplace productivity and morale.

Diagnosing the root causes of quiet quitting

What leads employees to quit quietly? While this term is new, the concept isn’t. The behaviours of quiet quitting are strongly related to employee disengagement and can stem from several sources, including:

  • Unfair compensation. An earlier Indeed study showed that only 52% of employees in Canada feel fairly compensated for their work. Pay is always essential, but recent macro challenges surrounding inflation rates and the overall cost of living have exacerbated concerns surrounding fair compensation for many Canadians.
  • Stress, burnout, and mental health challenges.  According to one study, three out of five Canadian employees reported increased levels of workplace-related stress compared to last year. This pressure can stem from many sources, including job instability or the threat of layoffs, increased workloads, tight deadlines, and financial uncertainty. Lingering mental health impacts of the pandemic can exacerbate the issue.
  • Feeling undervalued. In our recent study, two in five workers (41%) feel that their employers don’t value their opinions. Women (47%) and Gen Z workers (47%) felt undervalued or unheard at higher rates than average. Employers should pay particular attention to these employee sentiments, as feeling valued can be a key contributor to employee retention and wellbeing in Canada.
  • Workplace discrimination or bullying. A hostile or uncomfortable working environment that allows discriminatory or exclusionary behaviours can swiftly damage employees’ mental health and impact retention. In our research, employees who have experienced workplace discrimination typically don’t commit to their roles. Instead, many will try to remove themselves from the situation without confrontation (34%) or start looking for another job (36%) while disengaging from their position and employer.

How to improve employee retention and wellbeing in Canada

If you’re experiencing quiet quitting, disengagement, or retention issues in your workforce, there are several ways you can address the situation:

  1. Review your compensation and benefits offerings. Is your compensation competitive in the current market? It may be time to get creative with your total compensation if addressing employee pain points with a higher salary is impossible. Consider Canadian employers’ top benefits and assess if you can fill gaps in your current offerings to create a more robust compensation package that better meets employee needs.
  2. Offer more than monetary compensation. Consider how your organization can improve individuals’ lives in the workplace and beyond. A few ideas include:
  • actively supporting employees’ career growth and development, such as a corporate career planning process combined with focused learning opportunities
  • hybrid work is here to stay, so providing a more flexible working environment can help employees achieve a better work-life balance
  • focus on building a positive workplace that supports employee wellbeing. It's not just good for employees; it impacts your bottom line.
  1. Improve mental health support. In our study of workplace barriers, Indeed found that only 38% of respondents are happy with how their employer helps reduce stress and improve mental health. In addition to providing mental health coverage as part of your benefits package, assess your current environment to identify and address key sources of stress and dissatisfaction.
  2. Improve employee recognition. Everyone wants to feel valued, but not all employers recognize employee contributions. Rethink how your organization approaches recognition—this process doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead, think creatively about providing personalized recognition aligned with your employees’ values.
  3. Focus on communication. Better workplace communication can help diagnose issues before they impact employee wellbeing, engagement, or retention. Below are some ways to enhance communication.
    • Conduct ongoing pulse surveys to keep track of company performance and employee sentiment and use AI tools to identify areas for concern proactively.
    • Create more avenues to report incidents of workplace discrimination, bullying, or harassment. Indeed found that nearly a quarter (24%) of individuals were uncomfortable reporting discrimination to their managers, HR department, or senior leaders—meaning great talent may disengage or leave while problems remain untreated.
    • Encourage managers to do regular check-ins and follow up promptly when issues arise.

While statistics show that quiet quitting is rising in Canada, you can avoid it in your workplace. Employees often give more effort to organizations that prioritize their happiness and career growth. With a renewed focus on employee wellbeing, you can drive engagement and improve employee satisfaction, retention, and mental health.