“Quiet Firing” and How It Can Put Companies in Hot Water

BY Jules Dalmacio Articles

“Quiet Firing” and How It Can Put Companies in Hot Water

After the  recent popularity of Quiet Quitting, a response from companies comes in the form of a passive-aggressive counter offensive: Quiet Firing.

Quiet firing is a term used to describe a situation where an employer “terminates” an employee by disengaging from them. The employee is still part of the organization but they are being treated as “other” within the same organization for providing the “bare minimum”. In the same way that Quiet Quitting is the employees disengaging from the company, Quiet Firing is the company or a higher representative of it like a manager or executive, disengages from disengaged employees.

Quiet Firing Is Unhealthy

While in our previous article, we tried to defend Quiet Quitting as a form of respite for the overworked and job creeped employee, the same can’t be said for Quiet Firing.

Quiet firing is a subtle form of employee termination, in which a manager fails to provide adequate support, coaching and career development to an employee, leading to a toxic work environment and eventually pushing the employee out of the organization.

This is often the result of poor management practices, such as the absence of routine goal progress discussions and feedback, withholding employee development, and inconsistent expectations. Such practices can cause employees to lose focus, feel demotivated, and eventually quit their job.

It’s unhealth both for employees and the company as a whole; it cultivates a culture of apathy and defeatism. Instead of improving, there’s a sense of letting things hit the fan until there’s no where else to go but up.

Quiet Firing’s End Goals

As it stands, majority of the resource, control, and power is already in the hands of the employer. At its most benign, Quiet Firing could be a personal response to perceived “underperformance” ie, supervisors playing favorites with achievers and leaving behind others that go for status quo. At its worst, it could be a systemic power trip to disenfranchise employees that might be burned out, overworked, underpaid, or have been ignored by the company to begin with.

This in turn creates environments where disengaged employees suffocate in. In extreme cases, and employee might have a miserable time at work enough to them to want to Loud Quit or resign.

Quiet Firing is a Form of Bad Leadership

We already discussed how communications and focusing on Employee Experience is key to not only mitigating the dangers of quiet quitting but more so to help organizations grow. By definition, Employee Experience is the model predicating company growth by focusing on making employees happy, whith the philosophy being that happy employees create happy clients. Quiet Firing takes that concept and turns it on its head; it infantilizes the power dynamic in a company, putting manager in the position to user their authority against their own employees.

But the problem does not stop there; bad management reflects poorly on a company’s image and branding. Managers are expected to be stewards of company culture and having a management that gaslights and power trips employees out can bag a company a place in the book of infamy.

Circling Back to Employee Experience

Quiet Firing, while not as big a phenomenon as Quiet Quitting as far as we are aware, is not a practice that should become prevalent. Even among social media circles, it would seem that more companies are taking steps forward to providing better experiences to employees instead. Otherwise, social media backlash would be quick and resounding for such companies.

In the end, instead of Quiet Firing, it would be wiser to focus on Employee Experience. Not only is it the more holistic option in addressing the current employment zeitgeist, it also supports company goals in the long run. 

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