Here's the counterpart of 'quiet quitting' – what is 'quiet firing'?

Learn about this 'threat' against workers and how HR can spot the signs

Here's the counterpart of 'quiet quitting' – what is 'quiet firing'?

As the trend of quiet-quitting emerges across workplaces, experts also warned employees of a management practice termed as “quiet firing,” which has notably been going on for years, although largely unreported.

“Quiet firing,” according to Forbes, involves a careful and concerted effort of a manager to let go of an employee, mainly because of the need of a company to cut costs and conduct job layoffs.

Although experts reminded employees that it’s not primarily their fault if they are being dismissed, there are particular hints when being targeted with quiet firings that workers need to watch out for – and in cases where there is apparent hostility between employees and management, HR should step up and play a crucial role in bridging communication gaps.

With that, what are the different workplace situations that could be considered as ‘quiet firing’?

The manager constantly targets an employee

Similar to a competitive and demanding world, the workplace also has its fair share of struggles and challenges that employees must overcome, and HR is aware of that.

This includes facing an “intimidating boss,” who, according to Forbes, commonly names certain workers as “rock stars” or “celebrities” and showers them with attention, promotions, salary boosts, and many more.

Thus, if the supervisor dislikes an employee, experts noted that “treatment ranges from disinterest to making [their] work lives so ‘unbearable’ that [they] quit of [their] own accord.”

Work life becomes ‘miserable’ for an employee

Adding up to the “dislike” towards an employee is the bombardment of complex tasks that their boss or supervisor gives “just to shove [them] out the door.”

Experts remind workers that bosses, making work-life “miserable,” could be in the form of shouting in front of the employee’s co-workers, being uninvited to essential celebrations, or just “plainly appearing as a failure to the management’s eyes.”

Thus, as soon as the manager does this, an employee’s colleagues will get the message that it is time to distance themselves to “not evoke the anger and wrath of the boss,” experts said. 

Eventually, the constant “fault-finding, humiliations, and other mistreatments” would wear an employee down. This “exhausting” work culture would make an employee quit quietly and search for other jobs that offer a healthier work environment.

‘It’s just business as usual. It’s not your fault’

Employees shouldn’t resort to “self-blame,” as Forbes reported that some companies intend to make work life uncomfortable for workers to provoke employees to leave on their own.

Through these strategic but disturbing actions, businesses will not have to pay severance packages; at the same time, they can avoid making headlines with their massive number of people laid off. After all, companies are on “business as usual,” Forbes said. In this case, HR should ensure that a worker’s side is heard and proper grievance procedures are followed.

Moreover, experts noted that the rising inflation, hot economy, and job market, among others, have significantly affected the growth of businesses, and as unpleasant as it may seem, they announce job cuts daily.

“The burden, unfortunately, lies with the manager, who is tasked with determining who should stay or be terminated from employment,” Forbes explained. 

Experts said that while employees are in jeopardy, managers are also in a difficult spot regarding employee layoff.

Last resorts for workers

Although it could feel hopeless, experts said that employees could still communicate with their bosses before giving up since, at this point, they already “have nothing to lose.”

HR should encourage these employees to communicate their feelings of “unfair persecution” to the management. Employees can prove they are valuable assets by showing data and facts revealing their performance, good standing, and relevant contributions in the workplace.

Moreover, Forbes reminded workers to be as “honest as possible” and inquire if there are still remaining ways to “restart” the working relationship. HR should also know when to highlight an employee’s key achievements and career milestones to maintain the best interests of both sides.

“[Employees] should call for a fresh new start, which will include incorporating all of the feedback the boss has offered,” Forbes said. “Since it’s a two-way street, the manager must put aside their animosity and view [the employee] in a fresh new light untainted by past prejudices,” it added.

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