The Huge Noise Around “Quiet Firing”

Move aside “quiet quitting”, there’s a new hot topic taking the internet by storm and it’s something many have resonated with.

As a recap, “quiet quitting” is an idea that has recently spread wide online where people no longer tend to go above and beyond at work and instead “act their wage”. This is one side of the coin where people are being criticised for doing the bare minimum, and in retaliation has come “quiet firing” where employers are now - no longer so discreetly - trying to encourage employees to actually quit.

A tweet defined quiet-firing as “demoralising an employee by means of passive-aggression, micromanaging, retaliation and/or manipulation so that they feel they have no choice but to walk away from their role”.

Actions classed as quiet firing can be anything from lack of support from management to withholding pay increases or lack of transparency. Sound grim? It is, and 80% of people from a survey have seen quiet firing in action, but many are calling these terms out online.

Quiet quitting translation: you’re doing what you’re paid to do - how much more can employers expect from you?

Quite firing translation: a passive-aggressive way to get rid of employees without paying severance and contributing to toxic workplaces and corporate bullying.

It leaves us thinking, how has this come around? “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a true saying, but unfortunately not something the majority of workers are able to relate to (or honestly, anyway). Covid changed the working landscape and made workers put a huge focus on their work/life balances and that has stuck with them when returning to work and some employers seem to be struggling to accommodate leading to this clash of heads.

Speaking to WorkLife, leadership expert Izabela Lundberg says neither quiet quitting or quiet firing are healthy trends.

“Both of them are a reflection of a very toxic culture,” she said.

“If an employer or manager is deploying quiet firing, it reflects badly on their company culture.

“While quiet quitting and quiet firing were born from lack of communication on both the employer’s and employee’s ends, these trends are paving the way for companies to address how they might fail to tend to the needs of their workers.”

All of this seems exhausting, so here are a few tips for preventing it from coming to this:

1. Praise and feedback are your friend…and are free! 

This one is obvious, but providing praise and constructive feedback when due shows that as an employer you’re paying attention to the work that’s being done and that you want to work together to get it right. Be open and direct. 

2. Listen more

And listen with empathy and understanding, on both sides. Employers should listen when employees come to them with issues, and employees should listen to feedback to ensure there’s no miscommunication which can lead to a toxic workplace.

3. Collaborate when you can

Senior management tends to work on projects with higher importance, but by involving your team and collaborating on new projects you can professionally bond more with them and give them more responsibility. Plus it helps you out - win, win!

4. Be transparent

This is a big one. Transparency can make working relationships much more successful as it is proven to lead to increased employee engagement, to a healthier work environment and a stronger company culture.

5. Make sure it’s a match

As recruiters, you know exactly what a company is looking for, but what about really knowing the candidates and what they’re after? If unclear, months - or even years - down the line, both will realise it isn’t a good fit and may resort to the behaviour outlined earlier. Video recruitment software is a great tool to really get to know candidates and add some humanity to the recruitment process. Plus it allows recruiters to reach a larger number of potential candidates, enhance candidate experience and ensure a cultural fit (it’ll save you time and money too. What’s not to love?)

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