Quiet firing is defined as “an informal term for the practice in which employers make workplace conditions worse for employees with the intent of driving some of them to quit.” It doesn’t matter if the intention is deliberate or accidental; others even consider it a form of gaslighting. Compared to an employee quietly quitting, it’s on the management’s side when they want to quietly fire an individual.
Why does it happen?
Quiet firing could be considered unethical work practice by some, as it tends to nurture a toxic environment for employees. It could cause employees to become unmotivated and uncommitted when it comes to their tasks, and render them unable to deliver high-quality output.
Companies may use rust-out to force employees to resign. Quiet firing anyone?
— Val W (@ValW70999230) May 11, 2023
A number of reasons may be causing the management to “quiet fire” their workers. Some concerns about giving promotions may have to do with limiting salaries and wage expenses. Others may not want to provide training and seminars for the same reason of cutting off costs. Some managers have no idea how to give negative feedback regarding an employee’s performance, choosing instead not to say anything while simultaneously hoping the worker would quit on their own. The worst case is based on personal bias towards the employee. Managers may not like the person, thus creating a reason to drive them out of the workplace. Under no circumstance is personal bias considered professional, but it can happen at any place of employment.
Quiet firing is similar to managing someone out in HR in that both techniques involve the termination of an employee, but they tend to be handled differently. Quiet firing involves a lack of communication or feedback from management and often happens without the employee’s knowledge. In this case, the decision to terminate comes from higher-level executives and managers who choose not to inform their employees. On the other hand, managing someone out can involve direct communication between the manager and their team members. This way, there is more transparency and communication about why someone is being terminated, although personal bias may still play a role in the decision.
What can be done?
For both employee and employer, communication and mutual respect has always been the key. Employees may ask for time to talk to the management and air out their concerns, and employers are supposed to do the same. Asking for assistance from the Human Resources department could help an employee when faced with an uncooperative boss. HR could provide a mutual evaluation of the parties involved to help address the root of the problem and promote fairness for all positions within the company.
Most companies evaluate their employees with the help of managers and officers. Some do peer evaluation as well, but only a few implement evaluations from employees to the management. Surveys and feedback done by human resource divisions usually focus on the company policies rather than management attitude. Raising concerns such as quiet firing can help the organization prevent those issues.
Effective communication channels in the workplace have always gone a long way to resolve conflicts and make way for a more open and collaborative working relationship. In addition to that, one must exercise fairness and professionalism within any organization at all times.