There have been several recent news and opinion articles on the topic of “quiet quitting” as of late. This is the concept where an employee merely meets the very basics of his or her job description at work.
According to Gallup, the global analytics and advice firm, “quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce – probably more.” Gallup explains that the overall decline in work engagement has to do with the “clarity of expectations, opportunities to learn and grow, feeling cared about, and a connection to the organization’s mission or purpose.” These issues are more prevalent in Millennial and Generation Z workers, which Gallop says is a notable change from the pre-COVID-19 health emergency.
After “quiet quitting,” now, the term has buzzed around the internet, a new phrase — “quiet firing” — is shifting the focus around workplace culture on to how employers treat their staff. Quiet firing, also known as constructive dismissal, is not a new practice and refers to when an employer purposely treats workers badly to get them to quit and avoid directly laying them off.
It’s not an unusual tactic, as more than 80 percent of respondents say they have either seen or experienced quiet firing. Some examples of quiet firing are refusing to give an employee a raise for years, skipping a deserving employee for promotion or overburdening workers with unimportant busy work.
Other examples of quiet firing include giving an employee a poor performance review without clear reason, purposefully assigning a worker to tasks that they do not like, or abruptly changing a worker’s role.
In both cases, these actions ultimately hurt the business in productivity and possible legal issues. It makes the company less appealing to work at for employees and reduces the chances of success for the business overall, in addition to costing the employer in loss of productivity.
There are a number of things a business can do to help avoid quiet quitting. One of the most important actions is a manager’s engagement with direct reports. Managers tend to have a lot on their plate, but taking the time out to have a one-on-one with each team member once a month (or more if time permits) keeps the manager aware of an employee’s current life situation, strengths, goals, areas where they are struggling, etc.
Ultimately, both practices end up costing a business money. Best to make sure managers understand how to effectively communicate with their team to fully understand their professional and personal concerns. It is also a good idea to make sure employees know they have to their managers to talk about personal problems that are affecting their performance or professional aspirations and focus on developing a roadmap to reach their goals.