After “Quiet Quitting,” the latest buzzword among netizens is “Quiet Firing.” The new term took off after a LinkedIn post of Bonnie Dilber, a recruiting manager at Zapier, went viral and made headlines.
So, what exactly does Quiet Firing mean?
Quiet Firing is said to be a new term for the old concept of Constructive Dismissal and refers to when an employer deliberately mistreats an employee to the point that they decide to quit.
Shockingly, a recent LinkedIn News poll found that more than 80 percent of employees have witnessed or experienced quiet firing.
Bonnie Dilber, recruiting manager at Zapier, wrote in a viral post that rather than “Quiet Quitting,” the real conversation should be around “Quiet Firing” as it’s rampant. “It (Quiet Firing) works great for companies…eventually you’ll either feel so incompetent, isolated, and unappreciated that you’ll go find a new job, and they never have to deal with a development plan or offer severance. Or your performance will slip enough due to the lack of support that they’ll be able to let you go.”
“Instead of worrying about ‘quiet quitting,’ I’d encourage companies to look at their management practices and identify places where people are being ‘quiet fired’ by poor managers who don’t want to do the work to support, train, and coach their teams.”
Examples of Quiet Firing
- Refusing appraisal or promotion to a deserving employee for years
- Reducing work hours and delegating key tasks of the employee to others
- Overburdening the employee with insignificant work
- Giving the employee a poor performance review without a clear reason
- Intentionally assigning the employee to tasks, they do not like
- Excluding the employee from important and interesting tasks
- Abruptly changing the employee’s job role
- Deliberately withdrawing the employee from development and leadership opportunities
- Being rude to the employee for no reason
- Making the employee feel unwanted
Why do employers choose to Quiet Fire
Employers are said to quietly dismiss someone as a way of saving on severance, as employees are not entitled to severance pay when they quit on their own. Netizens also see this as a tactic for employers to single out underperforming workers by intentionally hindering their experience in the workplace.
Quiet firing could also be seen as a way to avoid a lengthy corrective action or re-training process.
Commenting on the Poll, Alexandra H, a Creative Strategist, wrote that she was TOLD to resort to Quiet Firing as a tactic to encourage employees to take a ‘new path’ on their own.
Some employers see Quit Firing as an effective tactic, but it can open employers to wrongful termination claims or constructive dismissal lawsuits, creating a toxic environment at the workplace.
An employee who is constructively dismissed may pursue a wrongful termination claim and seek damages equal to reasonable notice. In addition to facing lawsuits and paying for damages, the employer will also have to face reputational damage.
In light of the great resignation, labour shortage and quiet quitting, quiet firing might not be the wisest choice for employers.
Whether you resort to “Quiet Firing” or notice employees “Quiet Quitting,” it only means something isn’t right at your workplace, and you need to reevaluate your methods.
- Instead of being toxic to the underperforming employee, speak up instead of “quiet” firing. Give the employee a chance to improve or terminate the contract legally and lawfully. It’s not worth facing a lawsuit just because you want to avoid an awkward conversation.
- Be transparent and set clear expectations with your employees about the consequences of not performing or behaving at work.
- Train managers and supervisors on managing employees with performance or behavioural issues.
- Have a solid Employment Agreement that details your policies and organizational goals. Having a foolproof agreement will put you in a safer spot while facing wrongful termination claims.
- Recognize efforts and reward deserving employees with a promotion, a bonus, a time-off or even a simple “Good Job.”
- Have a solid performance improvement plan and corrective action plan in place
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