Last time we posted on the fallout from Quiet Quitting. Today, we examine the consequences of Quiet Firing—purposely creating unfavorable work conditions to get an employee to quit. Whether Quiet Quitting or Quiet Firing, today’s silent workforce war may be a result of overstressed employees and managers, or a symptom of limited interpersonal skills, but it is definitely happening and having a negative influence across industries.
According to a recent poll by LinkedIn News, most workers have been victims of Quiet Firing or have seen it happen. At its core, Quiet Firing is about intentionally getting someone to quit by creating a negative work environment, which may be achieved in several ways, such as: reduced responsibilities, hours, or pay; isolation from the team; lack of access to managers or resources to do the job; less favorable work conditions; or stagnant salary and growth while others get raises and promotions. Quiet Firing victims include all types: underperformers, hard workers with good evaluations, people most unlike their manager, young and old—either way, nobody gets out unscathed.
Similar to Quiet Quitting, using a passive-aggressive approach to getting someone to leave your employ comes at great cost to the individual and the organization. For the victim of Quiet Firing, being disrespected in this way can be devastating and take a toll on mental and physical health. For the company that engages in this backhanded strategy to get staff to leave, the damage to workforce morale and productivity can be enormous. Losing talent instead of supporting an employee to do their best work is especially costly given the current staffing shortage. There are legal consequences as well. When managers take intentional action to create a hostile work environment to push out an employee, it may be a constructive dismissal, which can be the basis for an expensive lawsuit.
While Quiet Firing someone may avoid an awkward termination scene or paying for unemployment, it is bad for business and a sign of poor leadership. As uncomfortable as it is to engage in difficult conversations, the interpersonal skills to do it well are critical for effective management. Creating authentic relationships with your team and making sure employees have the supports they need to be successful are basic principles of good leadership.
Like any relationship, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Smart managers know ending a work relationship should be done with respect, empathy and honest communication, and it should occur only after multiple, well-documented conversations and attempts at improvement. Quiet Firing is disrespectful to the individual and toxic to the workforce culture, spreading fear and distrust like an aggressive cancer. Leaders who understand the importance of being fair and ending on good terms inspire loyalty from those who remain and respect from those who leave.