#Human Resources #Employer

Quiet Firing: What Does It Mean?

Mohamad Danial bin Ab Khalil
by Mohamad Danial bin Ab Khalil
Sep 23, 2022 at 11:59 PM

After quiet quitting, everyone is now talking about quiet firing. Quiet quitting refers to employees establishing limits on how much they are willing and able to work and which duties they are willing to perform. But if it does not involve firing people, what exactly is quiet firing?


The Definition of "Quiet Firing"

Quiet firing occurs when an employer creates a hostile work atmosphere hoping that an employee will actually quit. Employers could accomplish this in various ways, but the main idea is to provide employees with the absolute bare minimum and hope that those workers get the message: they are not wanted and should quit.

Quiet firing occurs when employees believe they are being taken advantage of. This is common in jobs that offer little of three crucial qualities.

  1. Appreciation: Employees must believe that their efforts are valued, and that management appreciates them. Employees need to feel seen and heard in today's jargon.

  2. Rewards: Employees are unlikely to be fully engaged if they are not rewarded for their efforts. Those rewards can be tangible in the form of raises (a lack of raises is frequently cited as a cause of quiet firing) and fringe benefits. However, they can also be intangible, such as receiving praise from managers for professional achievements, which can be a powerful motivator.

  3. Support: As work can be difficult and stressful, employees must be supported. Support can take the form of assistance in completing tasks if workloads become too heavy or employees are unsure how to do something. Emotional support is also essential when employees are stressed at work or home.

Failure to provide these three qualities can harm employee engagement and motivation. Quiet firing is all about organisations failing to invest in their employees. Employees who believe they are being quietly fired are more likely to terminate their employment and quit during this period of high unemployment.


Is "Quiet Firing" another term for "Constructive Dismissal"?

While the phrase has only recently entered the public lexicon, the concept is far from new. Quiet firing is simply another term for constructive dismissal.


Quiet firing examples

Quiet firing can take many forms, based on the workplace, industry, and the extent of your manager's cruelty. Unfortunately, that also means that quiet firing can be increasingly difficult to detect:

  • Despite working for the company for years, the employee is constantly passed over for raises and promotions.

  • The manager never acknowledges or fully takes credit for the employee's accomplishments. Instead, they are demoted and given a new title without changing their responsibilities and duties.

  • The employee is being overburdened with all the worst tasks while their preferred projects are assigned to someone else.

  • The employee performed admirably throughout the year but received poor performance reviews without legitimate explanation.

  • An employee inquires about potential career advancement opportunities and is either shut down or completely ignored.


What leaders can do

Employees are the most valuable resource in any organisation. The company cannot exist without them. So, leadership is doing something wrong if workers believe they are being quietly fired. 

Managers are responsible for creating a supportive working atmosphere that makes the workplace a welcoming and rewarding place to work.

It takes effective leadership to create an environment that promotes organisational objectives without causing staff to feel exploited. There are several things to think about:


1. Clearly communicate the company's goals. 

Top management should establish clear goals and communicate them throughout the organisation. A strong climate prioritises important outcomes such as customer service, ethics, innovation, and safety. Employees must understand the goals and be encouraged to achieve them.


2. Fairness is essential. 

Employees must believe that they are being treated fairly. This includes how rewards are distributed and the underlying process by which rewards are decided. Employees should also know how performance is evaluated and how it is linked to rewards if raises are based on performance. 

However, fairness is more than just pay. It is critical for how staff are treated in disciplinary actions, job assignments, and anything else that impacts them and their employment.


3. Always be ready to offer assistance.

 Leaders must assist their employees. It takes skill to provide effective support, as ineffective support can be counterproductive. Asking staff members how they are doing is one of the most powerful things leaders can do. Effective leaders will offer assistance rather than impose it. Sometimes, struggling employees prefer to figure things out on their own.


4. Recognise and reward efforts. 

Leaders must focus on their employees and provide both tangible and intangible rewards. When supervisors are told that they should reward their employees, they frequently complain that they cannot afford to give raises. 

A raise is undoubtedly a form of recognition, but it's not the only one. A simple thank you can be a powerful reward when expressed with gratitude. Leaders can also reward employees by allowing them to work on a fun project, giving them time off, giving them more autonomy, or taking them out to lunch.


Employees who are fired quietly believe that their employers are not treating them well. Leaders must work hard to create a work environment that allows employees to thrive and perform at their best.


Sources: YourDictionary, Paul Spector