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#trending: Amid 'quiet quitting' debate, some say passive-aggressive 'quiet firing' by poor managers is bigger issue

UNITED STATES — You might have heard of “quiet quitting”, a trending buzz phrase that has gained traction among workers tired of going above and beyond at work for little return. But have you heard of “quiet firing”? 

 

Spinning off from "quiet quitting", social media users have coined "quiet firing" to describe managers who use passive-aggressive tactics to push employees to quit.

Spinning off from "quiet quitting", social media users have coined "quiet firing" to describe managers who use passive-aggressive tactics to push employees to quit.

  • "Quiet quitting" is a trending buzz phrase that has gained traction among workers tired of going above and beyond at work for little return
  • Spinning off from that, social media users have coined "quiet firing" to describe managers who use passive-aggressive tactics to push employees to quit
  • Some people argue that quiet quitting and quiet firing both stem from poor management
  • Others say the tactic is not new, and should even be called workplace bullying

UNITED STATES — You might have heard of “quiet quitting”, a trending buzz phrase that has gained traction among workers tired of going above and beyond at work for little return. But have you heard of “quiet firing”? 

While employees “quiet quit” by scaling back on work and doing only what they are paid for, managers are said to “quiet fire” when they avoid firing an employee outright and use passive-aggressive tactics to push them to quit on their own. 

Social media users are arguing that more attention should be paid to the latter because the practice is “rampant” but rarely addressed.

Software developer Randy Miller said in a Twitter thread on Aug 17: “A lot of talk about ‘quiet quitting’ but very little talk about ‘quiet firing,’ which is when you don’t give someone a raise in five years even though they keep doing everything you ask them to.” 

However, it is not limited to just pay.

In a viral LinkedIn post by recruiter Bonnie Dilber, other indicators of quiet firing include not giving a worker any feedback or praise, leaving them out of important meetings or projects, not granting them a promotion or pay raise, or never discussing growth opportunities.

The goal is to demoralise an employee to the extent that they leave on their own.

In her post, Ms Dilber stated that companies should not worry about quiet quitting, but instead “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”.

Ms Dilber’s opinion resonated with many social media users who shared their own experiences with quiet firing.

Some argued that quiet quitting and quiet firing both stem from the same root cause: Poor management. 

One LinkedIn user wrote: "Quiet quitting is rather a direct result of the bad management, either incompetence or malicious intentions. It is more like some managers’ ego saying their employees are quiet quitting, not motivated, rather than them seeing, reflecting or admitting what they might have done wrong."

Another user added: "Why is 'employee retention' not always part of every manager’s review? Quiet quitting and quiet firing are both symptoms of the same problems…incompetent managers and lack of corporate accountability.”

Others demanded for quiet firing to be called for what they consider it to be workplace bullying.

Although regarded as questionable by many, the practice of quiet firing is not new. As some online users pointed out, euphemisms such as “managing out” or “constructive dismissal” already exist to describe the same tactic.

Experts quoted in a commentary on Fortune magazine warned that this passive-aggressive tendency to be "quiet" instead of having honest conversations can hurt careers and relationships.

So what can an employee do if they suspect that they are the subject of quiet firing?

In a report by Canadian Business, Toronto-based human resource expert Amanda Hudson warned against jumping to conclusions. Instead, she recommended that employees talk about their experience and ask their manager for their perspective on the issue.

"You can say, 'I'm experiencing this — is that your intention?'" Hudson said.

Related topics

trending employment quiet quitting quiet firing manager employer

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