From firing employees to “quiet” layoffs, workplace interactions are becoming less direct and more disruptive.
Quiet quitting is when employees create impenetrable boundaries between their work and personal lives and avoid overworking at work. In online conversations on the subject, it is hinted that resignations are the result of poor management skills on the part of managers who fire their employees.
This time, a quiet layoff occurs when a manager deliberately deprives an employee of a career opportunity. Managers who prevent employees from participating in special projects or getting promotions show signs of a covert layoff.
A viral TikTok video illustrates these “closetted” ones. Managers who assign menial tasks, place unrealistic expectations on their employees, and consistently refuse to give them time off are guilty of quiet dismissals.
What motivates leaders to do this to their employees? According to Annie Rosenkrans, director of human resources and culture at HiBob, managers who quietly fire their employees do so for several reasons.
Managers who lack confidence in their leadership skills may be more likely to behave in this way with their subordinates. Instead of taking the time to sit down with an employee and help them solve their problems at work, managers who shelve them completely shut down and hope the employee goes away on his own.
“It depends on the manager’s intentions,” says Annie Rosenkrans. “If a manager thinks that someone on his team is not doing well, instead of telling him about it, he creates distance and distances himself from the employee in the hope that this person will refuse and leave on his own.”
Presumably, busy, overworked managers don’t have the time, patience, or emotional capacity for difficult conversations with their subordinates about their performance. But managers have a way to reduce the burden and frequency of these difficult conversations.
However, this solution is not easy to implement and executives cannot expect it to be successful overnight. Annie Rosenkrans suggests that companies incorporate progressive feedback into their corporate culture to help employees understand the shortcomings of their work.
In an Instagram post, psychiatrist Adam Grant explained that toxic work culture bans days off in order to force employees to work harder to “earn” paid days off. In other posts, Adam Grant mentioned that employees who are consistently denied vacation despite fulfilling their duties at work are more likely to quit.
Silent firing of employees can be seen as a response to less enthusiastic employees, while employees may quit silently because they suspect that their boss is trying to silently fire them. These actions represent an endless, tedious, and unproductive feedback loop, but there are solutions for both scenarios.
To help employees better understand where they need to improve their performance, Annie Rosenkrans suggests that managers schedule time to have one-on-one conversations with their direct reports. According to Annie Rosenkrans, such meetings should be frequent, and performance reviews should be more than once a year.
Companies may find it useful to enroll managers in feedback training to help them recognize their employees’ behavior at work and help them when they fall behind in their work. By providing employees with valuable feedback, managers address the issue directly, instead of avoiding the conversation and waiting for the employee to take a step to justify leaving.
New hybrid habits
Feedback is key to keeping employees engaged and motivated in a hybrid or remote environment. The lack of face-to-face interaction between employees and managers can give way to employees who break down and become less involved in their work.
According to Annie Rosenkrans, managers who do not meet regularly with their direct reports are responsible for keeping employees in the dark about their duties and the safety of their jobs. According to Annie Rosenkrans, setting goals for employees, developing improvement plans, and having general meetings with employees can reduce the likelihood of quiet exits and dismissals.
In both cases, the consequences of silent departures and dismissals fall on the shoulders of managers and heads of enterprises. The way we work is rapidly changing in every aspect of the workplace. Once companies embrace new ways of working and abandon their traditional cultures, the chances are that employee morale will finally return to normal.