Quiet Quitting v/s Quiet Firing

“Quiet quitting” and “quiet firing” are the latest buzzwords to take the world of work by storm. But while the terms themselves may be new, the concepts are not. And they illustrate a troubling trend taking place in the post-pandemic workplace. Quiet quitting is a trend popular with millennials that prioritise mental health over on-the-job burnout. It’s not actually quitting, but instead means doing the bare minimum to keep your job without putting in any extra effort. Quiet firing happens when employers actively seek to make work conditions less favorable by taking away attention, resources, or opportunities from employees with the hope that they’ll resign. A recent LinkedIn News poll reveals that more than 80 percent of over 20,000 respondents have experienced or witnessed quiet firing.

Both quiet quitting and quiet firing are aggressive moves born out of uncertainty. Quiet quitters don’t want to pull the trigger because they may be afraid of what awaits them on the other side of unemployment in a volatile economic and social climate. And at a time when employee well-being and retention are front and center, quiet firers may be concerned about outright firing an employee.

So why is quiet quitting happening?

With the Gen-Z entering the workforce when the pandemic hit, the whole perspective has shifted. People realized during the pandemic how important the work-life balance is and once physical offices were back, many saw how much time they were wasting commuting, while they were more efficient when working from home. The first consequence was the great resignation trend and when inflation hit the economy, the workforce turned to quiet quitting.

Research reveals that 62% of employees who gave their managers the highest possible rating (in other words – effective leaders) were willing to go the extra mile at work versus just 3% who were quietly quitting. However, under the least effective managers, that 3% grew to 14% with just 20% of employees willing to do more.

The graph below shows that the least effective managers have three to four times as many people who fall in the “quiet quitting” category compared to the most effective leaders.

                                                    Quiet quitting quiet firing report

 *Source: Harvard Business Review

Are people quietly quitting or are they being quietly fired?

The line between quiet quitting and quiet firing is actually very fine! We have all experienced a bad manager, either firsthand or indirectly, and we have probably all witnessed someone being actively managed out of their job through demotion, lack of reward, or even bullying. In the age of hybrid and remote work, it is easier for managers to disconnect from their workers than ever before. This can leave remote staff feeling unappreciated and isolated as they try to figure out just why their boss is giving them the cold shoulder. People need to look out for the below signs to understand if they are experiencing quiet firing:

  • No pay rises
  • Unfair bonus allocation
  • No feedback
  • No opportunities for promotion
  • No opportunities for learning, training, or development
  • Managers not listening

This is something that employers have done for many years, and sometimes the human resource processes may encourage this by segmenting talent. If the employer does not see a high performance or potential in an employee, they may not make investments in that person for the future (e.g. training, career development). We might view this as, “We’re not going to fire you, but we’re not going to do anything to encourage you to stay.”

Quiet firing quiet quitting image

6 Strategies to Avoid Quiet Quitting

Clearly both quiet quitting and quiet firing can harm an employer’s culture. So here are a few suggestions of what employers can do about it:

  • Encourage proper communication – If an employee is dissatisfied for any reason such as pay, hours, or relationships with colleagues, encourage them to speak up and if you can’t agree to an employee’s requests, for example for a promotion, explain why.
  • Check for patterns: Keep a close eye on exit interview records, employee satisfaction surveys, and social media posts that could identify issues that might lead to quiet quitting.
  • Mental health: If employees are struggling with their mental health, consider ways to support them. Referring them to occupational health is likely to give you more information about how you can support them.
  • Keep an eye on managers: To guard against slipping managerial standards, effective appraisals in which direct reports are able to give honest, constructive feedback, are key.
  • Take action: Some issues may be relatively easily resolved through existing mechanisms. For example, an employee “quietly quitting” because they feel like they don’t spend enough time with their family may wish to make a flexible working request.
  • Create a formal process: If quiet quitting is proving an issue in your workplace and it is not possible to resolve it via informal means, it is possible to deal with such behaviour under a formal disciplinary or performance process. However, care and consideration should be taken before starting along this route to ensure a fair process is followed.

How can process automation help?

No matter what their reasons are, workers are leaving their jobs more readily than ever before. And in the wake of quiet quitting, many organisations have turned to automation. The overarching approach is to fill the gaps left by the departing workforce. To an extent, process automation can protect companies by filling resource gaps when employees leave. With software shouldering the routine workload left undone by departing team members, the remaining tasks can be absorbed by those still working with the business. However, just patching gaps left by departing team members is not the best use of automation. Digitalisation can also help companies retain employees in the first place. That is, the right use of automation can ward off quiet quitting, rather than merely deal with the outcome.

Here are the ways automation can help:

  • Automation creates better work

Automation takes on the repetitive and mind-numbing tasks that contribute to job dissatisfaction. Because automation technology removes this kind of monotonous administrative work, employees get to complete higher-value tasks. Tasks that are more engaging, more creative, and more strategic hence giving them that sense of purpose at work.

  • Automation eases workload

Automation can support workers by handling bits of their harder tasks and much of their routine, time-consuming ones. This, in turn, means that workers get the greater balance and level of flexibility that they are looking for. For example, they don’t need to spend as much time on manual data entry. Things on a deadline can be sent automatically. Additionally, this liberating ability of automation can help support employees that are struggling due to long-term health issues. (Like long covid, for instance.)

  • Automation can help address pay rate

Automation is an inexpensive way to boost efficiency and productivity translating into business growth. This can enable organisations to offer a more competitive salary range. Well-compensated employees are more likely to remain than resign.

Automation with AMO

AMO builds bespoke human-centric automation solutions for both the Shared Services and the core functions of our customers’ businesses. Our user-centric approach leveraging Nintex K2 to create applications provides employees with the best environment to perform their day-to-day tasks. Our solutions have also enabled our customers in improving collaboration among employees and helped in joining the silos systems. We ensure that the solutions integrate with our customers existing systems ultimately leading to a space where employees are free from distractions and the stress of multiple applications. Thus helping our clients to effectively manage the quiet quitting trend.

Reach out to our team to discuss your automation initiatives.


























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