“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.
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.
*Source: Harvard Business Review
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:
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.”
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:
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 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 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 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.
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.