Signs of quiet firing taking place at companies include making employees feel they are underperforming by focusing solely on metrics and taking perks away to make the work environment less and less appealing.
You’ve heard of quiet quitting, the phenomenon of employees slowly putting less and less effort into their jobs into they’re just doing the bare minimum, but have you heard of quiet firing? According to Business Insider, it’s a similar situation in which employers make a work environment less and less appealing to an employee until they decide the job is no longer for them; they haven’t been explicitly fired, but the company led them toward their decision to quit. If you think your company could be quiet firing you, here are six things to watch out for.
One way that companies make work harder for their employees is by restricting how and where they get their work done. If there’s one thing that the pandemic taught us, it’s that most jobs can be done remotely, at least some of the time. Companies now have less of an excuse for making employees work in person, when they’ve clearly demonstrated they can do their job just as well from elsewhere; forcing people to come in to work for apparently no reason is a way that companies can test the so-called loyalty of their employees, and push those who don’t see the point in coming in toward quitting.
Companies can also quiet fire their employees by taking away benefits or perks. Though many companies are required to provide benefits like health insurance, they can make those benefits less desirable for some people than others. But benefits can also be less black-and-white and can include things like gym memberships, built-in vacation time, or holidays off, all of which an employee would miss if they were taken away. A lack of benefits or incentives makes many employees feel as if the company doesn’t care about their wellbeing, which may lead them toward quitting.
In bigger companies especially, a focus on performance, rather than the overall person and what they contribute to the organization, can be a form of quiet firing. Focusing on metrics and increasing performance criteria may seem, on paper, like a good way to increase productivity in employees, but it often leads to alienation and employees feeling like they can’t or don’t want to live up to the standards. It’s not that the company will fire someone, but that they’ll make them feel they can’t perform at the level the company needs them to and will be encouraged to find a position elsewhere.
Possibly the biggest culprit in the quiet firing game is a lack of salary increases or career advancement. People don’t want to give their entire life to a career in which they can’t move forward at all or, at the very least, where they don’t get compensated for years of employment. Especially when it comes to inflation, if employers don’t see their paycheck growing over the years, they can grow resentful, and may feel that the company is singling them out by not giving them a raise that keeps pace with the economy.
When people feel neglected or overlooked at work, they don’t want to be there. Much of quiet firing isn’t intentional, but it can be avoided if employers care for their workers as people first, and performers second. Employers forget that loyalty to a job is a two-way street; your employees need to feel that you are as committed to their wellbeing as they are to the company itself.