Quiet quitting, a buzzword in HR these days, is when employees disengage from their job and begin to withdraw from their work responsibilities and interactions with coworkers without formally resigning. This can be dangerous for employers because it can lead to a decrease in productivity and a loss of valuable talent. 

However, this is not the only trend that concerns employee engagement and threatens employee retention. On the employees' side, we have career cushioning: the practice of taking steps to protect one's career in the event of job loss or other career setbacks. Some strategies of career cushioning are:

  • Developing in-demand skills

  • Maintaining a strong online presence to build a stronger professional network

  • Building up savings and investments in the event of unemployment

On the other hand, we have quiet firing, which according to SHRM, is a combination of actions that include:

  • Passing over an employee for promotions or raises despite high productivity and a strong work ethic without providing feedback as to why.

  • Withholding feedback from workers (constructive or otherwise) on submitted projects.

  • Assigning projects that are consistently beneath an employee's skill set or job description while colleagues have opportunities to grow and learn.

  • Regularly cancelling one-on-one and progress meetings.

It is important to pay attention to these trends and to detect warning signs from both our employees (quiet quitting) and managers (quiet firing), as the consequences can be damaging for companies. Some of the negative effects these behaviours include:

1. Decreased Productivity

When employees begin to disengage from their work, either because of personal reasons or because they were driven to it, they may become less productive and inefficient. This can lead to missed deadlines, incomplete projects, and a decline in the quality of their work.

2. Negative Impact on Team Morale

If a quiet quitter is part of a team, their withdrawal can harm the morale of their coworkers. Other team members may feel frustrated or resentful if they feel like they are picking up the slack for someone who is not pulling their weight.

3. Difficulty in Finding a Replacement

If an organization has quiet quitting or quiet firing cases of people that require specialized skills or knowledge, it can be challenging to find a replacement. This can lead to delays in projects and increased workloads for other employees.

4. Cost of Turnover

When an employee leaves, there are costs associated with finding and training a replacement. If an employee is quietly quitting, it can be more difficult to anticipate their departure, increasing these costs.

It is vital that employers pay attention to signs of disengagement and take steps to address the underlying issues to avoid the potential dangers of quiet quitting. Assuring clear communication between employers and staff, offering flexible work arrangements to ensure work-life balance, and promoting career development are some ways employers can foster a motivated and engaged workforce.

Do you see trends like quiet quitting or quiet firing in your organization? Let us know in the comments section. 


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