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Resist The Quiet Firing Trend

Resist the Quiet Firing Trend. Here are four steps to staffing with integrity.
The pandemic has created a major shift in the modern working environment. We’ve been hearing about the “quiet quitting” trend and the debates that go along with it. Now, the term “quiet firing” has been coined to call out employers who enable this passive-aggressive practice in the workplace.

No matter what side of the debate you’re on, “quiet quitting” and “quiet firing” are signs of transparency issues between the employees and the employers.

No manager likes to admit they’ve engaged in “quiet firing”. As the term describes, the subtle (quiet) pushing out of an employee so they decide to quit on their own, happens in workplaces more often than it’s being reported. The term “quiet firing” may be new, but managers have made this mistake over and over again.

Firing an employee is unpleasant. Most managers agree it is the worst part of their job. Even if an employee has underperformed and cost the company money, delivering a painful consequence is often as sad for the manager as the employee. It’s even more difficult when a manager has to make staffing cuts as part of the business’s response to shifting economics. If, however, an employee quits on their own, the manager never has to hold a tough, direct conversation to deliver the bad news.

With more uncertainty in the marketplace, quiet firing is bubbling up as its own version of illness in the workplace. Instead of letting the trend spread, managers can take a healthier approach to the firing process, one that improves organizational vitality. Here are four steps to staffing with integrity.


Communicate Communicate Communicate

It can be tempting for managers to pull back on communication when there’s bad news to deliver. But facing problems head-on is the only way to move past them. Managers can clearly communicate their expectations to employees at the time they are onboarded, and every day thereafter. Constant transparent reminders keep employees focused on meeting expectations. And they immediately know when they do or don’t meet them.

Give critical feedback to individual employees regarding their goals and their performance. This is the kindest thing a manager can do for the struggling employee if it’s done in the right way. Managers that succeed in reforming problem employees are meeting with their people on a regular basis to check in with them and discuss their workplace experiences. They’ve created a safe place for the employee to share the areas where they struggle. The manager becomes aware of issues as soon as they arrive and can keep them small by advising their direct report and getting them the support they need to improve.

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We cover a relevant topic about Employees Experiences vs. Employees Performance and how they affect the company's growth. Check it out!
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Conduct key performance reviews

Performance reviews that happen periodically, for example, each quarter or each year will give the manager and employee an opportunity to review real indisputable data and create the foundation for concrete discussion around behavior. It’s very hard to excuse the metrics. Patterns in behavior such as activity level, revenue production, or other key performance indicators become clearly visible to the employee and manager. Managers can raise concerns about any indicators that have dipped over a consistent period of time. Employees are more receptive to critical feedback when they can see concrete, accurate data that legitimizes the manager’s claims.

Offer Training and Development

Firing may not be the answer for every underperformer. Once managers identify an area for growth, they can get the employee the training they need to improve. More time observing, practicing, and reviewing weak skills can increase their proficiency over time. Managers can make training environments available for employees during non-peak work hours and also as a part of an ongoing employee development process.

Additionally, managers can build in 1:1 coaching like the development coaching available through the TaskHuman mobile coaching platform. Employees can work with an expert coach to improve their soft skills and behavioral patterns that influence their success or failure in their role. The private nature of the coaching relationship can speed up the growth process because root issues come to light faster and with more authentic realizations. Employees that have transformational success stories carry tremendous value in organizations that want to source talent internally. They can encourage newer employees and employees facing difficulty so they’ll buy in and commit to growth.

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Be honest about what's going on in the company

Ultimately, managers are responsible for their team, which is only a subset of the company at large. If cuts are unavoidable, it’s the manager’s role to communicate honestly to employees. Quiet firing surges in cases of layoffs and downsizing. Managers try to mitigate their own emotional pain as the axe swinger by finding “fault” in an employee that earns them a deserved consequence of firing. This can present itself as the following:

•  A manager critiques one team member more than others
•  A manager tends to appreciate on-site employees more than remote workers
•  A manager leaves a team member off email communication more than once
•  A manager gives some team members more responsibility and attractive assignments and pulls back from using other employees.

In actuality, these actions are an elaborate way for the manager to avoid emotional pain. The healthier path for a manager facing layoffs is actually to address the pain inside themselves and the pain pressing in on their team. The team will appreciate the honesty. Employees can maintain healthy confidence in their abilities that enables them to perform in the face of uncertain employment.

In closing

Managers need top-level support to make effective pivots during shifting economic times. This can come in the way of HR training and leadership training that equips them to have tough conversations, make critical decisions and have the self-awareness to deliver authentic feedback to direct reports. TaskHuman’s leadership coaching platform offers managers on-demand and individualized training with a coach that knows well the challenges that present economic uncertainty presents companies.


Changes and uncertainty take a huge toll on your professional and personal well-being. If you’re a people manager, this latest e-book may give you good insights into the five core competencies to lead and succeed through uncertainty. Download below!

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