Employers have taken a leaf out of Gen Z’s book and have gotten inspired by “ghosting” and “quiet quitting”. Now, they’re using the same strategy to avoid laying off employees.
The strategy, which is now known as “quiet cutting” or “quiet firing,” is a subtle way of getting current employees to voluntarily quit by cutting their roles and reassigning them to different ones as part of “organizational restructuring.”
While the term is relatively new, it’s a lot like “quiet quitting“—a trend that developed post-COVID with employees doing just the bare minimum at work.
Now, employers have caught on and are using quiet cutting to fire employees without actually firing them.
The Latest Trend: Quiet Cutting
Here’s how it works:
Quiet cutting is often discreet and, in most cases, disguised as a “role reassignment.”
It may seem generous at first. The company has to make some changes, but they reassure employees that they will not be fired but will be ‘re-assigned’ to new roles in a different department.
New Challenges and Growth
That’s good news, right? After all, it has been a tough year, and with the job market being even tougher, at the very least, you get to keep your job.
Except it’s Not
Because, in many cases, this is just the first step of quiet cutting.
So, how do you know if you are being quietly fired? Well, here are three ways to get an idea if your job security is in jeopardy.
1. It’s A Step Down
First off, things don’t get better after you are reassigned. Instead, they take a turn for the worse. The new role you were promised was supposed to be a new opportunity with more responsibility and new clients.
Instead, it is not even close to your current role, let alone a step up.
In many cases, the work that many employees get assigned to is below their pay and skill level. Some even have fewer projects, a lighter workload, and even fewer responsibilities.
Many employees even find themselves in a tough spot because they are now in charge of mundane tasks, removed from important projects and assignments, and eventually discover that they are slowly and subtly being excluded from important meetings and decisions.
2. It’s Making You Miserable
Secondly, the role assignment or new position requires more effort from you. While promotions can be inconvenient, if your employer is setting unreasonable expectations or expecting you to jump through hoops for the new role, you may be at risk of losing your job.
For example, you are being asked to relocate to a different state within two weeks for the new role. Or the company asks you to take on a job role in a field that is completely unrelated to your current role.
3. It’s a trap
These reassignments will make you wonder: Is this really a promotion or a demotion? And if it is neither, then what is it really?
In that case, it may be time to see it for what it is: quiet cutting. Your employer forces you into a corner where you have no option but to find yourself handing in your resignation.
Quiet Cutting Strategies
Another strategy that is used by companies is to phase out employees by assigning them to a department or division that is about to shut down.
This makes it easier to lay off the employees or have them actively start looking for new jobs and jump ship.
It’s Setting You Up For Failure
In some cases, superiors who were once supportive and happy with an employee’s performance suddenly start to be critical of their work or performance, leading to negative reviews.
Other strategies of quiet cutting include taking away benefits and perks that employees have had for years.
But the real question is, why don’t employers simply fire these employees? Why go through all the trouble of throwing around terms like restructuring and reassignment?
It Saves the Company Money
Believe it or not, layoffs can be expensive for companies. And termination charges with severance packages for the fired employees can actually build it up.
For example, for the fourth quarter alone, the giant company Meta took a $4.2 billion restructuring charge.
Now, this cost can be avoided if employees decide to quit the company themselves. That way, the employer doesn’t have to go through the hassle of severance packages or paying unemployment benefits.
Big Companies Are using it too!
This is why even companies like Adobe, IBM, and even Adidas have used quiet cutting to subtly force staff members to quit voluntarily to avoid firing them and coughing up benefits and packages.
The Harsh Truth
Unfortunately, quiet cutting is so subtle that there is not much employees can do about it. Legal options in such cases are limited, and since quiet cutting is elusive, it’s hard for employees to prove that they were forced to quit.
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This article was produced by TPR Teaching. Source.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.