We now have corporate terms that have been happening for decades, Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, Quiet Firing, Quick Quitting. Quiet Hiring, Quiet Promotion, Rage Applying, Quiet Cutting and more. Companies are managing out employees by being strategic where people quit and that's exactly what bad bosses want. How to spot red flags if you are getting fired/laid off.
Quiet quitting is not slacking off but setting the boundaries and some people have been backlashed. Quiet quitting comes with the privilege at the time and where you are in your journey. I admit it may not be right for everybody and may depend on the company's expectations. When life happens to us, we start self-reflecting and modifying our approach and it is okay to put your need first before your boss. I believed in hustle culture from the corporate world, but I have missed many critical moments at home to climb up the ladder. My boss used to book lunch meetings and I couldn't say no. Their KPIs were mine. I was constantly on my blackberry after hours/ during vacation replying to emails. One day I got laid off in 60 secs over the phone. That's when I realized, nobody will remember you going above and beyond or skipping your breaks, leaving small kids behind and travelling on weekends, and working after hours, when there is cost cutting/restructuring. There is no family at work. You are replaceable in secs. Please have boundaries from day one. Here is my interview with City News.
Quiet quitting is a message to employers, no you are not entitled to employee engagement unless you do something about it. Quiet quitting is doing the job you are supposed to do and protecting your boundaries as simple as that. No free coffee, lunch, or branded cheap swags, will work anymore for employee engagement. Why are employees blamed for employee engagement?
The leadership team needs to outline clear expectations and what is considered going above and beyond. Is it volunteering after hours for their cause? how do you measure those hours, do they get a salary increase later? what if an employee can't commit to team building/ volunteering after hours? people have life after work, is that quiet quitting? how about you plan all our team-building activities during work hours? how hard it is not to exploit employees in the name of giving back where you raise billions of dollars and take credit. People have their own charities they participate in regularly and they do this willingly not by being forced.
Forcing people to sign up for overtime hours regularly because you can't forecast the call volume/ busy days / unforeseen circumstances when someone calls in sick/ goes away on the vacation?
You are incompetent in resource planning/ scheduling and now blaming employees for client satisfaction. Your outdated machines break down regularly and employees have to put up with escalation. You have non-stop busy traffic and yet you don't hire more staff and use your managers as a backup for helping in front, but you make billions? you use "duties as assigned" as a loophole to dump the tasks employees were not hired for, and when staff speaks up about the broken process you will resort to blaming " you didn't go above and beyond". Do you get the point why employees tend to quiet quit? because they have had it!
"Quiet quitting" is about rejecting the notion that work has to take over one's life as simple as that. Ontario now has the right to disconnect policy, know your right. This might not apply to all professions. Employers that employ 25 or more employees are required to have a written policy on disconnecting from work in place for all employees. The term “disconnecting from work” is defined to mean not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or sending or reviewing other messages, to be free from the performance of work. Read more here.
This is the new term but has been in practice for years. Quiet firing is managing people out to the point they quit on their own. Sometimes quiet quitting might contribute to quiet firing. Maybe the next promotion will go to someone else because you couldn't work after hours, join happy hours, golf club, join smokers' group, etc. This is where managers are walking the thin line of discriminating against workers. When leaders do not outline the key performance indicator (KPI) for measuring productivity and hold employees accountable for a missed promotion that to me is a quiet firing.
There is a wrong way to terminate & the right way to terminate. Managers who avoid confrontation, sugar-coat feedback, and do not deliver feedback on time may resort to quiet firing behind the scenes. Are employers spying/ monitoring on you to exit you?
Employers that employ 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year are required to have a written policy on the electronic monitoring of employees in place. Read more here about policies.
We are not a right fit for all the jobs, if you realize it then you have the option to leave. but if you are targeted to quit, you need to watch your back as an employee. Was the procedure followed? how can you document and fight back?
Examples of quiet firing in my opinion.
Lateral promotion with more responsibilities without a salary increases
Low ratings on performance reviews without valid reason and without ongoing coaching throughout the year. This approach will now impact employee engagement, employee salary and promotion. Watch the video here on how to protect yourself.
Putting an employee on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) without having several discussions in advance and support is purely done to manage employees out with the cause. Which will impact the severance and employment insurance.
Hiring external people with the same experience but paying them way higher than internal staff doing the same exact job
Micromanaging to the point employees lose confidence and develop self-doubt and go on stress leave due to mental health
No accommodation is provided for people returning back from leave in order to manage them out
Is your boss quiet cutting you to avoid layoffs and severance?
Quiet Cutting is cost cutting with a strategy which could eliminate media attention for mass layoffs and layoffs and severance costs. Either you get assigned to the new role or quit. It is take it or leave it approach without any options. TRAP!! Check this video for the quiet cutting example
Let's understand why quiet cutting is happening. Good employers offer other roles genuinely to avoid layoffs. Bad employers using quiet cutting as a loophole. Why do companies not use layoffs but reassign you to a new role?
To make it look like you were given the option to take it or leave it?
To meet employment standards.
If you go to fight the case, they have the upper hand as they provided options.
To avoid getting attention for mass layoffs as there are compliance and notice periods.
Cutting roles in small groups throughout without getting attention on media or announcements.
To avoid paying severance so you would start an exit plan and quit.
Signs to watch out
Are you reassigned to a new role?
Anytime your roles gets changed there are chances of constructive dismissal.
Is the role shrinking with a pay cut? Or fewer responsibilities?
For example- you were leading the team and now you are reassigned as an individual contributor.
Even if the title stays the same, responsibilities are changed from the original contract.
Now it changes everything including possible future severance.
The new contract has to be approved by you.
Make them sign a new contract and dictate your exit. The first thing lawyers ask is your job offer. Save that!
Other tactics companies are using:
Are you mandated to return to work and no remote options?
Are they taking attendance, are accommodations in place for invisible /visible disabilities?
Were you hired as remote staff?
Fight back if you were. What does the job offer say?
Does the company have a remote working policy?
Are you set up for failure in a new role without training /support?
Are you being placed on a performance
improvement plan (PIP) without being trained/coached or having multiple discussions?
PIP is a paper trail to fire you with the cause without severance.
Back from mat leave, sick leave?
Old to retire?
Not getting along with management?
You will be quiet cut!
Workers are still outright quitting their jobs as quickly as possible, as per LinkedIn. There is no standard rule of how long you should be at your job and why. Gone are those days when we stay at one job until retirement. Being loyal is costing many people during layoffs. Depending on the way the layoffs are done maybe people with seniority will be laid off first. Staying longer at one company may not be a strength anymore. I wish I had job-hopped many times before my layoff. I quit 2 jobs within a year back-to-back to start consulting at Teachndo Career Consultancy for Job Seekers.
I get many clients who want to quit within a couple of months because of various reasons such as micromanagement, low pay for more work, no work-life balance etc. But they delay their exit just because of " what would other people think". My client who was a newcomer in Canada got multiple recruiters reaching out each month within a year and refused to switch. She reached out to me and ask, " is it okay to quit for more money". I asked her if money is her motivation and if it is her dream company, to take that but do informational interviews first. The second time was due to a micromanager she asked," is it okay to quit". I said QUIT because I can relate.
Can we normalize job hopping and quick quitting without any bias and discrimination?
Quiet Hiring, Quiet Promotion, Quiet Cutting
Quiet hiring is not new it has always been there, and good employers do this the right way. It is fantastic to maximize internal talent, but it gets tricky when promotions and cross-training do not happen in a fair way. Having a preferred list of internal candidates and creating future talent pools for the next promotion is a smart strategy as long as their career path is clearly established. If the job is not posted and made available to everyone internally, is it a hidden job, is it fair?
Quiet hiring could be labelled as quiet promoting without compensation or with lateral promotions, and special projects for a short term. Quietly hiring could be a labour abuse if you force mandatory cross-training and use employees as backup without a raise or compensating for added responsibilities. Quiet hiring is the practice of assigning additional jobs or works to existing employees rather than recruiting new staff. Duties, as assigned, are being used as quiet hiring, is it fair? It is better than layoffs but is it the right approach for everyone?
I come from an industry where employees & managers are expected to be used as backup.
In an essence they want you to know multiple roles, so they never have to backfill positions. Cross-trained staff will never have downtime, they are constantly pulled for wearing multiple hats. This is wage theft. It is the exploitation of labour in the name of going and beyond. Resources planning will continue to plan cross-trained staff as a headcount. If businesses can function by wearing multiple hats, businesses will never hire new staff. When those staffs come back, will they have pending work from their previous role? is it fair?
I recall when I was selected to lead the new hire team, it was a special project without any extra pay. I learned a lot, no doubt. Once the posting was up since I had already done the role, I applied for the role, and I was hired with a contract. Full-time managers who were doing the same role as me were getting paid more for exactly what I was doing. Was it fair from a quiet hiring perspective?
This was a wage theft for many of us, but nobody spoke up. Because we all wanted to get promoted. This was ongoing practice. This approach created a pay gap among internal staff.
If your employer is using you as a backup for internal roles, it is time to ask for more $$ and negotiate the terms or get out!
When might quiet hiring work?
If you want to pivot and test your internal role, quiet hiring could be used as a strategy.
Talk to your manager, follow the career ladder and test out. Be clear on your negotiables. Are you moving for more money/ title/ more exposure?
I was quietly hired in many roles, but I tested the role, put my hands up and was promoted with a raise only after I negotiated. When you have a good boss, quiet hiring will be done right. Bad bosses use quiet hiring for wage theft.
The question to ask yourself is would you rather want to be laid off or have a role where you could transfer/ pivot internally with/ without more salary?
Here is my insight featured in the daily mail on quiet hiring when it is not done in an ethical way by employers.
Rage applying and Loud Quitting
Rage applying happens when employees are unhappy with the current work condition which attributes to applying for many jobs to get out. Some employees might disclose they are moving out after expressing dissatisfaction at work by loudly quitting and some might do it privately. Rage applying could happen for a fair salary, underpaid workers, toxic leadership and colleagues, the promotion went to the wrong employees etc. Performance reviews with a low shocking rating and no salary increase. Quiet quitting and quiet firing may be related to the rage applying due to the extreme pressure of going above and beyond by wearing multiple hats without a salary hike. My caution is to apply for the role after the research, you don't want to jump from one frying pan to other in the rage. Having an honest conversation with your boss might help see if you can negotiate for more salary. Bring your accomplishments to the table when negotiating the salary. . Are you willing to take a counteroffer, now your boss knows you were planning to quit. Will the boss retaliate if you stay? if it is a toxic place, no amount of salary increase will solve your rage.
Another option is to transfer to a different department if you see the value in working with the same company. Be thoughtful and document the toxic environment if you want to call out a bad boss. Here are the steps to document through the right complaint process to ensure you are not discriminated against.
Rage applying has always been there, and we are glad to now see a term for why employees quit to go where they are celebrated. Time to hold employers accountable for why people are raging. A counteroffer and an exit interview are too late to retain talent when an employee is raged due to dissatisfaction. Listen to the survey and fix it. Be proactive, not reactive. Many employees might not be comfortable addressing the source of rage for fear of retaliation, discrimination, harassment, burning the bridge, and running away from the reality that puts reputational risks on employers & employees. My interview with Globe and Mail on Rage applying
Unhappy at work? Rather than rage applying for jobs, experts advise taking a strategic approach.
Everyone needs reasons to self-reflect and a source of rage to get motivated to speak up against the toxic boss/ culture and career advancement, make more money and work-life balance. Sometimes rage is good to identify what matters to you. but the disadvantage of rage could be a hasty decision that might land you in a sticky situation. The risk of getting bad and unfair reference checks, if you get hired at the new place, might be holding you back from switching jobs. So be careful who you put on that reference.
Before you start applying and spraying those resumes, define your niche and accomplishment on your resume, and interview preparation without bad-mouthing your current job. Ask the right interview questions to understand the new boss's expectations and KPIs. Conduct information interviews to ensure you don't end up again in a toxic place. No job is worth mental health.
My interview on FOX 26 News
Here are things you could do as a candidate to spot the red flags during the interview.
Ask these questions during job interviews and take your power back but strategically.
The interview is a two-way street. Watch how the hiring managers answer these questions. Leaders who ridicule the team and past employees might make or break your career. These questions need to be customized based on the roles and conversation. You don't want to sound too direct either.
Can you describe the traits of a high performer, and how is it measured?
What is going above and beyond mean to you?
How do you measure employee engagement?
How do you manage/ coach low performers?
What are the traits of low performers based on this role?
What would your team say about you?
How do you deal with someone who disagrees?
How do you spot high performers/ low performers?
When was the last time you had constructive feedback from your team/ manager, what did you do after?
What do you like about your team the most?
What does work-life balance mean to you?
What do you consider micro-management?
Can your team function if you were to go away on a vacation for a couple of weeks?
When was the last time you promoted a person from your team?
How do you recognize the high performer and motivate the lower performer to increase productivity?
What are the deliveries for 60-90-365 days for this role?
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Sweta Regmi is a globally recognized top career expert, speaker, and certified career and resume strategist with over a decade of experience empowering job seekers and career professionals. Top media outlets have widely recognized Regmi's expertise, her insights are featured in CBC National News, CNBC, CTV News, City News, Global News- National Top Story, FOX 26 News, Daily Mail, BNN Bloomberg, Rogers Media, Globe and Mail, Yahoo News, National Post, Financial Post, MSN, MoneyWise, theaustralian.com.au, Post Media Network, FORBES, Toronto Sun, Vancouver Sun, LinkedIn News, LinkedIn Hello Monday award-winning podcast, LinkedIn Creators, Indeed, Employment services, Top colleges and Universities, Career conferences, Women in Leadership Conference, and more!
Regmi has delivered over 100 career webinars, and training sessions, and hosted/moderated live events to audiences ranging from 20 to 800+ online attendees at top colleges, reputed brands, and conferences. Her impactful and engaging speaking style has earned her rave reviews and testimonials from event organizers and participants alike.
Regmi has also partnered with leading brands and organizations to elevate and spearhead career strategies, and career sites, establish non-profit employment services partnerships, and create educational career content with 30M+ views on social media with over 220000+ followers across the social media platforms. Her RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards nomination further demonstrates her success as a top career expert.
Regmi's core competencies are a job search strategy for newcomers and immigrants in Canada, a career promotion strategy for immigrants, bouncing back as a lay-off survivor, resume strategy, interview coaching, personal branding, coaching and mentoring, and leadership.