- Career expert Vicki Salemi defines “quiet firing” as when companies push an employee to resign, rather than directly terminating them.
- Salemi and Gallup’s Ben Wigert suggest talking to your boss if you see signs of this.
- Salemi said it’s also important to document things if you think you are being pushed out.
If you’re worried that your company is “quiet firing” you, there are a few things you can do to explore the situation and protect yourself.
Workplace experts say that you should talk to your boss and find out what’s going on, and also keep a record of the signs or occurrences that make you think you’re being quiet fired.
Vicki Salemi, career expert for job site Monster, told Insider that quiet firing “happens when an employer is being indirect, and they’re basically pushing an employee to resign rather than directly terminate an employee.” There are different signs of quiet firing, such as having to write a “standard operating procedures manual almost as if you’re being replaced” per Salemi, and it may happen unintentionally.
“Quiet firing happens when managers fail to adequately provide clear expectations, feedback, support, career development, and recognition for an employee in a way that makes them feel ignored and pushes them out of an organization,” Ben Wigert, director of research and strategy for workplace management at Gallup, told Insider.
And while Wigert’s explanation of quiet firing involves managers, talking to your boss can be an important thing to do if you see some early signs of quiet firing.
You don’t have to ask your boss “am I being quiet fired?” However, you can ask about specific things that are worrying you.
“You could say something like, ‘I’m concerned, I used to be invited to this meeting, and I was an active participant on the lead on this project. And now, I am available for it and I’ve just been shut out. Is there a reason for this? Is there something I should be concerned about?'” Salemi said.
Wigert noted results that showed about half of exiting workers “say that in the three months before they left, neither their manager nor any other leader spoke with them about their job satisfaction or future with the organization” as stated in one Gallup post.
“So it’s important that employees opening up that two-way conversation with their manager,” Wigert added, “both so that they can share how they feel about where they’re at in their career and get some guidance and also to understand why things are happening the way they are currently.”
Not everyone may want to talk their to manager if they think they’re being pushed out through quiet firing. They may think they have a “bad boss” that they can’t talk to about their concerns or these signs they noticed.
“If you have a toxic boss, it may be hard to have these conversations,” Salemi said. “So you might want to involve HR or your boss’s boss, which I know can get a little tricky politically.”
But bosses and HR aren’t the only options.
“It can always be good to talk to a trusted coworker or a mentor about the challenges they’re facing and what they need to feel more engaged in their job,” Wigert said.
“It may make sense to talk to a friend or a mentor first before discussing that with your manager, especially if you yourself haven’t really figured out what exactly the problem is or what you’re looking for in your job, or potentially if your manager has a history of being combative or negative about feedback,” Wigert added.
You can also document these potential signs of quiet firing
While conversations with your direct manager or someone else may help ease any concerns that you are being pushed out or may help with resolving problems, Salemi also stressed the importance of documenting actions and behaviors that you’re worried about. However, she said to not keep those notes on work laptops or equipment.
For example, if there’s a monthly meeting that you’re being excluded from intentionally, Salemi said document the date and then note if you were excluded the following month.
You may also want to keep a paper trail of emails and document conversations, per Salemi. Besides having a record of conversations and other notes written down for you to review, documenting is also important in case you need to talk to an attorney to discuss if what’s happening is discriminatory for instance, according to Salemi.
But even if you take notes and have these conversations before resigning, you still may end up heading to a new company.
“I would start thinking about, okay, is this the best place for me to grow my career and ultimately flourish?” Salemi said.