We’ve already seen “quiet quitting” and “quiet firing,” now the work world is also talking about “quiet cutting”. According to the Wall Street Journal, quiet cutting is when you notify employees that you are reassigning them rather than terminating them. The theory is that it’s cheaper to get someone to quit than to terminate someone and pay severance, so instead of laying someone off, you reassign them and hope they leave. Quiet cutting effectively allows companies to cut jobs, trim costs, and reorganize without actually laying off workers.
Here are some details:
- The New Normal: Companies like Adidas, Adobe, IBM, and Salesforce are reassigning employees as part of corporate restructurings. This trend is on the rise, with mentions of reassignment during company earnings calls more than tripling in a year.
- The Employee Dilemma: Those on the receiving end of these memos are left feeling a mix of relief, dread, and confusion. Is it better to stay put and hunt internally for a better fit or leave the company altogether?
- The Corporate Strategy: For companies, reassigning workers to new roles can be a way to fill vital jobs while trimming costs associated with old strategies. However, it can also be a tactic to prompt employees to leave on their own, avoiding the need to pay severance or unemployment benefits.
- The Warning Signs: If a person is reassigned to a job far below their pay or skill level, or to a division rumored to be on the chopping block, it might be a signal that the company is pushing individuals out.
- In most cases, taking the reassigned role is likely the only choice that is left for impacted employees.
Do only employees face the implications of quiet cutting? No. In the long run, even organizations are impacted by it.
The practice of quiet cutting in workplaces can have profound effects on various aspects of employee dynamics. One of the most significant consequences is the prevailing sense of uncertainty among employees.
When companies reassign employees to jobs, they are unaware of how it can strain workers and negatively impact their mental health. When reassigned to a role that gives these people less power and prestige, workers feel unappreciated and are left wondering why they’ve been demoted.
An article published in Inc. gives a very clear message on this subject: Reassign people you want to keep and explain precisely why you are reassigning them. Give the employees the support they need to be successful. Terminate people you wish to terminate.
Don’t play games to avoid unemployment and severance!