April 23, 2024

‘Quiet cutting’ drives people to quit to subtly reduce workplace headcount

NEW YORK, April 4 — “Quiet cutting” is the new buzzword for a long-standing practice in the HR world. It refers to pushing an employee to resign in order to reduce headcount, without having to offer the worker redundancy. According to a recent American survey, many companies seem to be resorting to this unscrupulous strategy.

Around three quarters of American employees surveyed by the job search website Monster say they have already seen their employer resort to “quiet cutting”. What’s more, 58 per cent of respondents said they had been personally impacted by this managerial practice.

In fact, “quiet cutting” does not only affect the worker who is pushed out. Those who remain often feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. They may feel stressed, demotivated, disengaged and even guilty. This has an impact on their productivity, even though the aim of downsizing is to restore a company’s level of performance and competitiveness.


There are a number of strategies that working people affected by “quiet cutting” might use to regain a little serenity in their day-to-day professional lives. One of them is to adapt. Some 27 per cent of the employees surveyed by Monster say they would stay in their job and adapt to changes if they thought that their employer was “quite cutting.” Some 10 per cent would even step up their efforts to avoid finding themselves in the hot seat.

Conversely, 18 per cent of those surveyed said they would get ahead of the game and resign, before being driven out. But the vast majority of respondents would engage in dialogue: 24 per cent would speak to their line manager and 20 per cent to their company’s human resources department.

In some cases, just letting HR or your manager know that you’re aware of what’s going on is enough to improve the situation, or find a mutually satisfactory solution. But the damage is often done. “Quiet cutting” contributes to a toxic working atmosphere, where mistrust reigns. 80 per cent of employees who have been in environments where “quiet cutting” is occurring say they feel less trust or loyalty towards their employer, while 58 per cent feel their well-being suffers.


Companies must therefore bear in mind that this practice can be counterproductive, and even legally questionable, since being pushed out in this way can lead to cases of discrimination or harassment. If you think you are a victim of “quiet cutting,” don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. This will enable you to know what steps to take and how to establish a plan of attack for the future. — ETX Studio

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