As a true-blue proponent of limitless human capability and a ChatGPT sceptic, I posed this trick question at my teenaged son’s behest: ‘What is Quiet Quitting?’ and the answer I saw being unraveled on my browser screen had me chuckling to myself in vindication – ‘Quiet quitting refers to the act of resigning from a job or position without making a formal announcement or announcement to colleagues or superiors’. This is how an HR ops person would describe an employee who is absconding or on extended Leave Without Permission, in other words. And this is what the famed Generative Pre-trained Transformer could conjure. All of Quiet Quitting’s other connotations, including ‘giving up’ at work, not bringing their whole selves to work, letting go of their ‘never say die’ spirit – all of this was lost in translation… err mm… transformation. Well, it is the human brain that creates the best of AI technology, if that’s some solace. So, while the possibility that it would outdo humans is quite baseless, there surely is great potential to help humankind in its pursuits!
From Quiet Firing to Quiet Hiring
The latest to gain momentum to the ‘Quiet’ bandwagon are these – hire and fire. Quiet hiring when positions are filled without an official advertisement (including internal sources) and quiet firing when unviable conditions at work are deliberately or unknowingly created by employers to get rid of one of their team members. Quite dire, I’d say.
Fact is, none of these phenomena are new, except for the all-new terminology – of ‘All Things Quiet’. In fact, specific scenarios call for Internal Job Posting or Referral as the go-to means to fill vacancies – both from a strategic and a hiring cost-saving perspective. As for quiet firing, arrangements such as outplacement services have been looked at as great ways to create a win-win for resource persons who may be able to contribute better in a different setting / role. In case it is attributed to a lack of adequate training of people managers, remedial action in terms of equipping people to identify and take corrective action to create positive workspaces may need to be undertaken.
For Crying Out Loud!
The entire idea behind robust human resources practices is to ensure that workplaces are fair and transparent, and spaces where employees thrive while ensuring the organization also benefits along the way. In the ideal world, it would be one happy big picture – people achieving their personal goals while the organization achieves its business goals. Everyone’s happy.
But what then, derails it?
Lack of commitment to purpose could be the root cause of all that ails workplaces. When the senior leadership knows what it takes to succeed at their mission, and communicates this to its people clearly, there’s little scope for those who are not committed to this goal to linger on. Whatever’s lacking in terms of skillsets is either built along the way, or else stakeholders agree to part ways, respecting the mismatch in paths on the journey.
Either way, there’s no reason to be ‘Quiet’ about it. Being vocal about what the organization wants and ensuring the right people join in to help achieve this is the right way to go. If a glitch develops enroute, it is either fixed or contributors reorganized. Unapologetically and unabashedly. In the long run, it works out well for all parties involved. And this is reason enough to go all out and LOUD for all that you firmly believe in. The sooner the world of work takes cognizance of this, the closer we get to better workplaces and a better world. Here’s wishing each of us loud assertiveness instead of unsettling quietude.