Insightful BlogsOctober 31, 2023

Fired but not actually fired – known as quiet cutting

Fired but not actually fired… quiet cutting raises more concern

Just when you thought it was safe to go online and look into the latest trends!

As businesses continue to do all they can to manage quiet quitting, Sunday scaries, boomerang employees and rage quitting, there is yet another trend that South African employers need to keep an eye on – quiet cutting.

Experts in human resources say the general mood within business is concerning. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though; an embattled economy exacerbated by unemployment and the increase in cost of living has impacted the workplace. This, together with the technology-driven hybrid work model, continues to place strain on the employee-employer relationship.

But this concern is only heightened by post-COVID-19 workplace trends – especially those for which there is little by way of information.

The little we do know about quiet cutting is that it refers to a scenario in which an employer informs an employee that while they have not been officially fired, their jobs don’t exist anymore!

A Wall Street Journal article writes that the trend is linked to ‘reassignment’ or a reshuffle of existing human resources; in other words a redeployment of staff.  So, the natural response is to question why. Why has my job been nullified? What does that mean for me and my career development? Where am I now expected to perform? Can I do that job? Should I be doing that job? And so on.

It creates a minefield of unanswered questions, scepticism and uncertainty – none of which can move a business forward.

At a time when the general economy and trade and industry can ill afford ambiguity or uncertainty, this is an unwelcome development.

We don’t know how big a problem this is for South Africa or the extent to which this trend has crept into the local marketplace. We are keeping a close eye on developments, especially because our country’s public and private sectors face numerous unique challenges.

On the one hand, we have to be careful to assume South Africa would necessarily mirror global trends and our dynamic environment could actually serve as a ‘rudder’ of sorts, helping to direct and centre the general labour market. But – and there is a but – if South Africa were to show signs of this trend and its impact, we really don’t know how much more pressure the economy could take.

There are already signs of difficulty, notwithstanding the negative consequences of rolling loadshedding.

If employers begin to silently redeploy, reorganise and restructure – without actually or officially engaging the employee on options available and their feelings on the matter – we could be heading down a very difficult path.

Keep a look out for more from CRS Technologies!

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