Ida from Spark!

Beyond Buzzwords: How Human-Centered YOUnity™ Can Change Office Culture

Illustration of woman carrying box of books toward and exit door.  Person has a question mark in thought.
In today's fast-paced business world, buzzwords and catchphrases have become commonplace. Phrases like "synergy," "paradigm shift," and "out-of-the-box thinking" are thrown around in meetings and emails like they’re going out of style. While some may argue that these buzzwords are necessary to communicate complex ideas, they can often have the opposite effect, confusing and alienating employees who may not understand.

Last year, we saw the creation of a new buzzword: “quiet quitting.” The term describes the phenomenon where an employee quietly withdraws from work, completing only the bare minimum required by their job description. This is often seen as a way for employees to express their dissatisfaction with their work environment or company culture without explicitly quitting their job.

But just when we thought the buzzwords couldn’t get any more ridiculous, we found out about several more that may or may not be impacting your organization today.

Rage applying; quiet hiring; Bare Minimum Mondays; copycat layoffs: these terms don’t really say much of anything. One of the most confusing terms our team came by recently is “quiet firing.”

What is quiet firing?

Quiet firing is similar in concept to quiet quitting, but in reverse. Instead of an employee stepping back themselves, the company reduces their workload and gradually removes them from projects until they are no longer needed. This may seem like a sneaky tactic, but proponents argue that it can be a more humane way of letting someone go, avoiding the embarrassment and shame that can come with being explicitly fired.

While the concept of quiet firing may seem well-intentioned, it raises several concerns. First and foremost, it could be demoralizing for an employee to be slowly phased out of their job without knowing why. It can also lead to confusion and mistrust among remaining employees, who may wonder if they too are being quietly fired.

Human-Centered YOUnity™ as an antidote for a toxic culture

Ultimately, both quiet firing and quiet quitting are two sides of the same coin: lack of clarity. Human-Centered YOUnity™ encourages us to genuinely engage with both ourselves and others. Uncertainty, fear, and chaos do not help individuals or organizations reach their goals. Rather, at Spark! we work with organizations and individuals to build skills to speak openly and honestly about our feelings and concerns.

As employees and employers, it's important to have open and honest communication about workplace concerns and to create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued. Only then can we truly move beyond buzzwords and practices that breed uncertainty and create a positive and productive work culture.
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