There is a new phenomenon sweeping the corporate landscape. Companies are reassigning workers to new roles and leaving it up to them to figure out what to do next. It works like this; one day, you get an email that your current job role has been eliminated, but you haven’t been fired. You have a new role, most likely a hybrid role of doing 100% of two other jobs that have been vacant or are important enough to shift resources toward. These changes leave managers and employees confused, angry, and checked out.
Welcome to the concept of “Quiet Cutting.” This concept is an offshoot of the “Quiet Quitting” movement where workers quit their companies and hang around long enough to get paid a good salary while they find a new job which only lasts for 9-12 months until they silent quit again or they are terminated for poor performance.
Quiet cutting effectively allows companies to cut jobs, trim costs, and reorganize without actually laying off workers.
Forbes Magazine has been keeping a running list of all the companies that have been doing restructurings (including layoffs) during the year and it includes IBM, Adobe, BioGen, Salesforce.com, and many others.
Feeling the Impact
“Quiet Cutting” has a significant impact on the people being cut as well as the organizations they work for. First, there is the emotional impact on the workers. It taps into the worst fear of any employee and that is being terminated in the middle of a weak job market. Secondly, while these workers remain employed, the re-assignments often put them in roles with different (lower level) titles and lower pay while at the same time demanding more and harder work. In addition, those who were quietly cut also feel strongly that their company wanted to terminate them but couldn’t (many times for legal reasons) so they put them in this new and more difficult job with less pay hoping they would quit.
Leaving the people who are quietly cut feeling vulnerable and unproductive sounds like a bad idea to me. To circumvent this situation, it would make sense to offer these workers new skills and new training so they can feel like a valuable part of the organization again and can actually be productive.
Based on our decades of work designing, developing, and delivering business simulation-centric, immersive skill-building programs, here are ten important capabilities that an organization can build in the area of Business Acumen:
Strategic Thinking: Understanding the organization's strategy, goals, and aligning their efforts to support the strategy.
Financial Literacy: Understanding basic financial concepts like budgets, costs, revenues, and profit margins can help drive individual and company performance.
Industry Knowledge: Having a grasp of the industry's trends, competitors, and challenges can help employees make informed decisions and contribute innovative ideas.
Customer Focus: All employees should understand the importance of customer satisfaction and how their work impacts the customer experience.
Critical Thinking: Being able to analyze situations, evaluate alternatives, and make informed decisions adds value to any role (especially for someone who has been quietly cut).
Problem Solving: Developing the ability to identify problems, analyze their root causes, and propose solutions.
Communication Skills: Clear and effective communication is vital in any role. All employees should be able to express their ideas, listen actively, and collaborate with colleagues.
Data Interpretation: Basic data analysis skills enable employees to make decisions based on evidence and trends rather than assumptions.
Sales and Marketing Awareness: Basic knowledge of sales and marketing concepts can help employees understand how their work impacts the organization's revenue generation.
Presentation Skills: The ability to present ideas clearly and persuasively can help employees share insights and proposals effectively.
In summary, organizations are going to continue to do quiet cutting. One of the best things you can do to ensure that those who got quietly cut don’t quietly quit is to offer them business acumen skills to drive their confidence and value.