4 Principles to Quiet Hiring that Organizations Must Focus On
Written by HRCap, Inc.
January 19, 2023
With the new year comes new trends. In the past year, we have seen headlines on quiet quitting and quiet firing. A new trend has silently taken hold of the workplace, and it is called “quiet hiring.”
[Related: All-In-One Solution to Quiet Quitting]
What is Quiet Hiring
Quiet hiring, as defined and coined by Emily Rose McRae, Senior Director of Research at Gartner, is “when an organization acquires new skills without actually hiring new full-time employees.”
According to a 2023 Monster survey, about 80% of workers have been quiet hired. With the high numbers of quiet hires, we should consider why it is occurring now more frequently, what challenges come with quiet hiring, and how companies can use it properly.
Why Companies are Quiet Hiring
With the forecast of a possible economic recession, many companies are apprehensive about what 2023 has in store. Although many have implemented a hiring freeze and layoffs, others are simply slowing down on their hiring while still trying to achieve ambitious financial goals.
[Related: Addressing the Noise Behind Loud Layoffs]
To reach these goals, companies are trying to identify and fill the skills gap in their company, but cannot make new hires due to a talent shortage. Therefore, they are hiring by temporarily or permanently reassigning current employees to new roles -- considered “internal quiet hiring.” As an example, Australian airline Qantas asked executives to rotate in as baggage handlers to address the labor shortage.
Companies with fewer flexible employees are turning to “external quiet hiring,” which is hiring part-time or short-term contractors to fill the need.
Objections to Quiet Hiring
Quiet hiring is seemingly beneficial for employers, due to uncertain economic conditions, because they can save money on recruiting, onboarding, and training new full-time employees.
However, many employees are against quiet hiring because they believe they are tricked into taking on more responsibilities or a new position without any promotion or raise. Others see this as a form of retaliation against employees quiet quitting, which has reduced overall productivity.
The disapproval for quiet hiring can be seen in the 2023 Monster survey, showing that 15% of workers are not open to it since it’s not the role they signed up for. 27% would consider quitting if they were quiet hired, while another 4% would quit immediately.
How to Quiet Hire Right
Quiet hiring will severely disrupt productivity and upset employees if not done correctly. With many employees objecting to quiet hiring, employers must frame and implement the following principles so that the organizational strategy benefits both the company and employees:
1. Clear Communication
When an employee is quiet hired, they might have many questions and concerns about why they are being reassigned to a different position. If this is not properly addressed, employees may not only feel unappreciated, but will also worry about their job security and the company’s well-being. According to a 2023 Monster survey, 27% of workers would question if their company is going out of business if they were quiet hired. Employers must transparently communicate the reason for the reassignment.
Employers should also communicate whether this will be a temporary or permanent change since 19% are open to taking on a new role, as long as it’s temporary.
2. Supportive System
Additionally, employers should provide the necessary support for quiet hires. Providing a point of contact or mentor they can learn from will help them transition and be more effective and engaged in their new role.
Another way to support quiet hires is to implement an effective learning and development program to help them reskill and upskill competitively in today's market.
This can be an excellent incentive for quiet hiring because 63% of workers view quiet hiring as an opportunity to learn new skills.
As such, employers can better motivate and empower their workforce for greater success.
3. Adequate Accommodations
Depending on the difficulty of new tasks that an employee may need to take on, organizations should carefully consider providing adequate and competitive accommodations for quiet hires.
Such accommodations are giving an appropriate raise or bonuses that reflect additional work required, offering greater work flexibility and ownership, or providing a supportive environment that better meets the demands of job responsibilities. Employers should provide accommodations based on each individual’s needs.
4. Effective Evaluation
Employers must also set up clear objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can measure and evaluate the employees' performance in the new position. By communicating goals and having clearly defined KPIs upfront, quiet hires can have a better understanding of what they are working towards, while employers can gauge how well the employees are doing.
Based on the employees’ progress and performance, employers can consider giving the necessary raises, bonuses, or even a promotion to a permanent position.
47% of U.S. workers are looking for a promotion or a raise in 2023 (Workhuman). By providing the proper compensation to quiet hire employees, employers can best retain their current employees.
As we work with our global clients and candidates, we continue to hear about quiet hiring. Candidates share their challenges with quiet hiring and how they have taken on different responsibilities or been placed temporarily in bigger roles. At the same time, clients request how to make quiet hires that will be fair and sustainable.
During the pandemic, HRCap also experienced a significant rise in client (and market) demands, and had to restructure and expand our coverages by actively stretching role responsibilities. Various members of our teams stepped up with ownership, proceeded to do well in their positions, and were eventually promoted to greater permanent leadership roles. By implementing these four principles, we have successfully implemented quiet hiring right and believe other companies can follow suit and effectively benefit from these principles.
Sources: HRCap, BBC, CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, Gartner, Monster, Tech.co, Yahoo
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