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Quiet Hiring - Should HR Take it Seriously?

Published on: Feb 22, 2023

The post-pandemic workplace has been marked by the rise of workplace buzzwords. First, there was quiet quitting, which wasn’t about quitting. Then quiet firing, which wasn’t about firing. Now, in 2023, there’s a snazzy new name that’s been flying around called quiet hiring, which isn’t about hiring – in most cases at least. 

So, what is quiet hiring and why are some HR experts predicting that this latest workplace trend will have a profound impact on the future of work?  

Quiet hiring is the concept of upskilling and/or reskilling your existing talent (or sometimes hiring temps), rather than hiring externally for full-time positions to fulfill business needs.  

Like quiet quitting and many of the other buzzwords before that, it’s not a novel concept. In this case, quiet hiring is a fancier word for internal mobility or even temporary reassignment, longstanding practices where employers/HR move current employees to different roles (vertically and laterally) or different projects to meet company demands.  


Are flashy terms like quiet hiring even useful? 

On one hand, some believe that these new workplace terms trivialize the gravity of what’s actually happening in the world of work, making it hard for it to be taken seriously. Additionally, sometimes these viral terms are often misinterpreted and overused to the point that it loses its original meaning. For example, quiet quitting originally meant performing your basic job duties, nothing more or less. But over time, some employers equated it to slacking off on the job and used it as a justification for employee monitoring tactics like keystroke tracking.1 
On the other hand, terms like quiet hiring have been so pervasive – and are considered valuable by some – because it’s giving language and additional attention to real and current shifts in the workplace. As these terms circulate around the internet and social media, it emboldens HR, employees and employers to re-examine their own work environments and culture more closely to determine if anything needs to be changed. 

The senior editor of Gartner, and the person credited for popularizing the term, quiet hiring, said: “I actually really appreciate that there is this pushback and backlash and reaction to it. Because that means that people really are interrogating it and not just totally running with it.”


So, is quiet hiring beneficial for employers & HR? 

If done right, then yes. According to Randstad’s Trends Report, 79% of HR managers struggle to find talent that matches their job requirements. Quiet hiring presents a solution to this because it’s an alternative to looking for external hires. Reskilling and/or upskilling current employees can also help to: 

  • increase retention 

  • save on recruitment costs 

  • boost employee morale, productivity and job satisfaction  

  • increase customer satisfaction and retention 

  • foster a learning culture where your organization can stay competitive   


Does quiet hiring benefit employees?  

Contrary to popular belief, employees that are quiet hired also reap a ton of benefits that include:  

  • skills development 

  • career advancement (opportunity for promotion) 

  • the possibility of protection from future layoffs 

  • increase in job satisfaction 

  • higher compensation or opportunity to negotiation salary, benefits, flexible work schedules, etc.  


Quell the quiet 

Even though the buzz around quiet hiring will eventually fade, quiet hiring will remain a practice HR can use for years to come to help with succession planning and boost retention. And it’s a win for employees too who can look forward to career advancement and development opportunities.  

But this is only if the “quiet” is taken out of quiet hiring. In other words, HR, employers and employees must all be transparent about the process. For example, if HR and/or an employer is considering quiet hiring an employee, there must be a clear discussion about expectations (e.g. how long the additional role will last), compensation, tangible performance indicators and career trajectory.  

Otherwise, employees could be subjected to burnout if overwhelmed by responsibilities. Job dissatisfaction could emerge too if there’s lack of perceived support, communication on expectations, or recognition in the new role.  

The bottom line is the lines of communication must be open for quiet hiring to work. (Employees are encouraged to ask questions too.) This way HR and employers won’t be at risk of overburdening a lean team or an already exhausted workforce. If there’s zero transparency in the process, quiet hiring could eventually spiral into attrition.    


HR is in demand 

Quiet hiring and the ever-expanding list of workplace terms are evidence that the workplace is evolving quickly, and people are noticing. That means businesses will continue to seek out qualified HR professionals to help them address the future of work and employee needs.  

For a list of the latest HR opportunities, check out today.  


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