An austere concrete wall with a steel door and "employees" carved over the entrance
An austere concrete wall with a steel door and "employees" carved over the entrance
#quiethiring

Quiet Hiring is Here; Get Ready For It

By
Paul Kiernan
(1.5.2023)

In 2023 the term you’ll hear a lot is “quiet hiring.” In the past year, workplaces had to deal with quiet quitting, quiet firing and fast quitting. Now, the trend is hiring.

New year, new rules. Things change when the new year rolls in, whether that is a new dress code, new company kitchen rules, or the latest greatest hit, new ways of hiring skilled workers.

In 2023 the term you’ll hear a lot is “quiet hiring.” In the past year, workplaces had to deal with quiet quitting, quiet firing and fast quitting. Now, the trend is hiring.

What is quiet hiring, and how will it affect the workplace in 2023? Let’s take a look and see what we can discover.

What is Quiet Hiring

Quiet hiring is a way for companies to hire skilled workers without the expense of hiring full-time employees.

Quiet hiring can be done internally or externally.

Internal quiet hiring is when an employee is asked to temporarily move to a new role or take on new organizational assignments. External quiet hiring is when HR brings in part-time or contract workers to fill positions that will keep the company running without incurring the expense of onboarding and training new full-time employees.

The reality of the coming year, recession or no, is that companies are a bit nervous. This is causing companies to not necessarily freeze hiring but just slow down a bit and find filler employees, part-time or contract, to keep things going.

In 2022 there was a talent shortage, and that hasn’t dissipated, so companies are in a bind. They don’t want to spend the money on training and such for an employee that is only filling a gap while looking for top talent, yet they are still desperate for talent. This creates a perfect storm, and the answer seems to be quiet hiring.

How it works

Hiring usually falls into one of three categories: backfilling old roles, creating new roles to help the company grow, and hiring to address an acute, immediate need. When talking about quiet hiring, you’re looking at the third option, unique, immediate need.

Quiet hiring satisfies the third type of hiring, even if no one new is actually hired. The deal is companies prioritize their most crucial needs at the moment and address them by either hiring a contractor or part-time employee or by internal quiet hiring.

Internal quiet hiring involves mixing up the employees already working and moving them to other jobs within the company.

A very famous example of this is Qantas Airlines, an Australian company. Back in August of 2022, there was a shortage of employees, and Qantas, like many airlines, was struggling. They asked their executives to work as baggage handlers for three months for three to five days a week, working shifts of either four or six hours.

The move not only kept the company going, but it also gave executives and managers a better understanding of the workings of the company and allowed them a deeper understanding of their employees. The experiment was a successful example of quiet hiring.

Sticking Points

A man in a corner covered with sticky notes

Although internal quiet hiring may be the answer a company is looking for, they need to be aware that some tensions may arise from this kind of move. If an employee is moved, even temporarily, to a new position, they might feel their old position is no longer valuable; thus, they are no longer valuable, and job fears can arise.

Management can assuage rising fears by being open, honest, and transparent. Telling an employee before you move them exactly why the move is being made, how it will benefit the company as a whole and why they are vital to the process and the company’s overall success. Once you’ve clearly articulated the situation and openly answered all their questions, employees will feel a part of the solution and less likely to worry that they need to start looking for a new gig.

Advantages

No one wants to be thrown into a new role at work, especially if they have spent time in their current role and like it. Also, with the workplace being so volatile right now, managers must be aware of employees' mental and emotional health, again being transparent and open, while internally quiet hiring is a must now.

For employees, before you knee-jerk and quit, think about this situation as being full of opportunities.

If you’re asked to learn a new set of skills or given a new grouping of tasks, this could be a great way to advance your career. Maybe you’re interested in climbing the corporate ladder, or you may be looking for a better work-life balance, and this quiet hiring situation could be a way to achieve that.

Again, managers need to be aware that just saying we need to move people around is not going to cut it; you need to be clear as to why the moves are happening and how it is going to lead to the company’s success.

As an employee, if your company announces that they need people to shuffle jobs, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss long-term goals, your place in the company, and maybe even land a promotion in the process.

Transparency is Key

As a manager, this is a delicate time. You don’t want to upset your current employees, and that could lead to quiet quitting. And, if you lose any current employees, quiet hiring will not work; you’ll need to hire a whole new batch of employees. That would mean time, money, and resources to get them onboarded and up to speed. Better to move people internally or hire part-time or contract workers.

When presenting the opportunity to take on different tasks or move to various departments, emphasize the purpose and the outcome. Making people feel that they are an integral part of the company's success will make it more appealing to them to move or take on new tasks.

Also, with internal quiet hiring, make sure managers and HR know that people will want to sit down and discuss what happens to them going forward. Employees may be willing to make changes and fill in where needed, but they will also want to know what’s in it for them and what it does to their careers moving forward. Be honest and open with them.

A New Landscape

A landscape with rings in the grass

Quiet hiring is just the new kid on the block, along with quiet quitting and quiet firing. It may solve some problems, but it isn’t 100% great.

High achievers may gleefully volunteer to be quietly hired, move to new areas, and do more work, which seems promising. Maybe it is, perhaps it isn’t. These oh-so-willing employees may just be looking for a way to move up the ladder and then, when they have achieved what they wanted, quit and go work for a bigger company, making more money using teh tools you've given them.

The fear of quiet quitting has grown so enormous that managers are getting over-sensitive. Just because an employee doesn’t clamor for attention, or drop hints about a new position or a raise, doesn't mean they are quiet quitting. Some employees like their jobs, and their idea of getting ahead is to be better and better at that job every day. This is a very valuable employee, so don't misunderstand their motives and drop them because you think their behavior is a sign of quiet quitting.

Also, pay attention to this type of employee regarding raises or rewards for excellent work. This group of employees who love their job and strive for excellence is the stable, essential employees that quiet hiring can sometimes squash.

Dealing With the New Landscape

Going forward, the watch cry will be transparency. Also, honesty, openness, and inclusivity. These are all words that HR departments have been dealing with for years, but now you have to pay attention and make sure you’re living by what you’re saying.

If you’re honest, if you keep your employees informed, and you let them know how valuable theta re to the company’s success, then you should be able to navigate the quiet hiring process and even find that your company is more successful.

Even if you’re not in the process of quiet hiring, it’s in the air, and your employees might be wondering what the deal is. This is a great time to communicate to all your employees how valuable they are, how integral to the company's success, and that you value each and every one of them. That kind of attention now and then goes a long way to keeping employees happy and striving for more, and it helps you avoid dealing with quiet quitting.