Industry Insights

How Quiet Hiring Impacts Your Workplace

Quiet hiring is a growing trend in which employers tap into their existing staff to take on new tasks beyond their usual roles or bring in contractors for skills that are in short supply. While quiet hiring offers benefits for both employers and employees, it’s important to approach it thoughtfully to prevent any potential conflicts.

What Is Quiet Hiring?

Traditionally, businesses recruit new hires when needing specific skills and abilities to complete workplace tasks. However, the hiring process can be expensive and time-consuming. Quiet hiring is an alternative approach that often looks at existing personnel when filling roles and positions. 

Quiet hiring can also bring in temporary or contract workers. These individuals possess the skills necessary to perform job duties but will only temporarily be part of the team. This benefits employers with a short-term need that does not warrant a new full-time employee.

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Why Is It Happening?

Quiet hiring is taking off because businesses want to stay agile and quickly adapt to market changes.

Rather than undergoing the lengthy and expensive process of hiring new full-time employees, companies are reassigning existing employees to new roles, expanding their responsibilities, or bringing in contractors to fill skill gaps.

This approach enables businesses to respond promptly to new challenges, improve efficiency, and control costs while remaining competitive in a fast-paced market.

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How Is It Different From Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting occurs when a staff member strictly adheres to their job description and fails to put forth additional effort. Gallup estimates that half of American workers fall into the category of quiet quitting, which typically results from significant dissatisfaction with one’s employer. 

Quiet hiring likely arose from the increasing rates of quiet quitting among the workforce. To offset the effects of decreased effort, employers are giving opportunities to individuals motivated to work beyond the bare minimum, which offers benefits across the board.

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How Quiet Hiring Benefits Employers

Advantages for employers who invest in quiet hiring include:

Reduced Recruiting Costs

Bringing new hires on board can be costly. From advertising and recruiting metrics to fees for training and assessments, hiring a new employee can substantially impact a business’s budget. With quiet hiring, these costs are vastly reduced by sourcing skilled workers internally or working with highly skilled contractors.

Smaller Learning Curves

Even the brightest, most motivated new hires will need time to acclimate to the working environment and their role. On the other hand, an existing staff member will face a much smaller learning curve, even when taking on duties outside their job description. The same could be said for most freelancers. Many can hit the ground running as a prerequisite.

Decreased Rates of Attrition 

A comprehensive recruiting and hiring process still can’t safeguard employers against employee attrition, which adds time and money to the search for new candidates. By recruiting a current worker, you can avoid high attrition rates until you decide when to hire more employees.

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How Quiet Hiring Benefits Employees

Along with the benefits offered to employers, there are advantages for employees.

Improved Skill Sets

Internal recruiting allows workers to acquire new skills and knowledge while maintaining gainful employment. These skills can help the individual advance their position and give them leverage for raises and promotions. 

Protection Against Layoffs

Some employers use quiet hiring to avoid layoffs. Instead of terminating employees, they can relocate them to new positions to maintain their employment and fill gaps in the workplace. 

Access to New Opportunities

If a staff member is feeling stagnant in their current position, new duties and responsibilities can help them grow and expand. And because the new position is available within their existing working environment, they aren’t faced with the stress and complexity of changing workplaces.

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While quiet hiring is acceptable from a legal perspective, the practice can raise some ethical concerns. Without the right approach, employers can be accused of exploiting their staff by adding new responsibilities without providing proper compensation.

It can also invite questions about workplace diversity. Sourcing talent from existing employees can deprive others of job opportunities, and this can be viewed as problematic when workplaces lack diverse staff.

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Potential Downsides (and Their Solutions)

It’s natural for employees to have questions about pay raises when they take on new responsibilities and tasks. Failure to address the subject can leave employers at a disadvantage, as they risk resenteeism from staff and potentially losing them to another business. 

Good communication can go a long way with quiet hiring initiatives. Employers can clearly and explicitly state plans for raises or promotions. Without these plans, workplaces should leave the door open for future discussions about pay. Remember, pay transparency can be an essential component of a thriving workplace.  

Giving workers new responsibilities may lead to employee burnout, reducing productivity and increasing workplace frustration. In this case, employers can delegate tasks to different staff members according to their skills. They can also consider hiring temporary staff to cover the gaps and avoid placing too much pressure on existing workers. 

Keep in mind that using contract workers can involve complications. For instance, employers will naturally have less control over freelance staff, which can make for some unpredictability. A comprehensive freelance contract that spells out specific terms regarding pay and deadlines ensures everyone is on the same page.

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Employers willing to adapt to new trends have the greatest chance of success in the months and years to come. While quiet hiring has complexities, it can benefit workplaces and their staff when handled correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is quiet firing?

When faced with an underperforming employee, employers sometimes intentionally create unfavorable conditions to pressure the person to resign. This is known as quiet firing and is regarded as a poor workplace tactic. Instead, management should consult with the worker to determine whether any underlying issues decrease motivation.

Is quiet hiring only used to fill temporary gaps?

It depends on the employer’s needs. Sometimes, a worker may take on new responsibilities for a finite period. In others, the new duties set the stage for a new position or job role. In this case, employer transparency allows workers to make informed decisions about their bandwidth to take on more assignments and how doing so can benefit them in the long run.

What should employers look for when working with freelancers?

In addition to having the desired skill set, freelance or contract workers will need recent references from previous clients. They should also have a portfolio of past work to illustrate their expertise in a given area. Regarding time-sensitive projects, the right candidate can complete tasks according to the deadlines. In a nutshell, you want a freelancer or contractor who can get up to speed quickly to drive business outcomes.

Author

  • Stacie Adams

    Stacie Adams is a seasoned writer with a passion for topics affecting modern workplaces, especially topics relevant to the restaurant and food industry. She’s written extensively on legal issues affecting businesses, including discrimination, contractual disputes, and safety code violations.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Stacie Adams

Stacie Adams is a seasoned writer with a passion for topics affecting modern workplaces, especially topics relevant to the restaurant and food industry. She’s written extensively on legal issues affecting businesses, including discrimination, contractual disputes, and safety code violations.

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