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Shhhhhh! Come closer and we can whisper the hottest workplace word in your ear: It’s “quiet”! 

As in “Quiet Quitting” and “Quiet Firing” and now “Quiet Hiring”.

“It seems fair to say that “quiet” is the workplace word for this year,” wrote Madison Hoff earlier this year for Business Insider. “Quiet quitting,” “quiet hiring,” and “quiet firing” have all entered the working lexicon in the last several months, each marking a trend in how workers and employers are continuing to adapt to changes in how work works three years after the start of the pandemic. Experts think those “quiet” trends and more are set to continue throughout 2023 and beyond.”

The Not-Quite-So-Quiet World of Workplace Terms

Quiet Quitting made its debut in early 2022 on the heels of the “Great Resignation” and “Great Regret” to describe the idea of not resigning from your job but quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work.

Then came Quiet Firing about a year ago to describe the situation where management intentionally distances employees from opportunities to grow and succeed – leading to toxic work environments and demoralized, unmotivated, and unproductive employees.

Now in 2023, the Quiet trend is headed in the other direction from quitting and firing with Quiet Hiring!

What is Quiet Hiring? And Why is it Happening?

So, what is Quiet hiring?

“Quiet hiring happens when an employee takes on a new role and responsibilities within their same company, either temporarily or permanently, due to need,” explains U.S. News. “According to a new Monster survey conducted in January 2023, 80 percent of workers polled have been “quiet hired”, and half of them say their new role wasn’t aligned with their skill set.”

Some see this trend as employers reacting to adding new staffing during uncertain economic times.

“I think companies are being much more strategic about not adding headcount,” Matthew Burr, a human resources consultant in Elmira, N.Y. told Monster “Employees are the biggest asset and cost to an organization, so if they can find ways to streamline and do more with less, they can do that. It’s up to the employee to see if they want to stay.”

Rashim Mogha, general manager of leadership and business at Skillsoft, a corporate digital learning platform, agreed in the U.S. News article.

“It’s not a coincidence. Any time there is economic slowdown, we tend to see organizations either move current employees into new roles or leverage flex workforces rather than hiring new employees,” Mogha told the publication.

The tight labor market is also another factor in Quiet Hiring according to Emily Rose McRae of Gartner’s HR Practice in a Good Morning America interview.

“We do not have enough talent for the roles that are available,” McRae told GMA. “The jobs report that just came out said we had the lowest number of job seekers in months, so we’re not in a situation where we’re easily finding lots more talent.”

Beware the Downsides of Quiet Hiring

While the Monster survey found that 63 percent of employees are open to Quiet Hiring as an opportunity to acquire new skills, there appears to be as much downside as upside to the trend.

For starters, 19 percent are open to taking on a new role as long as it isn’t permanent.

For more than a quarter of employees (27 percent), Quiet Hiring would raise a red flag for them about their company’s ability to stay in business if it could not afford to hire new staff.

And in the climate of layoffs, Quiet Hiring can really increase the anxiety.

“On the one hand, people are being reduced, and on the other hand, suddenly there’s more work on your plate and nobody has recognized or rewarded you for it,” Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO at Reverb, told Monster. “And it’s not clear to me how this is part of company strategy. I could absolutely see that as something that would really give people anxiety.”

When Quiet Hiring Leads to Loud Quitting

Remember that 63 percent were open to the idea … on the flip side, Monster found that 27 percent would consider quitting if they were Quiet Hired with 4 percent turning in their two-week notice immediately.

Other findings:

  • 39 percent wouldn’t quit and view quiet hiring as an opportunity to spread their wings.
  • 16 percent wouldn’t quit, as long as the new role was temporary.
  • 15 percent wouldn’t quit, but only because their “hands are tied”.

Monster career expert Vicki Salemi thinks many stay-or-go sentiments come down to how a company handles the move.

“Have a transparent conversation with departments as well as individuals, so it’s a one-on-one conversation with the performance manager and the person being asked,” Salemi says. “‘So-and-so left, and we’re dividing these tasks between three different people, and this will help you grow into XYZ.’ This data is very valuable for people to know.”

Salemi pointed out other pain points of Quiet Hiring for U.S. News: “It can be bad when their workload isn’t being managed and they’re doing two full-time jobs at the same company instead of one. Additionally, it can be bad when workers aren’t compensated for additional roles and get a ‘soft promotion,’ whereby it’s more responsibilities and they’re performing at levels among the next ‘rung’ in the organization, yet nothing has changed with their salary.”

The Argument for Quiet Hiring Working for Employers and Employees

Gartner, on the other hand, argues that Quiet Hiring can be a win-win for employers and employees.

Quiet hiring isn’t just a win for the organization, says Gartner. It provides employees with the opportunity to:

  • Work stretch assignments.
  • Grow their current skills.
  • Earn new skills.
  • Extend their career
  • Become invaluable to their current organization.
  • Become more marketable to others.

Gartner also provided scenarios of how Quiet Hiring can help organizations in the face of not being able to find the right top talent to quickly fill roles.

“If an organization is facing a six-month timeline to hire data scientists, they could choose to redeploy data analysts from marketing and HR to their IT and digital workplace teams. Rather than expect the marketing and HR analysts to be able to perform the same complex statistical programming as data scientists, the organization may focus the data science talent they do have on the complex programming tasks and focus the redeployed marketing and HR analysts on communicating the results of the analysis to stakeholders, helping them make decisions off of the data,” said Gartner.

How Quiet Hiring Works in Action

Gartner says taping nontraditional talent pools is all part of Quiet Hiring. Here is how it looks in action:

  • A focus on internal talent mobility to ensure employees are deployed against the priorities that matter most without changes in headcount. This includes offering additional compensation or other benefits for new roles and responsibilities.

  • A renewed emphasis on stretch assignments and upskilling opportunities for existing employees. This provides growth opportunities while meeting both evolving organizational needs and supporting employees’ career aspirations.

  • Alternate approaches to sourcing, such as leveraging alumni networks and gig workers, to bring in talent only as needed.

“Employees should be looking for ways to participate in these programs — and even urge their organization to provide them with opportunities if they see high-priority roles that they could perform some or all of,” concludes Gartner.



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