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What is Quiet Hiring? What Are The Benefits & Downsides?

What is Quiet Hiring

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180+ countries

Key Takeaways

1. Quiet hiring is closely linked to international expansion, employees should therefore be aware of the challenges of recruiting, and effectively managing remote employees.

2. When using quiet hiring, there is a need for the organization to invest in learning and upskilling programs designed to help current employees meet new or more complex responsibilities.

3. Significant planning and time is needed to implement an effective quiet hiring strategy. This involves designing a streamlined process for quiet hiring as well as implementing various training/learning programs and negotiations around employee benefits.

4. Employers looking to engage in quiet hiring should be considerate of employee burnout and other aspects of employee welfare. 

With volatile economic and labor trends such as inflation, rising interest rates, high attrition costs, terminations and hiring freezes all affecting the global economy, an old HR practice is gaining in popularity.

For employers, quiet hiring is a viable practice — especially when expanding internationally. By hiring internally, employers can reduce the costs associated with hiring. Note, however, that effective quiet hiring requires the employer to provide specific learning and upskilling opportunities to help their current employees meet new or additional responsibilities.

In this article, we define and explain the practice of ‘quiet hiring’. This article also explores why quiet internal transfers make sense in light of the current volatility in labor markets.

What is quiet hiring? 

Quiet hiring is an attempt by a company to get the most out of their existing staff. It’s an approach that employers can take to maintain, and even increase, company bandwidth or productivity without hiring additional, full-time employees. 

Note that quiet hiring usually requires the employer to provide training for existing employees. Quiet hiring is a process that involves transfers to different departments, and the assigning of new roles or responsibilities in an attempt to maximize potential.

As well as potentially reducing the costs of hiring new talent, by allocating talent more effectively in order to complete a project or fulfill a certain role, proponents of quiet hiring argue that it encourages upskilling. Thus, quiet hiring enables employees to learn new skills, improve their positions, and generally become more effective.

Why is quiet hiring gaining in popularity?

Quiet hiring isn’t a new practice. This type of internal hiring process is a tried-and-tested business tactic. As employing additional full-time employees becomes increasingly expensive, many businesses are finding that quiet hiring can be used to reduce hiring costs, even when expanding internationally

In late 2021 and early 2022 there was a curious global phenomenon where workers effectively protested in response to stagnating wages: The term ‘quiet quitting’ described employees who chose to only do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. The term “quiet hiring” has then arisen as a counterpoint to quiet quitting: gaining a new or up-skilled professional without the need to hire afresh.  

There is also the fact that quiet hiring allows employers to maintain a confidential recruitment process. This can be beneficial for employers who want to keep their hiring process private; protect the identity of potential candidates, or fill a position without drawing external attention to the vacancy.

How should employers and employees respond to quiet hiring?

Both employers and employees can take steps to make the best out of the situation.

Employers and quiet hiring…

 

Preparation is key. For employers, the work must begin long before the internal transfer/quiet hire takes place. First, there’s a need to identify suitable, high-performing employees. These potential candidates should be motivated to take on additional responsibilities and improve their position within the company. 

The next step is identifying, or designing, the necessary learning and training programs that will be used for upskilling existing employees. A Learning & Development budget needs to be costed and the programs kept up-to-date. Managers can implement reverse mentoring, and other similar tactics to provide employees with on-the-job upskilling opportunities.

Communication and transparency are also essential to quiet hiring. Employers should ensure that employee compensation and work-life balance/employee burnout are taken into consideration. 

At a minimum, this usually involves employers being clear on how long any additional commitments will last, as well as details on any promotions, salary increases, or training that may be associated with the new duties.

Employees and quiet hiring…

Improved employee engagement. The jobs website, Monster, found that 63% of employees view quiet hiring as an opportunity to learn new skills. Internal transfers as part of quiet hiring is an opportunity to build employee engagement, especially between colleagues and teams in different geographic regions. 

When employees are reassigned job roles, not only do they get hands-on experience with new roles, they also benefit from cross-functional and cultural collaboration. This boosts employee morale and can encourage improved employee engagement. 

Flexible working agreements. Quiet hiring can also encourage employees to demand more flexibility when it comes to flexible working arrangements, such as increased internal mobility. Within most large professional organizations, the majority of the employees want to learn about career opportunities. 

Employees should therefore ask their employers about the available support or opportunities, in regards to internal transfers. 

Quiet hiring — final thoughts 

Quiet hiring can be a worthwhile mechanism for handling  the tightening of the labor market: By making the most of your internal staff, you ensure that your business only hires new employees where it is genuinely necessary

To make sure you get the best out of your workforce, Horizons offers full-service talent acquisition consulting to help companies recruit international and remote employees. 

Get in touch today to find out more. 

Frequently Asked Questions

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to a modern phenomenon that was seen in many countries starting in late 2021 and continuing into 2022, during the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. Quiet quitting is when full-time employees choose to do what they perceive as the bare minimum required for their job.

Quiet hiring is a recruitment strategy that focuses on sourcing and hiring candidates internally. From a management perspective, quiet hiring is an attempt to get the most out of the current full-time staff to negate the need to go through a lengthy and potentially expensive external recruitment process. 

By investing in learning and development (L&D) programs, employers can upskill their existing workforce and continue to pursue business objectives.

Hire and pay talents
with Horizons in
180+ countries

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