Following the 2022 trend of quiet quitting, and the lesser-known quiet firing, a new buzzword in the world of business has emerged: quiet hiring. Let’s explore this new trend in recruitment and how it’s shaping the workplace.
Quiet hiring, the process of hiring internally for new vacancies, assigning additional responsibility to existing staff, or bringing on temporary contractors to fill roles, is fast becoming a preferred method of recruitment for many employers.
From an employer’s perspective, quiet hiring is more cost and time effective than hiring new staff. Additionally, if there’s an opportunity to split a role amongst existing employees, it’s indeed a clever HR manoeuvre. But how exactly will this new trend shape the workplace as we know it? What impact might this have on employee morale?
The Covid-19 pandemic shook the globe and will remain a pinnacle point in time as it revolutionised the way we work.
With the focus switching from productivity to employee and customer safety, employers embraced a flexible approach to how their staff conducted business. To remain operational throughout pandemic lockdowns, employers adopted a number of tactics, including the facilitation of remote work and enhanced reliability on digital communication.
You just need to take a look at the statistics in this Resume Genius report on recruiting statistics to get a glimpse of how drastically the business world has changed. As we enter 2023, employers are struggling to find skilled workers, while job seekers are more demanding in terms of fair compensation, flexibility, and growth opportunities.
Along with significant changes to day-to-day operations, the pandemic also brought with it unprecedented business closures and long-term service restrictions, resulting in hundreds of thousands of employees being laid off and extraordinary losses of revenue for businesses globally.
To add to the difficulty, and let’s face it, suffering of small and medium-sized businesses across the country throughout this period, Fair Work proceeded with the scheduled increase to the national minimum wage in 2022. A hit that proved too much for many already overwhelmed business owners.
There are no clear signs that workplace culture will return to pre-Covid status as employees fight for work-life balance, to the extent that many would accept a lower salary or reduced benefits in order to do so. While employers attempt to recoup financial losses and fill an increasing number of job vacancies, a significant talent shortage is in play.
Following an epic hit to the hip pocket experienced during the pandemic lockdowns, small and medium businesses have employed the process of what we call ‘quiet hiring’ in an effort to reduce costs and safeguard resources at a time of great uncertainty. When observing this new trend in hiring practices, it is an obvious, sensible, and innovative solution in the eyes of the employer.
Recruiter.com notes in their article on quiet hiring strategy, “A possible recession also means that companies need to hire employees carefully and not over hire”. With so much on the line and a notable skills shortage across the workforce, such a bold decision may simply be a necessary one in a business owner’s fight for survival.
Quiet hiring is set to be the biggest trend in recruitment for 2023. Let’s uncover some of the key benefits available when utilising this workforce development strategy:
- Cost savings: By avoiding the traditional recruitment processes, such as advertising a role on job boards or seeking talent through a recruitment agency, there can be significant cost savings on offer. Additionally, quiet hiring can help to lower payroll costs.
- Increased skills amongst staff: By giving employees the chance to grow, you raise their value and provide sought after professional development and learning opportunities.
- Enhanced employee mobility: Staff that can move across departments or locations and step into higher duties where needed to fill gaps is a huge benefit to any business.
- Improved employee retention: People enjoy doing work they’re good at. Employees given the opportunity to utilise their skills in areas of high value within the business are more likely to enjoy their career overall.
- Allows businesses to be agile to changing market trends: Businesses, especially small businesses and start-ups can’t afford to continuously hire and fire staff. Quiet hiring allows a business to remain agile and flexible to changing markets without losing key staff or experiencing increased payroll expenses.
Positives aside, if done incorrectly or unethically, quiet hiring could negatively impact your business reputation, decrease your ability to serve customers and damage your staff retention.
Although a strategic decision by employers, it appears the benefits of quiet hiring apply to both employers and employees alike, so long as employees are rewarded for the additional responsibility, and employers maintain a focus on staff wellbeing to avoid overwhelm.
To have the best chance at succeeding through quiet hiring, there are some considerations to bear in mind:
Quiet hiring may be a key strategy to cut down expenses. However, employees must be compensated fairly for the work they’re asked to do. This is an ethical decision that allows employees to feel valued and is necessary to maintain high-performing individuals.
While an increased salary can provide a straightforward means of compensating employees for taking on additional responsibilities or filling temporary roles, this is not an employer’s only option.
Other means of compensating employees can include bonuses, additional time off, flexible hours and working conditions like hybrid working arrangements. Hybrid working arrangements are a hot topic right now and allow employees to work part time from the office and part time from home.
Internal quiet hiring may not always be an option. For example, if there is not the mobility within a team or the in-demand skills simply aren’t available, external quiet hiring may be the answer. Hiring contractors or freelancers can fill the void and provide much needed skills to achieve particular projects or fill short-term roles.
An added bonus of bringing on freelance or contract staff is the availability to hire based on specific needs without additional employee expenses including Pay As You Go (PAYG), superannuation, paid sick days, leave loading etc. Sites like Upwork, Freelancer and various recruitment agencies provide an excellent source of skilled contractors and freelance talent.
Although not a formal hiring process, quiet hiring deserves the proper consideration due when filling any vacancy. Clearly defining the role objectives and required skills is key to ensuring a good fit within the team.
When you hire the right people, they’re worth investing in even if they don’t currently have the skills required for the role.
Here are a few things to be mindful of when choosing the best person to upskill or promote:
- Ambition: Do the short-listed employees actually want this role?
- Opportunity for advancement: Can you offer a title change or promotion along with the offer for additional responsibility? Receiving a formal offer will go over far better than a manager’s order on the matter.
- Compensation: Can you negotiate a fair compensation?
- Quality of work: Along with the required skills, does the employee in mind have a reputation for going above and beyond the call of duty? If not, they may not be willing to take on extra responsibility.
- Transferable skills: Are there existing staff that can more easily be moved to a new role? For example, a customer service employee could quite easily be trained in sales.
Seeking guidance and input from mentors and colleagues can offer valuable insight on the chosen candidate and their suitability for quiet hiring. This conversation may also present additional candidates from within the employer’s network who had been overlooked.
The term quiet hiring can be interpreted as a selfish decision made by employers looking to get more bang for their buck. Remaining transparent with employees is imperative to approaching this hiring method in a positive light.
By maintaining open communication with staff on the needs of the business and providing opportunity for contribution to resolve issues and make decisions, staff are empowered, knowing they bring value and are appreciated for their efforts. Valued employees will always be more willing to go above and beyond their call of duty.
There’s very good reason why quiet hiring is taking the recruitment world by storm in 2023. With careful consideration of employee well being and business needs, this practice can benefit all stages of business growth, across all industries. Remaining flexible with how roles are filled within an organisation will bode well as the business world navigates the other side of the pandemic; skills shortages, recession, and all.
“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."