We’ve heard it all. From quiet quitting to quiet firing, there are plenty of new buzzwords that business owners should familiarize themselves with. In the realm of talent acquisition, a new approach known as “quiet hiring” has been generating significant buzz and reshaping traditional recruitment practices. Quiet hiring challenges conventional sourcing and selecting candidates, offering a fresh perspective on how organizations can attract top talent.
What Is Quiet Hiring?
Quiet hiring is the idea that a business can add new skills and fill gaps without hiring new full-time employees. It can come in two different forms: internal and external. Depending on the situation, it can involve internally restructuring teams by reskilling existing employees or externally hiring short-term contractors to meet specific needs, resulting in increased workforce flexibility and retention.
Internal Vs. External Quiet Hiring
Internal quiet hiring is when current employees temporarily move to another role or take on different organizational assignments. The hiring process is long, with an average of 24 days from the first interview to hire, causing stress not only on you but also on your team, who may be juggling many responsibilities at once. Internal quiet hiring allows you to restructure your team by reskilling and upskilling your existing employees while avoiding costly and frustrating hiring processes.
Simultaneously, internal quiet hiring is an excellent way to invest in your staff. By training current employees, you assist their professional development, making them more marketable in an ever-competitive workforce. But don’t let this deter you; it doesn’t mean your employees will leave your business. In fact, data shows that employees who feel invested in are more engaged, report hiring job satisfaction, and are 34% more likely to stay with their employer.
External quiet hiring, on the other hand, is the process of hiring short-term contractors to keep the business running without hiring more full-time employees. This involves proactively vetting well-established contractors, freelancers, or other talent who can fill in whenever necessary.
Benefits Of Quiet Hiring
While quiet hiring has existed for some time, it’s become increasingly popular since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Because of the competitive job market and labor shortage across industries, quiet hiring could be the right solution for you to ensure workplace efficiency without causing financial strain. The following are potential benefits of implementing quiet hiring within your business:
- Provides employees with a reason to care more about their job
- Equips workers with professional development opportunities
- Promotes collaboration and cross-functional teams
- Assists with succession planning
- Establishes a continuous learning culture
- Makes companies more agile and ready to take on change
- Saves resources by not spending money on training and onboarding new staff
In addition, quiet hiring impacts the job market by cutting down on job eliminations. Instead of letting employees go because their job is no longer cost-effective, companies can retrain and move them elsewhere to make an impact.
Potential Risks And Drawbacks
One of the most significant risks of quiet hiring is the potential knowledge gap if employees were to leave. The departure of a team member handling niche or multiple responsibilities within your business could lead to the loss of crucial organizational and job-specific information. Thus, you and your team must create detailed process documentation.
Process documentation refers to recording and detailing the step-by-step procedures, methods, and workflows involved in various organizational tasks, activities, or processes. It’s a comprehensive reference allowing individuals to follow consistent and standardized practices. Through implementing procedural documentation, you can avoid this risk altogether.
Additionally, while quiet hiring can provide internal opportunities, there is a risk this process could overload a single employee instead of filling needed roles. Giving employees more work can often lead to burnout. Employees who experience burnout are more likely to have lower morale (36% of individuals), be less engaged (30%), make more mistakes (27%), and miscommunicate (25%). It’s a never-ending cycle that could hurt your business in the long run.
Implementing Quiet Hiring
Quiet hiring has many benefits, such as saving you time and resources spent elsewhere. But it’s not a strategy to implement without careful thought and planning. By implementing an internal mobility program, you can create structured processes that facilitate job shadowing and swapping. This will enable your team to gain insights into different positions before making a commitment.
Whether or not you implement a mobility program, be sure you’re communicating with your team effectively. Be transparent about your quiet hiring initiatives and frame it as an opportunity your staff can take advantage of. Unilateral decisions, passing out new assignments, or moving team members across departments without clear communication are surefire ways to create resentment and employee dissatisfaction.
Equally as important, when you ask employees to take on more or different responsibilities from their initial hire, you must reevaluate their compensation packages. This proactive approach will assist in retention efforts during moments of transition.
- Have a clear plan
- Implement training programs
- Create a detailed procedural document
- Be transparent with your team
- Understand your compensation commitments
Allow GMS To Help With Your Decision
Should you choose to implement quiet hiring within your business, it’s essential you relay the message in a way that makes your employees feel valued. You don’t want them to think they’re interchangeable or not good enough for the job, but instead, you want them in a position where they can utilize their skills more effectively and have a more substantial impact.
That’s where partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO), like GMS, can benefit you. We can help implement career development and leadership programs so you can train employees to take on more responsibilities in a scenario such as quiet hiring. Plus, through a job market analysis, we’ll help you ensure your compensating employees an appropriate amount.
Joe Wenger, PHR, GMS' Human Resources Manager, explained, "With Gen Z entering the workforce, it's more important than ever for companies to develop programs that offer growth and promotion opportunities. Career advancement is one of the top priorities listed among the majority of this incoming generation. Internally at GMS, we've been ahead of the curve by implementing a leadership development program for top-performing frontline employees, aiming to prepare them as the future of our management team."