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Real Life HR: What is Quiet Hiring?

March 15, 2023

Courtesy SBAM-approved partner, Ahola Corporation


Over the past few months, “quiet quitting” was all over the news. Now I am starting to hear about “quiet hiring”. Can you explain what this is?


Quiet hiring is a term used to describe filling talent gaps in an organization without hiring additional full-time employees – this is typically achieved by upskilling and shifting current employees around, though it can also include hiring contractors or part-time workers. Quiet hiring in and of itself is not a new practice, but its recent highlight in the news is driven primarily by the current labor market. Employers are seeing an increased length of time to fill roles (or in some cases, they are not finding the talent at all) which impacts their ability to do business. By upskilling their current workforce and transitioning them into other areas of the business or offering them new assignments, employers can maximize their current team in ways they may not have been able to previously.

There are benefits for both employers and employees when quiet hiring is executed properly. Employers will see the essential functions of their business continue despite a reduced labor force. Additionally, training employees on new skills and giving them opportunities to gain new experience can increase motivation and allow employees to feel positively challenged. It is important to express to your employees that they are valued and that this is an opportunity for them to grow and develop while also having an impact.

While quiet hiring can create benefits, you’ll also want to be mindful of some risks. This type of practice and reskilling/upskilling takes time. You won’t be able to expect employees to train for other areas of work while also maintaining all of the aspects of their current role – so be strategic when deciding which areas of your business to prioritize. You may also need to reevaluate compensation for employees who are taking on additional job duties outside the scope of their job description.

At the end of the day, be honest with your employees. Whether you’re asking employees to temporarily take on additional work to help the business get through some challenges, or you’re retraining them and giving them new projects for the long haul – tell them. As always, continue to recognize your employees when they do good work.

Content provided by Ahola’s ProActive HR. This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.

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