How to Make Quiet Hiring Work for HR

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Quiet hiring is the top new trend in Human Resources, according to a number of media outlets. It is the response to quiet quitting, the HR trend that dominated the end of 2022 and referred to employees doing the bare minimum for the company and refusing to go above and beyond. Employers quickly practiced quiet firing, which meant they did not provide suitable training or growth opportunities, which forces the employee to leave. Enter quiet hiring. 

Quiet hiring – the practice of acquiring new skills without hiring a new full-time employee

HR leaders are often less enthusiastic about these buzzwords for phenomena that have been happening forever. More than a few HR leaders have suggested quiet quitting is simply the act of some employees being less ambitious and setting boundaries or outright slacking off, all of which is not at all new. Many workers can attest to the fact that quiet hiring is not very new either.

REPORT: How to Improve Employee Engagement in an Economic Downturn

How the Economy Plays into Quiet Hiring

In economic downturns and recessions, businesses often try to do more with less. They may conduct hiring freezes or layoffs. If someone leaves the organization, they may not hire someone else to fill their role. What ends up happening is that employees who remain take on more roles and therefore more work. People are more afraid to lose their jobs in uncertain times, so they put up with it. 

Still, this time around some people are trying to put a positive spin on this trend by suggesting it will get employers to focus on career growth and learning and development for workers. But HR expert Emily Rose McRae, head of Gartner’s Future of Work team, expressed concern that quiet hiring could make attrition more plausible. 

“While quiet hiring can benefit the organization, it may also frustrate workers who don’t necessarily want to transition to roles they may not be interested in,” says McRae, according to Forbes

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How to Make Quiet Hiring Work

In these hard times, HR leaders want to keep their most talented employees, especially if they are being asked to wear many hats. If the business wants to make this trend work, they cannot just ask people to take on more work. Instead, they should: 

Give Them a Raise 

Don’t be surprised if employees being asked to do additional work, outside their roles, expect to be paid more. In fact, some might even be insulted if nothing is offered. However, considering this trend is a fact of life because of an economic downturn, some employers will not have the money for raises. 

Offer a One-Time Bonus

Maybe a raise is not possible considering dwindling budgets. But a one-time bonus could be more plausible. This is a good option if having the employee take on more work is a temporary fix. 

Provide Additional PTO

Another way to reward those taking on many tasks is to provide extra paid time off. Assuming the company does not offer unlimited PTO, this kind of perk may be welcome. It shows appreciation of the hard work. It can also help HR combat burnout, which can be an obvious consequence of quiet hiring. 

Mental Health and Wellness Benefits

Obviously, quiet hiring means many people will feel overworked and possibly overwhelmed. The financial uncertainty will take its toll as well. Therefore, providing mental health and wellness benefits, including zen rooms, anti-stress apps, and access to mental healthcare and employee assistance programs (EAPs) are a necessity. Figure out what works for you, and educate employees about what’s available to them. 

What do you think of quiet hiring? Is this just an old practice in new clothes? Will it backfire or will it be the best response to quiet quitting? Let us know in the comments or on LinkedIn and Facebook

Photo by Christina Morillo for Pexels

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