'Quiet hiring' is the latest workplace trend: What is it and who benefits from it?

It refers to a way by which organisations can obtain new talent without hiring new employees
Last Updated : 27 February 2023, 16:27 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2023, 16:27 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2023, 16:27 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2023, 16:27 IST

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After "moonlighting" and "quiet quitting", now "quiet hiring" is the new workplace buzzword. But the new term making the rounds on social media isn’t what it sounds like — neither is it quiet nor does it involve actual hiring.

Instead, it refers to a way by which organisations can obtain new talent without hiring new employees.

DH brings you the lowdown:

What exactly is "quiet hiring"?

As layoff woes intensify, employers are scrambling to find new ways to address a widespread talent gap. "Quiet hiring", a new tactic may be the solution.

"Quiet hiring" is when companies move workers from one department to another in lieu of hiring a new employee. The term was declared one of the nine workplace trends of the year by Gartner, a technological research and consulting firm.

What was the catalyst?

"Quiet hiring" appears to be a response to the "quiet quitting" trend of late 2022: the idea of not working beyond what is strictly needed.

Gartner reported that when employees “quiet quit”, organisations retain people but lose skills and capabilities. In a bid to "turn this practice on its head", HR leaders, in 2023, introduced “quiet hiring”, a way to acquire new skills and capabilities without adding new full-time employees.

The new trend sweeping across workplaces around the world is therefore a strategy for an organisation to keep the necessary skills to avoid business disruption while still remaining cost-effective.

Essentially, it is when an organisation acquires new skills without actually hiring new full-time employees, Emily Rose McRae, who has led Gartner's future of work research team since its 2019 inception, focusing on HR practices, said. Often, it means hiring short-term contractors. Other times, it means encouraging current employees to temporarily move into new roles within the organisation, she added.

Who does it benefit?

In the face of a competitive hiring landscape, an economic slowdown, and pressure to keep costs down, employers have a lot to gain from the trend.

As per Gartner, "quiet hiring" allows organisations to strategically "address acute, immediate business needs by assigning existing employees to new roles, expanding existing employees' responsibilities through stretch and upskilling opportunities (in both cases with commensurate compensation), by hiring temporary workers to perform specific tasks, or any combination of the three".

But what about employees?

The tactic seemingly benefits employees as well by offering opportunities to learn new skills and gain more experience, expand their current skills, and unlock their potential in terms of strengthening their resume and making an employee more marketable.

However, netizens have been vocal about their disdain for it. One user took to Twitter to object to what she described as "taking advantage of loyal employees." She further slammed the usage of "cutesy euphemisms" to describe workplace issues.

While, Gartner has described the tactic, as a "win-win for employers and employees", many strongly disagree. "Where are the quiet raises? Where are the quiet merit increases? Where are the quiet performance bonuses?" another Twitter user asked.

Many have also criticised organisations for adopting such tactics of "pressing work onto employees that isn’t necessarily in their job description". "'Quiet hiring' will likely be the trend for many companies so as to leverage internal talent without adding extra cost and headcount," another Twitter user added.

Meanwhile, on Reddit, users expressed similar sentiments. "Soooo….expecting us to do more, without paying more….?" one user said, while another described the trend as "Quiet slavery".

All trends have a shelf life and it is yet to be seen whether "quiet hiring" is one to stay. Will it lead to employee efficiency and satisfaction? Or is it indicative of a larger trend that could spell the end of "jobs" and "job descriptions" as we know them? Only time will tell.

Published 27 February 2023, 14:10 IST

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