How Quiet Hiring Is Changing the Workplace for Employers and Employees

Quiet hiring has helped to save businesses a lot of money while still allowing them to keep up with growing and evolving workplace requirements.

By this point, you’ve probably heard of “quiet quitting”: the practice of employees doing the bare minimum to keep their jobs without going above and beyond or putting a lot of effort into their responsibilities. While quiet quitting has had a widespread and negative effect on the workplace, some organizations are adapting in a creative way through “quiet hiring.”

But what exactly is quiet hiring, how does it work, and how does it lead to workplace changes for both employers and employees? Let’s answer these questions and more now.

What Is Quiet Hiring?

Quiet hiring, in a nutshell, is the practice of using existing human resources—that is, the employees your company already has on its payroll—to fill additional roles, complete additional work, and otherwise tackle the growing needs of your business.

Normally, if you expand your business and suddenly have much more inventory to manage, you might consider hiring a new inventory manager or supervisor. But if your budget is strapped, or if there are other constraints that prevent you from hiring someone new, you might turn to quiet hiring instead.

With quiet hiring, you can look at the current talent in your organization, such as a lower-level supply chain officer or the supply chain manager you already employ. By leveraging some creativity and scheduling flexibility, you offload the increased work requirements onto one or more people already working for your company.

This is just one example of how quiet hiring can manifest in a given business. Other instances of potential quiet hiring activities might look a little different, such as:

  • Launching corporate programs to encourage internal talent mobility, such as recommending workers for promotions, compensating current workers for evolving roles and duties, offering one-time bonuses, etc.
  • Giving current employees upskilling opportunities, both allowing them to buff up their resumes and ensuring that your business has the workers it needs in the perfect place to tackle new, evolving work demands
  • Reaching out to alternative talent networks and sources, such as alumni networks, gig workers or freelancers, and so on. In these circumstances, you may temporarily hire a specialized worker for a single project as an alternative to a completely brand new employee, so you don’t have to pay for that new employee’s yearly payroll and benefits.

Quiet Hiring’s Impact on Businesses

Many organizations have already adopted quiet hiring, ranging from small businesses to larger corporations. It’s also already had a few major impacts on those businesses, including:

Reduced Costs for Hiring and Talent Marketing

For starters, quiet hiring has helped save businesses a lot of money while still allowing them to keep up with growing and evolving workplace requirements.

Instead of spending money on talent marketing and hiring new employees all the time, many brands have reallocated that money into different areas, such as employee education or elsewhere. They’ve turned to their internal workforces or current human resources to fill new positions, sometimes by combining open jobs into single positions for one person.

Time will tell whether this strategy is tenable in the long term, but for now, it has resulted in major cost savings in both time and money. Saving money is always important, especially in an age when people struggle to keep their debt-to-income ratio manageable under 40 percent. For businesses, saving money can come in the form of minimizing expenses from office space or reducing costs from labor outright.

Internal Talent Development

Furthermore, quiet hiring has affected businesses by leading to a greater surge of internal talent development.

Businesses are wise to focus on cultivating and teaching their high-performing employees. After all, many of the best executives and managers are those you can promote from within your organization instead of outside hires.

By doubling down on internal talent development, many organizations have discovered a treasure trove of talented, dedicated employees already on their payrolls. In some instances, businesses have benefited by developing that talent and reaping the rewards of giving employees the knowledge and tools they need to thrive and be more productive.

Organizational Flexibility by Necessity

Most importantly, quiet hiring has forced businesses to change and become more organizationally flexible and agile. When brands don’t have the option to fill open positions with new hires, they must look to more creative tools or solutions to complete the job and customer orders.

Agile, responsive organizational structures are the name of the game these days, and that’s not looking to change anytime soon.

How Does Quiet Hiring Affect Employees?

Similarly, quiet hiring has affected employees in several key ways, and it may continue to do so for as long as the job market forces employers to make these agile decisions.

Skill Development Opportunities

For example, quiet hiring has led organizations to offer more employees skill development opportunities.

When an organization doesn’t hire someone from the outside to fill a new position, it has to make sure the internal, promoted employee has the skills and qualifications needed to get the job done. That’s great for employees who face the situation with the right mindset.

For example, a company’s current employee might be immediately promoted to a supervisory position, despite not having much leadership experience. But that employee can take the opportunity and use it to bolster their resume in the future, plus gain important workplace skills in the short-term.

Incentives and Rewards

Many organizations also have started to offer new incentives and rewards to their employees to compensate them for extra effort or for wider job responsibilities.

These include direct raises, one-time cash bonuses, more personal time off, flexible hours or work-from-home arrangements, or flexible working conditions, such as allowing employees to directly pay for approved expenses with company credit cards or reimbursing an employee for any company expenses they make on their personal credit card. In the latter case, it’s important for the company to cover any additional credit card fees incurred, which are usually less than 4 percent for online transactions.

Indeed, working from home is an important carrot companies can and do offer their employees to incentivize more flexible behavior and workplace roles. Companies should take heed; if the incentive is good enough, employees will help accomplish necessary objectives through quiet hiring.

Chances to Become Indispensable

More broadly, and in the long term, employees can take advantage of quiet hiring to become indispensable to their employers. Indispensability is a key benefit, as it means employees can rely on more job security.

Those workers who use quiet hiring to acquire new skills and responsibilities, plus tackle even tougher challenges, will find themselves well-equipped and ready to face any economic hurdle in the future. Indispensable employees typically are the last to be fired and often are first in line for promotions, bonuses, and other perks that come with success.

Seen in this light, it’s clear that quiet hiring is a major advantage for rockstar employees or dedicated individuals who want to climb the corporate ladder fast.

A Market-Driven Correction

Quiet hiring is leading to increased agility in organizations that adopt it. With quiet hiring, companies can make the most of their labor force without focusing on attracting and keeping top talent or paying for full positions. It’s a natural, market-driven correction to the current quiet quitting movement.

Meanwhile, employees can benefit from quiet hiring with the right mindset and drive. All in all, quiet hiring is likely here to stay. Only time will tell whether quiet hiring evolves with the economy or if new economic incentives drive different company behavior in the future.

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she served as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.