If quiet quitting was the buzzword of 2022, quiet hiring might very well be the buzzword for 2023. While most of the news from the world of work brings doom and gloom these days (layoffs, a possible impending recession), quiet hiring has the potential to be the silver lining that helps businesses do more with less — while helping employees upskill for future roles. 

I’ll admit, when I first heard of quiet hiring, I was dubious. It sounds like it could involve employers taking advantage of employees by asking them to take on more work or absorb the roles of laid-off coworkers. But that’s not what quiet hiring is — or at least not what it should be. 

When done right, with a careful strategy created by leadership in partnership with HR departments, quiet hiring can and should benefit both employers and employees in addition to providing an antidote to the quiet quitting trend of 2022. 

What is quiet hiring? 

Quiet hiring is one of the nine work trends named by industry leader Gartner for 2023. They explained the phenomenon as “a focus on internal talent mobility to ensure employees address the priorities that matter most without changes in headcount, [offering] upskilling opportunities for existing employees while meeting evolving organizational needs, [and engaging] in alternate approaches, such as leveraging alumni networks and gig workers, to flexibly bring in talent only as needed.”

Quiet hiring is being driven by a few competing market pressures. Economic turmoil has caused companies to cut budgets for hiring new employees and the tight job market means employees can’t easily find talented new hires. These pressures have caused companies to look inward, to the employees already working for them, and consider how they can better utilize their skills.

In 2023, employers will instruct their existing employees to carry out different functions or, in some cases, help them train for slightly different roles than what they’re currently fulfilling. Quiet hiring sounds a lot like hiring internally but there are a few key differences. Quiet hiring is an overarching strategy undertaken by leadership and carried out by HR teams to maximize resources using existing employees or their networks. It shouldn't be done ad-hoc to fill holes or gaps, but rather as a strategic initiative to shift resources in a way that will produce results.  

Quiet hiring is a pattern that should benefit both employers and employees while we all ride out the rollercoaster of economic uncertainty over the next year. 

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How quiet hiring can help employers

We’re all aware of just how expensive hiring new employees is. It costs the average company $4,000 to hire and onboard a new employee in addition to their salary, an amount that many companies could use for other critical business functions. Moving an existing employee into a different role or helping them learn a new specialty can be far more cost-effective. 

Additionally, quiet hiring can provide a smoother transition that maximizes productivity. Think about it: if you’re transferring an existing employee who already understands a company’s processes and culture into a different role, that transition will take less time than onboarding a new employee. 

Quiet hiring can also alleviate the need to lay off employees if employers are able to redeploy those in lower-impact roles to those that are mission-critical for the company’s survival. 

How quiet hiring can help employees

Quiet hiring shouldn’t just work in employers’ favor. In the right circumstances, it should also help employees as well. 

The practice of quiet hiring can involve employees upskilling in order to fill another role. These are skills employees can then leverage when they move on to another company, making them even more employable and leading to higher compensation in the future, if not in their current role. 

Quiet hiring can also create opportunities to negotiate higher compensation if employees are being asked to take on bigger workloads, more responsibility, more direct reports, or a new job title. In fact, HR experts recommend using any of those scenarios as grounds for negotiating compensation or other benefits. 

Another potential benefit is that if you’re being quietly hired within your company, you’re likely to be safe from future layoffs, which can put you at ease in an increasingly turbulent economy. 

Drawbacks of quiet hiring

There are drawbacks to the practice of quiet hiring, and these primarily apply to employees. It’s important for employees to keep these in mind as quiet hiring gathers steam and becomes more commonplace. 

  • Taking on more responsibility without compensation: Quiet hiring shouldn’t involve employers asking their employees to take on more responsibility without additional compensation. If your employer isn’t in a position to increase your salary, consider negotiating for other benefits, like a more flexible schedule. 
  • Slowly increasing responsibility over time: When responsibilities increase in a slow manner over time, it can be hard for employees to put their finger on the practice of quiet hiring in action. Instead, quiet hiring should be something that’s openly and transparently discussed between employer and employee so everyone is on the same page. 
  • Not keeping an end date in mind: Quiet hiring should have an expiration date if possible. Employers should make clear the milestones that the company needs to meet in order to return to loud hiring, or at least hiring from outside the organization. While market pressure plays a role in how long quiet hiring might last, creating a timeline for revisiting the practice will be important for future growth. 

How Wrike can help

Quiet hiring relies on transparency and strategic planning, as well as fluid resource management — and that’s where Wrike comes in. Wrike gives employers a bird’s-eye view of company resources and capacity and enables them to reassign tasks with ease. Wrike also enables high-level strategic planning and highly visual brainstorming, as well as creating a single source of truth for entire departments. 

For employees, Wrike can help you visualize your tasks and responsibilities, including how much time they take. This can give employees leverage for negotiating compensation in return for being quietly hired into a new role or new responsibilities. 

If quiet hiring is on your horizon, it’s time to give Wrike a test drive. Start your free two-week trial today. 

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