April 3, 2023

Quiet Hiring

By now, most of you have heard of the terms Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing.  Now, there’s a new ‘quiet” term that’s gaining traction lately – Quiet Hiring.

Quiet Hiring

The term Quiet Hiring is a new buzz word to describe both voluntary and involuntary employee development. While both are not new to the workforce, Quiet Hiring, has become more popular in the past couple of years.

Prior to the pandemic and recent labor shortages, the most common forms of quiet hiring came during organizational restructurings such as downsizing, upsizing, job consolidations, etc. This usually meant employees were forced to learn new skills and/or take on additional roles and responsibilities. In most cases, employees don’t see any pay increase or benefit. Whether voluntary or involuntary, there are some advantages and disadvantages to the concept.

Advantage #1: Talent Acquisition

The organization’s ability to acquire new talent internally is a significant advantage of quiet hiring. This is due to three key reasons. First, organizations will be able to reduce the timeframe it takes from hiring employees externally which means the organization is less likely to see a decrease in productivity. Second, managers within the organization will be forced to adapt and develop the employees they already have.  They’ll learn to develop their teams internally. Third, operational costs are likely to be far less as you bypass the costs to recruit, onboard, and train new hires externally.

Advantage #2: Employee Engagement & Retention

If done right, the organization can see a significant increase in employee engagement & retention especially amongst the younger generation of employees such as Millennials and Gen Z.  Millennials and Gen Zs often crave as many training and development opportunities as they can get, becoming one of their top motivators in the workplace. If employees, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, have their training and development needs fulfilled, they’re more likely to stay with the organization as they’ll l feel a sense of loyalty to the organization for those extra opportunities. While this can be an advantage, organizations must be cautious not to overwork and underpay their employees because if they feel taken advantage of, they are more likely to leave the job.

 Advantage #3: Upskill

As the organization suffers more from staffing issues management will likely turn to upskilling their workforce to ensure the same amount of work can be done with less employees. As duties and responsibilities of each employee increase so do their KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities). This means that the workforce will become more efficient and productive over time. As employees increase their KSAs and experience they will be better equipped and better qualified for promotional opportunities, which can result in lucrative pay increases.

Advantage #4: Resilience

Another significant advantage of quiet hiring is that employees throughout the organization will become more reliant and better equipped to deal with higher stress levels in the workplace, especially as staffing shortages continue and as the economy continues to recover post-pandemic.


Disadvantage #1: Fatigue

As employees are tasked with expanded job duties & responsibilities, they’re more likely to become fatigued or “burned out” due to increased workloads and most likely will become less productive, as well. However, this disadvantage is far less common amongst the younger generations of workers as they often seek training and development opportunities.

Disadvantage #2: Attrition

As previously mentioned, quiet hiring can result in increased attrition as employees become more dissatisfied with their jobs and more fatigued over the increased workloads. As mentioned above, employees often desire the opportunities to train and develop new KSAs in the workplace but if they feel they are being overworked and underpaid, they are far more likely to leave the job.

Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting is essentially defined as an employee who consciously decides to do the minimum required of the job. Quiet quitting is not a new concept.  While the concept has been around for years, there are some key elements of quiet quitting that employers should be aware of.

Employee burnout is one thing that can lead to quiet quitting. So, if managers hear an employee expressing, they are “burned out”, managers should take immediate action and partner with HR to come up with a solution.

Another thing to look out for is the increased frustration of other employees who now have to pick up the slack of these quiet quitters.  If you start to see signs of quiet quitting it’s best to deal with it as soon as possible.  Avoiding or ignoring it can permeate throughout your entire workforce leading to an overall decrease in productivity and employee morale.

Quiet Firing

In the case of Quiet Firing, it’s the employer who is guilty of the act.  In its most negative form, an employer may purposely try to force an employee to quit by creating such a negative employee experience that they feel they have no option but to quit.  In it’s more innocent form – managers aren’t intentionally creating reasons for their employees to quit but they aren’t actively working on supporting, coaching, developing or engaging them either; effectively pushing the employee out of the organization.

So, what’s next?  What will the next “quiet” business concept be?  Hard to say – but whether you’re talking about Quiet Quitting, Hiring or Firing – the point is to know what it is, recognize it and do something about it – LOUDLY!


*The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only. This article may contain links to other third-party websites provided only for the convenience of the reader. 

Compare Plans View Demo Self Assessment Subscribe to Insights