By now, you’ve probably heard of, or already experienced, quiet quitting in your organization. But did you know that quiet hiring is another rapidly emerging HR trend that employers are adopting to navigate a contracted labor market?
Leading research and advisory company Gartner expects quiet hiring to become a dominant trend in the United States in 2023.
Find out what quiet hiring is and why public sector HR professionals need to adopt this strategic recruitment approach in 2023.
Quiet hiring is when an organization acquires new skills without hiring new or full-time employees. Instead, they deploy their current employees to high-priority areas in the organization.
This can involve moving employees to different positions, temporarily allocating additional responsibilities to employees or redirecting employees’ skills to key projects.
When implemented correctly, quiet hiring can be very effective in maximizing internal resources when you are on a hiring pause.
Organizations are facing crushing challenges in 2023. An economic downturn, talent shortages and tight recruitment budgets are making it hard for employers to acquire and keep in-demand talent.
As a result, employers are finding creative ways to manage skills within their organizations. Rather than freeze hiring altogether, many employers are leveraging internal skills.
Quiet hiring is an excellent way for employers to compensate for a slowdown in hiring. Here’s what public sector organizations can gain from implementing a quiet hiring strategy.
In public sector organizations, you may find long-standing employees who, unbeknown to their line managers or HR, harbor untapped skills not used in their regular jobs.
Let’s say José, who works in the maintenance department at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), is a people person and quick with numbers. If you’re short-staffed on customer-facing clerks, with a little training, José could quickly fill the gap.
When it’s crunch time, some employees will jump in boots and all, happy to serve wherever needed. Others, not so much.
As roles are adjusted or reassigned, you’ll discover who your enthusiastic and dependable employees are. These are the employees willing to go the extra mile. You may also discover employees who display promising leadership skills.
These employees are proactive and problem-solvers. You could chart a new internal mobility course for these shining stars.
When employees are reassigned to other roles, they may suit it so well that they wish to remain in the position. Upskilling employees to fit new roles they are happier in can help improve your employee retention rates.
You may think quiet hiring benefits the employer more than the employee, but there are several ways that workers can benefit.
Employees can expand their skill set and further boost their employability by accepting short-term opportunities within the organization.
Employees can use their new roles as a stepping stone to further their careers. They can discuss a promotion or advancement to a more senior role. Even lateral moves could help position an employee for a change in career direction.
Employees can negotiate compensation or other benefits for taking on extra responsibilities. These can include increased pay (for the duration they’re in a new or expanded role), once-off bonuses, flexible working hours or extra time off once the workplace returns to normal.
Public sector organizations may find it challenging to afford new hires if recruitment budgets are curtailed. Quiet hiring is a strategic recruitment tool that can help carry you through a tough economic period.
Here’s what to consider when implementing a quiet hiring strategy.
Quiet hiring could backfire if you implement it incorrectly. Some employees may worry that it puts them at risk for exploitation, prompting them to start job hunting.
Quiet hiring should not be about piling excessive amounts of work on employees. Rather, it should be a temporary trade-off — minimizing employees’ output in one area to service another area.
Communicating this to employees is key. Be clear about the organization’s plan and how it intends to implement it.
Identify the most pressing needs in the organization. Run a skills audit to see where your skills gap lies, and evaluate your employees’ skills, performance and workload.
Once you have this information, you can assign tasks to workers with the relevant skills and add more responsibilities to employees who are being underutilized.
While quiet hiring is a cost-effective way to meet the organizations’ immediate demands in the short term, it may not receive support from all employees. Some may not be keen to transition to other roles, especially roles they are not interested in or find overwhelming.
Explain to employees that these reassignments are a short-term solution and that they will return to their previous positions when the organization resumes hiring.
When Australian airline, Qantas, faced labor shortages upon resuming travel at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, they asked some of their executives to fill in as baggage handlers for three months.
Leading by example can win the respect of employees and create a sense of solidarity that “we’re all in it together.”
Some employees may shoulder more of the load or emerge as exceptional performers during this period. It’s important to acknowledge and reward your top performers so they feel appreciated and valued.
Quiet hiring is set to dominate the HR landscape as organizations try to navigate economic pressures in 2023. Quiet hiring is a win-win situation for employers and workers. It can help employers meet their organizational needs in a cost-effective way while employees can gain new skills that could benefit their careers in the future.
CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country. Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients. We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.