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Quiet Hiring Can Boost Employee Morale, Company Outcome — But Only If Done Right


A hiring graphic
Image: Nataly Turjeman - Alamy Stock Vector
We're all familiar with the notion of quiet quitting now — the idea that workers are doing exactly what is in their job description but not going above and beyond in either quality or quantity of work. The quiet part is meant to describe how employees don't leave; they simply do their jobs until either motivation or a new opportunity strikes.
Using the word quiet to denote the internal dynamics of a workplace explains why some publications are now writing about "quiet hiring." As CNBC recently reported:
Quiet hiring is when an organization acquires new skills without actually hiring new full-time employees, says Emily Rose McRae, who has led Gartner’s future of work research team since its 2019 inception, focusing on HR practices.
Sometimes, it means hiring short-term contractors. Other times, it means encouraging current employees to temporarily move into new roles within the organization, McRae says.
Quiet hiring is about filling an acute organizational need as quickly as possible — something that's been challenging to do with the ongoing talent crunch in several U.S. industry verticals. Sometimes filling that organizational need means onboarding a new hire quickly. But the idea behind quiet hiring is to prioritize the organization's needs, then move existing employees into positions that fill those needs.
While this strategy is great for optimizing the talented people one has in-house, the possible downside is that the people who have been quiet hired into new roles may not care for the role or the direction they perceive their career taking. For example, if you've got a marketing professional who manages email newsletter promotions, moving them over to full-time Salesforce reports for external clients just because you need someone to do that, and this person knows Salesforce meets the organizational need — but ignores the employee's need to feel as though they're doing the job they agreed to take and are invested in doing.
Quiet hiring can be a great way to help ambitious employees get broader organizational experience or have a greater impact on the organization — two things that are good for employee retention. However — quiet hiring works best when employees are brought into the process as collaborators, not treated like assets to deploy at the whims of the company. Employee morale is linked to talent retention, so managing morale is a vital part of any workplace strategy that's going to use quiet hiring to maintain business processes in the face of acute talent shortfalls. Otherwise, those people you just quiet-hired into critical positions are going to quiet quit.
We ran some great articles on WorkSpace Connect in the past few weeks. Check out:
  • Preparing Your Workplace Strategy for Possibly Tighter 2023 Budgets — Workplace strategists and leaders are heading into the new year with potentially fewer resources to build out their vision for the future of work.
  • Maintaining Business Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment — As working from home during the pandemic has shown, a lack of in-person meetings has a tangible impact on the business and its culture—how far can tech tools aid a cultural evolution?
  • Dealing With Changing Social Norms in the Office — HR managers can cut confusion and stay ahead of shifts with clear communications and some flexibility.

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