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    Businesses around the world are experiencing upheaval and lots of change. New trends and buzzwords are taking the spotlight every few days with "The Great Resignation" gaining the first widespread attention. On its heels came "The Great Reshuffle." Employees, not wanting to be left behind, came up with "Quiet Quitting.” Now, there is one more trend spreading through a business’s inner sanctums: “Quiet Hiring.”

    While business leaders might not take notice of quiet hiring, it could have a significant impact on turnover, morale, and reputation. When done improperly, the practice can help create a toxic culturehere's what we should be doing instead.

    Quiet Quitting vs. Quiet Hiring

    Two of the biggest workplace buzzwords gaining traction in the last few months are quiet quitting and quiet hiring.

    What is Quiet Quitting?

    Quiet quitting refers to when an employee sticks to performing the duties they were hired to do and only doing what’s necessary. They complete their workdays without putting in extra time or effort. They might clock in from 9-5, but they make a point not to go above and beyond just for the sake of perception or obligation. They do their work and nothing more, eschewing the commonly held notion that American workers must toil away and routinely go above and beyond to be noticed or otherwise succeed at work. This is a classic example of “quiet quitting.”

    Several employers view quiet quitting as an employee’s way of shirking their responsibilities, but that is not the case, as the terminology doesn’t match the reality. Quiet quitting is a reaction to the changing relationship between employers and employees and is for many a direct response to many employees feeling undervalued. More troublingly, it may be indicative of something far more serious at the workplace that must be addressed, as the workplace mental health crisis worsens.

    What is Quiet Hiring?

    Quiet hiring refers to something similar but from the employer’s point of view. When a leader or manager intentionally tasks employees with duties and responsibilities beyond their job descriptions to fill in gaps in their workforce rather than hiring new personnel, it’s called quiet hiring.

    The Downsides of Quiet Hiring

    The prospect of quiet hiring may appeal to some managers due to a misplaced sense of its effectiveness. After all, it does help fill gaps during a talent squeeze and helps cut down on costs in times of economic downturn.
    Consequently, they get to leverage internal talent instead of hunting down and hiring additional full-time employees and completely do away with a lengthy recruitment process.

    Quiet hiring, however, doesn’t bode well for collective morale at the workplace. Here is why:

    Employees May Feel Exploited

    Employees may feel as though they are being used as a means to an end, which could lead to resentment or contribute to a toxic work environment. This is particularly true in this case because quiet hiring is often done without communicating to employees the vision, goals, or reason for increasing their workload or responsibilities, so an increase in pay or an agreement about the length of time that this process will last is often absent. A company needs a dedicated and motivated workforce if it wants to achieve meaningful growth. It needs people who believe in what they're doing so that their work doesn't become devalued.

    But quiet hiring may give them the opposite—a disgruntled workforce, particularly without any corresponding additional pay. 

    Employees Will Be Spread Thin

    Employees would be more concerned with wrapping up their allotted work rather than doing it well, their attention may be spread between too many projects, and they may be working on something for which they have little relevant experience. The quality of work will deteriorate thus causing frustration and a feeling of accomplishment for both parties.

    Employees Will Resent the Lack of Promotion

    According to the University of Phoenix’s Annual Career Optimism Index 2022 study, 49% of employees want to develop their skills but don’t know where to begin. And while quiet hiring might give them a chance to evolve their skills, it’s a short-term strategy that will backfire for you. If there is no recognition and a lack of guidelines to get your employees on the track of growth and development, employee motivation, connection and loyalty will diminish. 
    Having an employee growth and succession plan that provides upward mobility gives your employees a greater sense of certainty and value.

    Building a Powerful Team for Longevity and Growth

    One of the biggest disadvantages of quiet hiring is the emotional disconnect that employees develop with their company’s future and its goals. After a certain point, they may simply stop caring.

    A better alternative to quiet hiring is to upskill your employees and set them on a career path to take on additional responsibilities. Leadership and career development programs can all help bridge the skill gap between the talent a company requires and the talent that it presently has.

    Employees appreciate being valued as an instrumental component of their company’s growth strategies. Nothing demonstrates this more than strong well-being benefits like EAPs, professional development programs, training, and leadership development opportunities. They inspire trust in their leadership. All forward-thinking companies invest in employee education, structured training, and development programs as a means of succession planning and a smart alternative to unnecessary hiring and/or quiet hiring.

    There is, however, another side to this coin. Along with developing their skills and widening their scope of work, increasing their compensation, and giving them more robust benefits are just as crucial. 

    But for the employees, growth means career advancement and a corresponding hike in their compensation. When companies make both happen, that’s when employees feel like they have a clear view of their future, and it’s with your company. 

    No one can claim with absolute certainty that employee training and development programs will prevent resignations and plug the talent leak—there are too many factors at play (work culture, work environment, etc.). But these programs are a significant step up from ‘quiet hiring’ strategies in a positive, healthier direction.

    So, what do good managers do instead of quiet hiring? They invest in their employees by training them, upskilling them, and promoting them.

    And that’s what separates companies enjoying ‘The Great Retention’ from those suffering from ‘The Great Resignation’ and the subsequent, never-ending hiring spree.


    Lauren O'Neil | Espyr Director of Marketing

    I always had a passion for health which led me to become a Fitness Trainer and Yoga Teacher in my free time. I have witnessed so many people struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues throughout my life, and I had a very personal and tragic experience with a loved one. From then on, I was...

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