Is Quiet Hiring Plain Evil Or A Necessary Practice?

HR woman working with her computer

According to recent news, over 130,000 tech workers have been laid off as of 2022. Many insiders say the pandemic caused companies to overhire remote workers. Then, they felt the squeeze.  

A peculiar result to the above has to do with companies and human resource departments, especially, taking on a more cautious approach. Rather than hiring new talent, many have opted for quiet hiring. I’ll give you a precise quiet hiring definition next, yet I’m also expanding on three reasons why quiet hiring is an essential measure for some companies, four main concerns talent have on the topic, quiet hiring advantages and downsides, the ethics behind this practice, and thoughts on how to navigate this current staffing trend.  

But Why Is Learning about Quiet Hiring Important? 

This practice currently impacts a varied workforce in a number of ways. From those taking on more job responsibilities to stay afloat to various companies treating staff silently differently, this trend can potentially be impacting anyone across any industry at the moment. Let’s start building common ground with a quiet hiring definition, as promised. 

A Quiet Hiring Definition 

Quiet hiring is the somewhat new name people are calling a company that keeps adding more responsibilities and duties to an employee’s job role without proper discussion of role changes. The practice includes doing so without proper compensation with a pay raise or promotion.  

The most controversial aspect of quiet hiring nowadays has to do with an organization’s leadership expanding or combining job roles discreetly, without employee knowledge or consent. Not a very nice thing to do, you might think, no? 

While we can certainly start off by saying quiet hiring can be unfair to employees, the flipside to that is that this measure is often also a need many companies have to remain productive, cost-efficient, and profitable. Perhaps playing a bit of devil’s advocate for a moment, here are three common reasons why companies adopt this measure: 

  1. Quiet Hiring Secures A Company’s Best Talent 

The first one is quite practical, if not mathematical. Research from the Kelley School of Business has shown that high-performing employees are up to 400% more productive and competent than new or lower-performing staff. 

Furthermore, whenever hiring managers post an open position, they usually receive a flood of applications from unqualified candidates. Rather than taking a chance on someone new, quiet hiring allows companies to more effectively bypass hiring and onboarding to quietly promote their top-performing employees. 

They thus retain members of their team that are already familiar with their company’s culture, goals, and processes, which means these people can easily take on new responsibilities and tasks without a long ramp-up time. In the end, by giving experienced employees additional responsibilities, companies can leverage their skills and improve overall productivity. 

  1. Quiet Hiring Can Also Save Money 

Recruitment campaigns are also costly. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, hiring a single employee can cost an average of $4,700. If a company only has ten new job openings, employers can be spending close to $50,000 within a 30-day hiring period! 

The above number can quickly escalate depending on the industry, what and how many job roles need to be filled, and the company’s usual hiring cycle length. As companies seek to cut costs, this type of future of hiring seems to be based on looking internally for talent and using quiet hires to save on recruiting budgets. 

  1. Quiet Hiring Can Help Companies through Tough Times 

Quiet hiring, as we know, was a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like I said at the beginning, when US companies laid off employees and cut costs in anticipation of an impending recession, many businesses attempted to reduce expenses by having their active employees cover essential roles and responsibilities to remain profitable. 

During any recession, many markets face enormous uncertainty. In those cases or even when companies are facing rocky challenges for other reasons, redesigning current employees’ roles helps companies keep their talent. Adapting also contributes to people keeping their paying job and the measure can help both organization and employee adapt to a changing or scary environment. 

The Downsides of Quiet Hiring and How to Tackle Them 

Now, moving on to the disadvantages of this topic, staff who have been subject to quiet hiring naturally tend to have four main complaints: being overworked, underpaid, not being offered a promotion, and not being asked for their consent. Despite these concerning drawbacks, quiet hiring is becoming increasingly common. In this sense, isn’t it understandable that people working for any company feel concerned about this trend?  

I’d like to wrap up this article with a few thoughts on how to tackle quiet hiring based on the main concerns above. These apply for either side of the equation, whether you’re part of an organization’s leading positions or a key player currently reading this to stay afloat. I’m mainly trying to turn undesirables into opportunities here for everyone involved, if at all possible.  

  1. A Person’s Role Has Changed without Their Knowledge or Consent. In this case, it’s key to identify all signs leading to a full-on case of quiet hiring. After a period of changes in responsibilities, leaders, supervisors or managers can meet with talent to air the topic respectfully. Open dialogue on the conditions of a silent hiring job to regain control over the new (or old) role. 
  1. Not Receiving a Pay Raise. When new responsibilities have made the list, previous tasks that no longer align with a new role might be removed. Doing so can keep active workload consistent with salary. 

Now that we’re on the topic of salaries, and if salary comparisons interest you, you might want to read our latest blog on Remote Software Developers’ Tech Salaries and Job Roles Analysis by our brilliant Head of Talent Marketing & Branding, Micaela Ruiz. Just a thought! 

  1. Not Being Promoted. If there’s no option for a more senior title, other benefits can make up for added experience. Think of more PTO, flexible or hybrid work, and even career development training that can lead to better job opportunities. 
  1. Being Overworked. I have one word on this: communication. Exhaust means and chains of command, and rely on HR, if needed, for workload balance solutions.  

Quiet Hiring: Definitely Not A Practice to Sweep Under the Rug 

Companies have always hired internally. Doing so is anything but new. Maybe our new way of calling this practice is trending in some ways, under new terminology. Yet, regardless of what’s the case here, the ethics of how this is being done today are causing a lot of discussion. 

In every sense, career growth and professional development are areas to keep aligned with company and personal goals and aspirations. Yet, we should also acknowledge just how much companies can benefit from the stability and productivity that come with promoting from within. 

What We Believe at Nearsure 

As the Chief Growth Officer at Nearsure, I can vouch for our leading practices, especially when it comes to hiring as a staffing solutions company. While it can certainly get tricky for many industry leaders out there, we at Nearsure base our operations on valuing empowerment and work-life balance. Far from engaging in silent hiring at this time as a strategic business move, as a people-first organization, we constantly work hard to upkeep a culture of mutual trust.  

Rather than monitor and track our teams every second or move, for instance, we believe our talent will continue to do their best with our ongoing support. That’s why we focus on giving them the latest tools and technologies to facilitate efficient digital collaboration.  

Ultimately, we believe that fostering a sense of autonomy and team spirit is essential to the success of our business and the well-being of our teams. With them, we service the most demanding companies in the United States and have earned numerous awards at doing so. We take pride in running operations out of Latin America for North American-based clients that not only result in high-quality services, but also take the burden off talent shortages, complications, and other roadblocks on organizations way to efficient time-to-market, product launches, and many other exciting projects. Our idea is precisely to be great at our staffing solutions so our business partners can focus on their objectives. 

We thrive on our long-term business partnerships with companies needing outstanding staffing solutions, but we also honor that, without our top-notch teams working on flexible and competitive benefits, a 100% remote work structure, and a human-focused culture, we would quite simply be out of business. So, rather than quiet hiring, we take care of our people at all costs.  

I hope this has been insightful. Have any thoughts you’d like to share with us? Feel free to contact us anytime.