The Upsides of Quiet Hiring for Employees and Organizations

The quiet hiring trend is on the rise. Though it may seem like it only benefits employers, quiet hiring can also be good for staff if it’s done right. Two HR experts share best practices to help associations take an ethical approach to quiet hiring.

Quiet hiring may sound like the newest buzzword to explain the ever-changing workplace, but it’s not a new concept. One way to describe it is this: organizations that are unable to hire new staff will disperse the responsibilities to internal staff or hire part-time or contract employees.

While on the surface quiet hiring sounds like more work for staff and a headache for organizations to manage, HR experts say it can be a win-win for everyone involved if done with transparency and openness.

Ethical Approach

Instead of springing new responsibilities on employees out of the blue, employers should have candid and open communication with staff about it, said Jim Link, chief human resources officer for the Society for Human Resource Management. Doing so will help get staff buy-in.

“You can’t approach this trend assuming everyone will understand the direction,” Link said. “As an organization, you want to be clear and upfront from the beginning.”

In discussions with staff, associations should recognize the amount of work employees already have on their shoulders.

“Everyone knows what tasks need to get done,” said Jaime Hirschfeld, director of client sales at FlexProfessionals. “Ask staff about what they can add, what they feel comfortable doing, and what support they need to accomplish those tasks.”

Employers should explain the extra duties, how long staff can anticipate the work, and, ideally, how they will be compensated.

“Having transparency from the get-go creates a culture that you want to see,” Link said. “A culture of innovation, belonging, and learning.”

External Support

The number of part-time workers in the U.S. is rising, as people are choosing to take on less hours because of the labor market and burnout.

“People are reconsidering career choices and want more time with family,” Hirschfeld said. “Part-time or contract work can provide the work-life balance they want.”

“You can’t approach this trend assuming everyone will understand the direction. As an organization, you want to be clear and upfront from the beginning.”

Jim Link, Society for Human Resource Management

Hiring professional, part-time employees can help organizations get necessary tasks done without overloading internal staff.

“Part-time work is all about flexibility,” Hirschfeld said. “If it’s close to your conference, you can ramp up the work for your contractors and move some duties that would normally fall to your full-time employees. Hiring part-time workers is a good way to accomplish your tasks, while helping your employees get a break, especially during a busy season.”

New Skills

According to Link, quiet hiring can be a chance for internal staff to learn new skills.

“Let’s say you always wanted to do something different than your job description, but you didn’t have the skillset that aligned with that other role,” he said. “Quiet hiring can give you an opportunity to take on that position a little earlier than you might have otherwise.”

However, for these employees to succeed, associations need to know where the skill gaps are and offer education and training opportunities.

“This can be done in a variety of ways,” Link said. “Learning management systems are a great tool. If you don’t have one, there are a lot of free or low-cost options online to help you work with staff to fill in the skill gaps.”

In addition to training, Link recommends providing a dedicated coach for each employee with new responsibilities. The mentors should serve as guides to help employees get comfortable with their new tasks so they can be successful.

“Providing training and mentoring will help your organization successfully implement quiet hiring practices,” Link said. “Developing a culture of care where you can uplift individuals who have the capability and desire to do more is a wonderful thing to do.”


Hannah Carvalho

By Hannah Carvalho

Hannah Carvalho is Senior Editor at Associations Now. MORE

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