February 6, 2023

What's Up with Quiet Hiring?

2022 in Review
If 2021 was the year of the Great Resignation, 2022 was the year of quiet quitting: A term used to describe when an employee consciously decides to become less psychologically attached to their work. Driven by many of the same underlying factors as an actual resignation, quiet quitters continue to fulfill their primary job responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in the activities that HBR defines as “citizenship behaviors”: that means no more staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.

Last year, Gallup found that nearly half of all US employees are not engaged in their work, with only 32% being actively engaged and bringing their authentic self to work. This decline in emotional investment could be attributed to a variety of factors: a lack of clarity towards role expectations, limited vertical (and lateral for that matter) career growth opportunities, an absence of empathy from employers, and a growing disconnect between an organization’s purpose and its employees’ values.

But that was last year. Now, in 2023, there’s a new workplace trend on the rise: “quiet hiring”

What is Quiet Hiring?
Quiet hiring is a term used to describe how recruiters source new talent without the need for hiring new employees. In other words, there is a greater focus on the internal mobility of preexisting talent to meet business needs. At the strategic level, quiet hiring is the process of looking at where your gaps are and filling those holes by optimizing your workforce. 

This longstanding HR strategy was declared the #1 future workforce trend in 2023 by Gartner, with the pursuit of nontraditional candidates to expand talent pipelines and redefining professionalism post-COVID coming in 4th and 9th, respectively. 

Internal vs. External Hiring
How do organizations “quietly hire?” Recruiting from within can happen in two ways: internally and externally. 

In both cases, organizations must first get a clear picture of their workforce by understanding what competencies each individual currently possesses. However, with so many complexities and nuances in today’s rapidly evolving business environment, using algorithms to collect this information can reduce the time, cost, and effort needed to gather employee data. In fact, Claira’s platform can help speed this process along by matching people or roles to a business’s critical performance gaps, filling them from within or through Claira’s marketplace. 

After gathering this data, employers can then hire externally by onboarding short-term contractors to temporarily meet business demands, or hire internally by moving existing employees to different roles outside their primary job description—in essence, encouraging them to take on different assignments within the organization. As the work we do becomes increasingly multi-dimensional and cross-functional, leveraging competency science enables firms to identify an employee’s transferable talents and provide an accurate picture of their growth potential.

Communication is Key
Without adequate transparency and communication between employees and employers, quiet hiring can be adversely perceived as a way to reduce cash outflows by increasing everyone’s workload, placing more stress on already stressed employees. 

The reality is that most jobs cannot be fully explained by a formal JD, so organizations are being forced to rely on their people to step-up and meet business demands as needed. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that employees are reacting negatively to a presumably increased workload with the same amount of compensation. 

Whichever hiring tactic senior leaders make use of, clarifying new role expectations and being supportive of changing roles is critical to combating employee burnout and disengagement. New evidence suggests that when teams are organized around people-centric projects rather than being siloed by departmental function, they are more likely to have a vested interest in their work because it is engaging. Quiet hiring allows people to move fluidly throughout the organization and expand their technical skill set based on the competencies they currently possess, which can open the door to future career growth opportunities.  

Competency science combined with open channels of two-way communication can not only promote honesty and career growth opportunities, but also help leaders identify people who possess the right mix of characteristics to act upon these opportunities—all of which can be done within Claira’s human optimization matrix. 

On Organizational Introspection 
Ironically, many leaders have expressed that losing talent can be a great loss to the organization, but having employees that physically stay but quietly quit instead is even worse, as their unwillingness to go beyond their primary job function forces colleagues to take on extra work instead, reducing net productivity and having adverse effects on organizational culture. 

Looking within your organization for talent is one of the most strategic and cost-effective hiring tactics being used by senior leaders. Today’s employees are first and foremost human, which means they are capable of learning and adapting. Given that 70% of competencies are transferable across industries, harnessing the power of your internal talent marketplace can unleash organizational agility unlike no other. 

According to Gartner, today’s employees are following nonlinear career paths: 56% of candidates report applying for jobs outside their current area of expertise, and this figure is expected to climb further in the coming years. In a world where quiet hiring is becoming the new norm, Claira is uniquely positioned to help companies rediscover, upskill, and invest in their people. Not only does looking inwards reduce turnover and costs, it can also increase candidate diversity and DEI outcomes. 

With a machine learning engine that is capable of helping leaders predict both the current and future capabilities of their workforce, Claira has the capacity to develop realistic performance goals based on current and future projections. By combining machine learning and market data to analyze an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, Claira’s platform can generate a competency map that enables leaders to visualize their people’s capabilities, source talent internally, and identify gaps and growth opportunities. As agility shapes the future of work, organizations that invest in their internal talent marketplace will be able to meet ever-evolving business needs and outperform their competitors.

Kyra Au
Digital Marketing Associate

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