Quiet Hiring Is Here, But What is it and How Does it Impact Employees?

Quiet hiring means asking existing employees to do more.

Qantas baggage handlers work outside an airplane.
Qantas, an airline, instituted internal shifts in August to manage a labor shortage. Getty Images

In anticipation of a further economic downturn, workplaces in 2023 are expected to meet their business needs in part through a practice called quiet hiring, according to CNBC. Quiet hiring means recruiting short-term contractors and shifting internal responsibilities, human resources expert Emily Rose McRae told CNBC.

“In a lot of cases, organizations are not necessarily doing a hiring freeze, or layoffs, but maybe slowing down a little bit on their hiring,” McRae told the news channel.

After a year marked by layoffs, many companies are short staffed but unwilling to hire new fulltime employees. Rotating employees into new positions can meet those needs. Qantas, an Australian airline, asked executives to work as baggage handlers for three months as it navigated a labor shortage, the BBC reported in August. But it also means a culture shift for many businesses.

Quiet hiring follows the introduction of quiet quitting as a concept in 2022, marked by employees not actually quitting but avoiding the hustle culture that causes burnout. Quiet hiring can mean asking employees to take on some of the tasks they gave up last year.

Shifting employees internally also has the potential to create resentment from those who have particular expertise in their jobs or who have been working in the same position for an extended period of time. But many businesses could fail without quiet hiring, according to McRae. The practice’s success rests on how it is presented to employees. Saying new tasks need to be completed isn’t enough to motivate a workforce, she said, but framing it by how it could improve work-life balance or advance an individual’s career is a better way to reach employees.

Quiet Hiring Is Here, But What is it and How Does it Impact Employees?