Can Quiet Hiring Overtake Quiet Quitting?

If you were to brush up on some of the latest HR jargon, you’d probably wonder why everyone is being so quiet.

Quiet quitting and quiet firing are prominent catchphrases describing employees’ doing just enough work not to get fired and employers’ pushing staff to quit, respectively. But these aren’t the only employment practices that avoid direct and frank discussions. Companies like Google (and others) are experimenting with a practice they refer to as quiet hiring.

What Is Quiet Hiring?

“More specifically, Google is using an under-the-radar recruiting strategy of ‘quiet hiring,’” writes Kelly Main in an article for Inc. “It’s part of what enables it to identify the brightest minds (internally and externally) and place the best candidates into its open positions. And Google isn’t the only company that uses some form of quiet hiring.”

As Main explains, the quiet hiring process starts by looking first to internal candidates for open positions. Ideally, an employer will identify someone who is going above and beyond, essentially already doing the work of the open position. Think of a team member who already acts as a leader/manager even though he or she doesn’t officially have that title. “In return, employees prove to employers that they have what it takes to perform the job well,” Main adds. “And not surprisingly, these employees tend to be those who get the raises and promotions. For employers, there is far less risk, as well as little to no cost associated with recruiting and training, saving what can amount to a lot of money.”

Reversing the Quiet Quitting Course

Main notes that quiet hiring can be an effective way to mitigate quiet quitting because those who engage in quiet quitting are, by definition, not the ones going above and beyond. This means that quiet quitters miss out on the rewards offered through quiet hiring.

Quiet hiring may be a means of identifying workers with high levels of ambition and dedication, but it’s also important to note that all of this “quiet” quitting, firing, hiring, or whatever suggests a toxic employer-employee relationship, one that often runs on passive aggressiveness, subtle hints, and reading between the lines as opposed to frank and open conversations about what expectations both parties have for the employment relationship and whether those expectations are being met.

In the long run, employees and employers may find it would be better to simply improve the lines of communication.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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