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Quiet Hiring: Definitions, Trends and Tips

No employee wants to feel stagnant or undervalued. What if there were a way to minimize burnout, develop talent and fill the void left by labor shortages? There is, and it’s called “quiet hiring.”

As with the recent concept of “quiet quitting,” quiet hiring is not defined literally. It’s not hiring external candidates without clear communication, job applications or background checks. Think of allowing an employee to mentor co-workers in another department or encouraging someone to work on projects in a neighboring team.

In other words, it’s a way to:

  • preserve a business’s limited resources
  • encourage development and cross-department training
  • build a sense of community among co-workers
  • create more opportunities for advancement

When done right, quiet hiring helps give employees a new lease on their work life. They also get what everyone needs, no matter their age, title or industry: purpose.

Keep these questions in mind as you begin to “quiet hire” your people.

What is quiet hiring?

Quiet hiring comes in different forms. Broadly, it’s when an employee takes on a new role or responsibility at their company. While it can be used to fill a temporary need, it’s not out of the question for the shift to be permanent.

The practice doesn’t inherently come with a raise or a promotion, but it can be a stepping stone toward upskilling and a leadership position. According to a 2023 Monster survey, 4 in 5 employees said they’ve been quiet hired. The same study showed half of workers felt the move was outside their skill set.

To an extent, that’s exactly the point. Quiet hiring gives employees a chance to sharpen skills they otherwise wouldn’t have.

This doesn’t mean dumping the responsibilities of an entire department on an employee with no additional compensation. It’s about trusting employees to expand their potential and impact.

Why is quiet hiring popular?

In the equation of the concept’s popularity, labor shortages play one part. As economic uncertainty rears its head, proactive organizations may use quiet hiring as a way to protect their future.

And for good reason, too. World Bank predicts global growth will slow in 2023, putting the international economy at “its third weakest pace in nearly three decades.” While this doesn’t guarantee a recession, the market’s current movement could place us “perilously close” to it.

The trend creates pressure for companies to keep operating costs down while still addressing employee needs. With the right approach, quiet hiring helps accomplish both.

After all, many organizations are expected to keep up with high demand without losing productivity. Without an equally high head count, doing so can be tough. In addition to a slowing economy, World Bank projects the total number of people eligible for work will decline by 3% over the next decade.

But that only addresses the people who could work. What about those who have recently resigned? A steady stream of mass quitting is still ongoing. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded over 4 million resignations a month from June 2021 to December 2022.

Employers who use quiet hiring should keep in mind why employees quit. According to a Morning Consult survey commissioned by Paycom, an overwhelming 65% of employees value a strong work-life balance over any other professional priority. It’s important to be mindful of an employee’s needs as you quiet hire by expanding their role.

At the same time, some companies have been forced to lay off personnel. According to career consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., U.S. executives announced more than 360,000 job cuts in 2022. This marks a spike of 13% from 2021’s planned cuts.

Regardless of how a company loses employees, quiet hiring has the potential to offset it by empowering workers who stay.

How does quiet hiring benefit businesses?

Quiet hiring is useful to companies even without the nudge of outside forces. Consider how it helps in three key areas:

Talent acquisition

Quiet hiring helps reduce the cost of actually hiring new employees. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates the average cost of recruiting and onboarding a new hire at $4,683.

On top of that, it typically takes 54 days to fill a position. According to Gallup, a new employee won’t reach their performance potential for at least a full year. Quiet hiring could help offset the time and cost of catching new talent up to speed without losing quality.


Unchecked disengagement inevitably drives employees away. Most HR professionals know this, which is likely why over half of them cited retention as their top 2023 priority in a Pollfish survey commissioned by Paycom. Similarly, more than 1 in 3 said engagement was equally important.

Quiet hiring presents a chance to leverage the skills of current employees. By giving more opportunities to hungry talent, employers get ahead of burnout.

“This allows those employees to remain engaged and productive, which can help quell quiet quitting — and makes sure those people are working toward business goals,” said Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom’s vice president of HR, in an interview with Fox Business.


Quiet hiring also helps organizations be agile and adaptive. For example, an established employee may help train and mentor a new hire, even if “trainer” isn’t a part of their job title.

However, that doesn’t encapsulate the concept’s full power. On Fox Business, Kraszewski cited redeploying tax specialists to other relevant projects after tax season. Imagine how helpful a recruiter could be working directly with an engagement committee.

Depending on your business, a well of untapped possibilities can be ripe for quiet hiring.

What’s the best way for businesses to implement quiet hiring?

Like most workplace strategies, no universal method of quiet hiring exists. If your approach is forced or mandated, it could do more harm than good. On the other hand, quiet hiring may help you keep employees on the verge of resignation due to disengagement.

Again, it’s all about finding the right balance. Consider these three tips to help establish it:

1. Pick the right people

Again, not every employee will immediately take to quiet hiring. Instead, introduce it to employees who show interest in expanding their role. And don’t assume what they want to do; ask about specific opportunities that excite them and see if those align with your business goals.

This might slow the pace of quiet hiring a bit, but don’t worry. After some employees see how it affects their peers, they may want to volunteer.

A big advantage is how quiet hiring can foster community. By selecting the right employees first, you can get a head start on building a healthy culture around the practice.

2. Practice transparency

Clarity is crucial. Be sure to meet regularly with employees you’ve quiet hired and prioritize their feedback. Schedule one-on-one meetings and conduct surveys through the right self-service HR tech to make this process easier.

It’s also key to give employees recognition for strong performance. Quiet hiring should not be used as a way to take advantage of employees. The concept is a step toward advancement — not exploitation.

Remember, quiet hiring is designed to benefit employees just as much as it helps businesses. If an exceptional worker has earned a raise or promotion, don’t keep it from them.

3. Champion professional development

Quiet hiring can be a catalyst for growth. If you’re using it, be sure to document employees’ progress. An easy-to-use performance management tool keeps development accessible and clear for everyone involved.

While quiet hiring might take time to strike the right chord with your people, most employees want to grow. In fact, 63% of employees told Monster they see quiet hiring as an opportunity to upskill. Even so, don’t let quiet hiring be a substitute for training. A versatile learning management experience helps develop employees seamlessly.

Got a grasp of quiet hiring? Read our quiet quitting guide to learn more about a related trend.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.