Organizations are facing challenges in attracting and retaining talent, especially due to the current economic uncertainty. Rather than spending extensively on hiring full-time employees, companies are turning their attention inward. This, however, doesn’t mean exploiting existing employees to fill in for the lack of resources but rather finding ways to acquire new skills and capabilities without hiring new people. This process is commonly referred to as quiet hiring. In the last few years, this concept has gained popularity among employers.
While this may appear to be a recent trend, many Indian organizations have actually been using this approach for a while. RP Yadav, chairman and MD of an HR consulting firm, acknowledged in an interview with Moneycontrol that many Indian companies have been practicing quiet hiring under the guise of restructuring. According to his firm’s observations, 15 to 20% of the workforce in medium- and large-scale companies is now filled through quiet hiring.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What is Quiet Hiring?
- How is Quiet Hiring Different From Traditional Recruitment Practices?
- What are the Reasons Behind Its Growing Popularity in India?
- What are Its Benefits and Challenges for Employers and Employees?
- How Can Organizations Implement a Quiet Hiring Strategy Effectively?
- Give your Career the Edge It Needs With Emeritus
What is Quiet Hiring?
Quiet hiring, also known as silent recruiting, is one of the recruitment strategies where a company acquires and develops new skills without hiring new talents. This opens doors to boosting the career paths of the company’s existing employees by expanding their skill sets. For instance, an organization might require four business managers to meet their targets for the year. Instead of initiating a job search with the help of the human resources department, companies decide to move four people from another department and train them for the job of a business manager. This is how quiet hiring works.
There are two types of quiet hiring—internal and external. In internal quiet hiring, existing employees who have performed well for a long time are given additional roles and responsibilities. It comes with perks, such as bonuses, raises, or promotions. Meanwhile, external quiet hiring refers to hiring independent contractors, consultants, freelancers, and gig workers for in-demand tasks or responsibilities.
How is Quiet Hiring Different From Traditional Recruitment Practices?
This is a discreet recruitment strategy. It aims to retain the existing employees by providing them with career growth opportunities. This makes silent hiring different from traditional recruitment practices, which prioritize external talent over existing employees. Moreover, silent recruitment is comparatively more cost-effective than traditional recruitment practices. It consequently reduces the expenses associated with external recruitment, such as advertising and hiring fees.
What are the Reasons Behind Its Growing Popularity in India?
Hiring trends in India have shifted dramatically in recent years, and one of the significant trends that has emerged is quiet hiring. Companies are turning to this approach due to various factors. Here are some reasons for the growing popularity of these kinds of hiring trends in India.
1. Bridging the Skill Gap
India is facing a shortage of skilled workers. According to a Times of India report, 75% of the companies in the tech industry are facing a shortage of skilled workers. In response to this dearth of talent in various sectors, companies are turning to quiet hiring to fill critical job positions. This discreet recruitment approach helps companies find the right candidate from their internal workforce. Moreover, it helps organizations reduce their recruitment costs, retain high-performing employees, and maximize productivity.
2. Lowers the Risk of Hiring
Quiet hiring has become a popular hiring trend in India and worldwide because it mitigates the risks associated with traditional hiring processes. Despite having established procedures, the traditional hiring process is time-consuming, resource-intensive, and often results in challenges in selecting the ideal candidate, adding stress to the hiring process.
Quiet hiring, on the other hand, eliminates the need to scrutinize external candidates by leveraging the trust established in current employees. Moreover, this discreet recruitment approach offers companies the added advantage of working with familiar talent, thereby reducing the risks of incompetence that traditional hiring may present.
3. Economic Uncertainties
Most companies today have operations across multiple geographies. This interconnectedness ensures that an occurrence in one part of the world affects stakeholders across the globe. The pandemic, followed by other geopolitical occurrences, has affected Indian companies with international operations. As a result, Indian companies are looking to keep their costs down for a healthy bottom line. Therefore, with quiet hiring, companies can seek a cost-effective approach to hiring, as it helps companies develop new skills without hiring new talent.
What are Its Benefits and Challenges for Employers and Employees?
Here’s how silent hiring benefits employers:
- Critical positions can be filled quicker
- Quiet hiring improves employee retention within an organization
- Companies provide companies with an alternate approach to sourcing talent as needed
It saves time, money, and resources
Here are the challenges companies practicing this kind of hiring face:
- Existing employees might perceive silent hiring as favoritism or as an unfair advantage toward specific individuals
- While quiet hiring aims to fill vacant roles with existing employees, there’s a high risk of selecting individuals whose skills or experience may not align with the new roles
- Employees may be resistant to taking on new roles or responsibilities
- It’s hard to measure the effectiveness and impact of this sort of hiring on employee development and retention
Now let’s take a look at how quiet hiring can benefit employees:
- Offers opportunities to learn more skills and gain more experience
- Increases opportunities for incentives, such as extra pay or bonus
- Gain the opportunity to gain more experience in their roles, making them more valuable assets to their organizations
On the other hand, the challenges that they face cannot be discounted. Here are a few that employees face:
- Quiet hiring may not be uniformly applied across the organization, leading to unequal opportunities for employees
- Employees may not receive adequate training or support to transition into new roles
- Quiet hiring may require existing employees to take on additional responsibilities or roles, potentially leading to burnout
How Can Organizations Implement Quiet Hiring Strategies Effectively?
1. Choose the Right Candidate
Companies such as Google implemented quiet hiring strategies within organizations only after they realized that their employees could do better. Therefore, companies that want to implement quiet hiring strategies effectively must make sure that their employees are capable of taking more responsibility.
2. Proper Communication
Companies need to have proper and transparent communication to implement a silent recruitment strategy successfully. That’s because if the company fails to communicate with the employee properly, it might look like the company is trying to add more responsibilities to the employee’s current workload. Therefore, companies need a proper and transparent communication culture to implement this discreet hiring strategy.
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