Updated: October 09, 2023

Quiet Hiring: Ultimate Guide for Employers

You’ve found our ultimate guide on quiet hiring.

Quiet hiring is a strategy companies use to increase efficiency and productivity without recruiting new talent. Examples of quiet hiring include assigning current employees new tasks or organizing training sessions outside their job description. The purpose of quiet hiring is to cut costs for new employees, increase productivity, and upskill existing staff.

Quiet hiring is a direct response to quiet quitting and is an employee retention strategy. This guide is similar to our other guides, including employee engagement strategies, leadership styles, and open-door policies.


This article includes:

  • what is quiet hiring?
  • what are the reasons for quiet hiring?
  • what are the benefits of quiet hiring?
  • what are examples of quiet hiring?
  • quiet hiring tips

Let’s get started!

What is quiet hiring?

Quiet hiring is a practice where companies enhance performance by leveraging the skills of existing employees. This trend has emerged as a solution to counter “quiet quitting,” which refers to employees who restrict their efforts to their job descriptions.

In response to the surge in layoffs and escalating recruitment costs, businesses are actively seeking cost-effective strategies to optimize efficiency. Quiet hiring is an approach that involves evaluating employee performance and assigning supplementary responsibilities. This practice works best for those who have extra time in addition to their existing job requirements. For example, a skilled marketer with expertise in social media management could be upskilled and assigned a new role. Should they excel, the company might consider promotions or salary increases. Similarly, for underperforming staff, tasks can be reallocated to colleagues displaying the aptitude to handle them.

The concept of quiet hiring taps into existing talent pools to boost productivity effectively. However, employee perspectives on this strategy are mixed, with some embracing it as a learning opportunity and others viewing it as potentially exploitative. For those seeking ethical incorporation of quiet hiring into their recruitment strategies, consider these invaluable insights and advice. To begin, it is crucial to understand the driving forces behind quiet hiring.

What are the reasons for quiet hiring?

Quiet hiring is becoming more popular, and for good reason. Companies are experiencing the effects of an economic downturn and a huge turnover rate. Quiet hiring is a business strategy that helps cut recruitment costs and replacement rates.

​Aside from countering quiet quitting, other reasons for quiet hiring include:

  • Challenging Economic Climate: When examining the practice of quiet hiring, it is essential to differentiate between large corporations and small businesses. Larger firms have substantial profits and might be accused of exploitation, whereas smaller businesses may be seen as simply striving to enhance output during an economic downturn. For smaller companies facing financial constraints, hiring new personnel might not be a viable option. In this context, the cost-cutting aspect of quiet hiring becomes a justifiable rationale.
  • Boosting Productivity: Smart employers recognize the direct correlation between increased productivity and profitability. Consequently, embracing quiet hiring as a strategic response to declining labor productivity aligns with sound business logic. For instance, if an employee resists putting in additional effort, it is practical for the company to delegate those tasks to a more efficient colleague, thereby elevating overall productivity.
  • Addressing Skill Gaps: When a company identifies critical skills essential to its success, training existing employees to fill those gaps immediately becomes a logical step. This approach minimizes expenses while ensuring a workforce has the required skills.
  • Mitigating Hiring Risks: Despite rigorous hiring processes, occasional errors in recruitment are inevitable. Employing the wrong candidate constitutes a substantial risk. Hence, the inclination toward quiet hiring comes from the established trust between employers and current staff. Existing employees have undergone vetting regarding qualifications, skills, and character. As a result, employers often prefer collaborating with individuals they already know and trust over potential hires who may lack competence.
  • Recruiting Cost-Effectively: Due to its cost-efficiency, many companies are adopting quiet hiring as a strategic recruitment methodology. This approach proves particularly advantageous in times of economic uncertainty and resource limitations.

Many companies are adopting quiet hiring since it is a cost-effective recruitment strategy.

What are the benefits of quiet hiring?

Suppose you are still determining whether quiet hiring is a smart or exploitative HR strategy. In that case, it might interest you to know that this process has several benefits for employers and employees. The benefits of quiet hiring include the following.

Benefits for Employers

1. Helps Meet Immediate Business Demands

Quiet hiring serves as a valuable tool for swiftly meeting urgent business demands. Companies prevent labor shortages that could negatively impact their operations by assigning new roles to existing employees. This proactive approach safeguards business performance from potential downturns.

2. Reduces Employee Turnover Rate

Employers benefit from reduced employee turnover rates by implementing quiet hiring strategies. By creating opportunities for upskilling among current employees, companies foster a sense of investment in skill enhancement. With the promise of potential raises or promotions, employees are more inclined to remain, leading to increased retention and heightened engagement.

Learn more about employee turnover.

3. Recognizes Top Performers

Companies leveraging quiet hiring have the advantage of identifying and appreciating top-performing employees. These exceptional individuals consistently exceed expectations, often taking on additional responsibilities to contribute to the company’s success. Employers can respond by acknowledging these contributions and encouraging enhanced efficiency through promotions or salary increases.

Here are more employee recognition program ideas.

4. Saves Costs and Time

Quiet hiring emerges as a cost-effective solution for employers. The conventional process of hiring new full-time employees involves substantial financial investments, from job postings to training to onboarding. Additionally, staffing shortages incur extra costs. Quiet hiring offers a resource-efficient alternative, conserving time and financial assets. Companies can navigate tough economic conditions more effectively by maximizing the existing workforce without expanding the payroll.

Here are more cost-saving ideas for companies.

5. Improves Work Output

Employers experience improved work output as a result of quiet hiring. By offering the possibility of promotions or pay raises, companies motivate their employees to enhance their performance. This encouragement leads to increased dedication and hard work among staff, ensuring they stand out as top candidates for future opportunities.

Here are more ways to improve employee productivity.

Benefits for Employees

1. Creates Room for Upskilling and Career Growth

Regardless of your current qualifications, embracing continuous learning is crucial. Quiet hiring presents a prime opportunity to acquire new and valuable skills, contributing to unique experiences. This process enriches your resume and fosters career advancement, even if you have no plans to leave your current job.

2. Enhances Your Resume

When your company adopts quiet hiring practices, it provides an excellent chance to bolster your resume while expanding your skill set. A well-crafted resume showcasing relevant skills sets you apart from other candidates when exploring new job prospects. Thus, your enhanced marketability significantly increases your likelihood of securing a role.

3. Teaches Adaptability

Adaptability is a crucial trait in any organization. Quiet hiring serves as a platform for employees to develop adaptability skills, especially during transitions into new roles. Employers highly value individuals who demonstrate flexibility in the face of change. An adaptable mindset facilitates seamless integration into new routines, reflecting strong analytical skills to handle novel responsibilities, assess situations, and leverage emerging technologies. These sought-after qualities establish you as an indispensable asset in any organization.

4. Provides Opportunities for Promotions and Perks

Contrary to common misconceptions, quiet hiring opens doors to promotions, salary increases, and additional benefits. Employers might offer perks like paid time off, vacations, flexible work hours, and medical coverage. These incentives serve as potent motivators, boosting employee engagement and efficiency.

What are examples of quiet hiring?

Identifying instances of quiet hiring within the workplace can sometimes prove challenging.

If you are uncertain about recognizing the signs of quiet hiring, then here are some examples:

  • Your employer begins assigning tasks and responsibilities that go beyond your designated job description.
  • The company tasks you with new duties, assuring you that a replacement will soon be hired, even though no official job posting has been made for the vacant position.
  • Your employer encourages you to partake in skill development programs or training workshops, presenting them as opportunities for career growth.
  • The company transfers you to a different department, citing that your “expertise” would greatly benefit that department.
  • You experience salary increases, bonuses, more flexible working hours, or even a promotion shortly after being entrusted with additional tasks and responsibilities.

These examples shed light on the manifestations of quiet hiring. Should you encounter one or more of these scenarios, it is likely that you are dealing with quiet hiring. At this juncture, your best course of action is to discuss this new role and its implications for your career. If the answers you receive do not align with your expectations, then you have the option to explore alternative job opportunities.

Quiet hiring tips for employers

Although most individuals see quiet hiring as an exploitative human resource strategy, it can be a win-win situation for employers and employees with proper execution. Here are some useful tips for employers looking for ethical ways to incorporate quiet hiring into their business processes.

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1. Provide a Comprehensive Hiring Plan

To ensure the success of the quiet hiring process, develop a thorough hiring plan that facilitates the selection of employees best suited for their expanded roles. You can prioritize candidates who exhibit the capacity to manage additional tasks beyond their job descriptions. Simultaneously, prevent any employees from feeling marginalized. Be sure to address those who might desire increased responsibilities but hesitate due to communication barriers. Preventing potential productivity drops or employee dissatisfaction is pivotal in upholding overall company performance.

2. Extend Benefits and Perks

You can motivate employees to embrace new responsibilities by offering tangible benefits. Financial rewards such as salary increases or one-time bonuses can prove to be compelling incentives. For temporary roles, consider one-time bonuses, and for roles involving extra tasks, provide paid time off as a practical and appreciative reward. Recognizing the potential strain from added duties, offering medical benefits conveys the company’s commitment to employee well-being.

Read more about employee incentive ideas.

3. Provide Robust Support

As existing employees undertake additional responsibilities, offering comprehensive support is essential for their success. This step involves investing in essential training programs, resources, and materials. Additionally, consider providing study materials, instructors, and guides to facilitate effective learning and alleviate the burden of independent training.

4. Engage in Transparent Communication with Employees

Mitigate the potential risks of quiet hiring through transparent communication with your workforce. Openly discuss the incorporation of this hiring strategy to foster trust and alleviate concerns regarding job security. Transparent dialogue also reinforces employees’ significance to the company, encouraging their willingness to accept new roles.

Here are more internal communication tips.

Quiet hiring tips for employees

Employees can also leverage quiet hiring for their benefit. Here are quiet hiring tips for employees willing to take up new roles and responsibilities.

1. Update Your Resume

You can make the most of the learning and skill-building opportunities that quiet hiring offers. Updating your resume with the knowledge and experience gained from the new role can help you in the future. These enhanced qualifications will elevate your resume and position you as a more desirable candidate. If you ever decide to explore other job opportunities, then your resume will set you apart from other applicants.

2. Negotiate Your Terms

If you find yourself taking on tasks beyond your usual job responsibilities due to quiet hiring, then it is only fair to negotiate the terms of your arrangement. For instance, ask for a raise in pay, bonuses, or additional perks that align with the increased workload. Recognizing the cost savings associated with quiet hiring, it is reasonable to seek appropriate compensation for your expanded role. Even in cases of limited resources, consider requesting extra support to ensure you can handle the added tasks while being fairly compensated.

3. Present Alternative Solutions

In situations where quiet hiring seems disadvantageous or falls beyond your capabilities, it is essential to strategize your response. While declining the offer remains an option, careful consideration is needed due to potential consequences. Before deciding, explore the possibility of proposing an alternative solution if you believe one exists. For example, you could recommend a colleague you believe is better suited for the role, showcasing your problem-solving approach when navigating delicate situations.

4. Seek Clarity About the New Role

If you suspect your company is implementing quiet hiring for your position, then seeking clear information about the new role is vital. Be sure to avoid committing to additional responsibilities without understanding the impact on your career and well-being. When presented with a new role opportunity, openly communicate with the HR manager to clarify its particulars. This step includes obtaining a comprehensive job description and understanding any task transitions from your current role. This proactive approach ensures you have a full picture of the new role’s demands, enabling informed decisions and effective negotiation of benefits if you accept the offer.


Challenging economic situations and an increase in turnover rate are having a massive effect on companies, hence the need for quiet hiring. At first, it is easy to view quiet hiring negatively. However, this business strategy effectively allows employers to keep their company afloat while minimizing costs and retaining top performers. This article provides valuable insights into this strategy and how employers and employees can benefit from it.

For more guides, check out our articles on the bare minimum Mondays trend, management vs. leadership, team building methods, and employee journey mapping.

FAQ: Quiet hiring

Here are frequently asked questions about quiet hiring.

What is quiet hiring?

Quiet hiring is when companies leverage limited talent by assigning more tasks to existing employees to avoid a drop in performance. This process involves outsourcing tasks from one department or employee to another. Additionally, companies may add new tasks to their team’s duties.

What are examples of quiet hiring?

Examples of quiet hiring include assigning employees more tasks outside their job description or transferring them to a new department. Another example is companies offering organized skill development programs for existing employees.

How do companies benefit from quiet hiring?

Companies benefit from quiet hiring because it is a cost-effective strategy that minimizes costs and preserves their bottom line while leveraging limited talents. Other benefits of quiet hiring for companies include increased productivity, better employee engagement, and fewer layoffs.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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