There has been a bit of a theme emerging in the world of work.
First it was the ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon that swept across the 2022 workplace landscape.
Hot on its heels came the trend for ‘quiet firing’ which emerged in response to workers quietly quitting.
And so, to the newest edition – ‘quiet hiring’.
The term has been coined by the leader of Gartner’s research team, Emily Rose McRae, who describes ‘quiet hiring’ as a way to address an immediate need for the company. The business could hire external contractors. Or, if money is tight, they might shuffle existing team members around to fill the short-term gap that has opened up.
The latter approach is, however, higher risk as uprooting people from their roles might just prompt them to begin quietly quitting! Add to that the danger of someone feeling their original role was not valued if it could be put on hold and you have a recipe for a host of unintended consequences further down the line.
The problem with having all of these ‘quiet’ approaches is that they are all being carried out, well, quietly!
Employees found themselves struggling to communicate their need for boundaries at work, and so began to quietly build them themselves. Employers were struggling with communicating with staff who they felt were underperforming, and so began to quietly push them away. And now we have companies who are trying to quietly repair skill gaps, which could result in more quiet quitting … which will, in turn, lead to more quiet firing.
It is a vicious, surreptitious cycle which could be avoided if employers and employees spoke up rather than clammed up about their mutual needs and expectations.
This means encouraging and supporting a dialogue between managers and their direct reports about their wellbeing needs, as well as managers knowing how to help employees they feel may be underperforming.
And when it comes to filling those short-term gaps, the best approach is to be open with your people about what the company needs to do – and how you plan to do it. Then sit back and listen to what they have to say, because a productive two-way dialogue is always better than the sound of silence.
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020