‘Quiet hiring’ is a term I first came across in an article about Google. It highlighted how the tech giant is largely a meritocracy, constantly encouraging their employees to go above and beyond, and rewarding those who do.
It has become known for promoting those who show they can handle a higher-level workload before they’re in the role, thus nurturing a culture of hard-working, high-achieving individuals who are motivated to do their best.
So essentially, quiet hiring is when an employee’s hard work is acknowledged, and management is quietly keeping them in mind for a promotion down the line. It’s a subtle thing, but it may be the perfect antidote to quiet quitting.
How can quiet hiring counteract quiet quitting?
While we are still in the candidate-short market, employers are constantly talking about how hard it is to find good talent. Often the best talent is already working for you, but they may have been overlooked as employers look externally to win the talent war.
By applying the principles of quiet hiring, you may find you’re sitting on a gold mine. Your employees who are still with you following the trials of the last few years, the transition to working from home and then back to the office, they’re likely the ones who espouse your cultural values. They have been with you through it all, they know what you’re all about, they have seen the approach that you have taken to navigate through COVID, and they’re still here.
So how do you ‘quiet hire’ in your business?
There are two core components to successful quiet hiring: understanding your culture, and appreciating and rewarding those who live up to it, across both behaviour and performance.
So, let’s talk about culture first. The first step is always to ensure you have a deep understanding of your culture and the types of people who thrive in it. How are you driving performance amongst these best-fit employees? How are you demonstrating a meritocracy, where performing above and beyond and thinking outside the square are recognised?
Appreciation usually comes before reward and is often just as important. Quiet quitters often feel unnoticed and unacknowledged, and it’s not always about monetary reward.
Monetary rewards are often tied to achieving a positive result, whereas appreciation recognises positive behaviours like hard work, commitment and effort. This distinction is especially important when employees have been working hard on a project that doesn’t come to fruition due to forces outside their control, such as an internal direction change. You still want to encourage these behaviours, and the employee still deserves acknowledgement of their performance.
It also comes down to human nature. If you love your job and you are acknowledged and appreciated for what you do, that plays a significant part in your job satisfaction.
From simply thanking employees to increasing task ownership, through to financial reward and promotion, a layered approach will make people feel valued in your organisation.
Quiet hiring can be your competitive advantage
In a tough recruitment landscape, quiet hiring can be your secret weapon, enabling you to retain top performers and grow from within – with talent no-one else knows about, because they are happily working for you.
It can also avoid inflated salaries, which we can see has become a problem for several companies that are now downsizing. The pressure to pay top salary ranges to secure talent in a candidate-short environment is increasing, but what will that look like if the economy stalls? It’s a risk most businesses can’t afford right now, and it’s an unnecessary one if you’ve got great employees who are just waiting for acknowledgement, recognition and reward.
By doing quiet hiring, you’re not only saving costs, but you’re also reinforcing your commitment to your employees and strengthening your company culture. You may even be able demonstrate to any “quiet quitters” the acknowledgement and recognition that they are after!