Quiet Hiring a workplace trend that can be good for employees

Imagine a Zoom screen with four video boxes: the employee, two vice presidents and a human resource officer.

“Your department is being eliminated,” announces the current vice president to the employee.

“You can either be part of the layoffs or move to my new department, “explains the other vice president.

“I can read you the severance terms,” the human resource officer states, “or explain your new promotion to a different group at our company.”

Thanks to “quiet hiring,” this real-life technology industry story has a happy ending.

Sometimes an employee is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time in an underperforming division of the company. How can a worker be positioned for the quiet hiring job pool?

In a February story, “How quiet hiring became the workplace trend of 2023,” CNBC explained how, by reassigning current employees to new positions in the company, the firm avoids growing the workforce. The stock market is rewarding companies who are downsizing their overall labor costs and shifting their focus to specific corporate goals.

Kayla Lebovitz, the CEO and founder of Bumble, describes quiet hiring as “the evolution of the workplace in a post-pandemic world.”

During the pandemic, many firms increased hiring to focus on new growth opportunities. Now three years since the pandemic, Fortune reports that tech layoffs in January 2023 already represent one-third of overall 2022 layoffs.

“Tech workers had their pick of jobs for years,” The Washington Post reports this January. “That era is over now.”

Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon announced double-digit layoffs. Even non-tech firms, like Dow chemical, 3M manufacturing, GE aerospace and Disney media and entertainment, are cutting workers.

In the Alphabet layoff announcement, CEO Sundar Pichai explained, “We hired for a different reality than we face today.”

To avoid being laid off, quiet hiring is when an existing employee is recognized as having the skills and attitude to move into another job within the company. Forbes reports this January that quiet hiring benefits the employers by identifying an efficient and cost-effective way to fill the job gaps without hiring additional workers.

With LinkedIn profiles, many employees include their managers and other work colleagues as connections. While reading posts, they are learning about each other’s backgrounds. These interactions have become under-the-radar networking chances between potential new managers and prospective new workers.

When a firm’s management team begins developing the layoff strategy across the company, Human Resources can use employees’ LinkedIn profiles to identify current workers who may be a good fit to move within the company to a higher priority area needing more resources.

If the new job includes greater responsibilities, this is a chance to negotiate a promotion with a new title and raise. This January, Forbes published, “How quiet hiring will shape the workplace” as a shift that can positively impact both employees and companies.

On the other hand, if an employee is laid off, now is the time to update their résumé and LinkedIn with quantifiable results and work responsibilities. Use consistent tone across all social media. This February, CNN Business suggests extending the job reach by adding the LinkedIn hashtag #openforwork.

The LinkedIn profile should include specific words that are common in job postings such as the job title, work duration and award recognition. Many employers use Artificial Intelligence (AI) key phrases that match openings.

Another option to consider when being laid off is to apply to graduate school. The worker can gain skills and build networking for future careers. At the start of the 2022 layoffs, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management was the first major master of business administration school to actively appeal to laid-off technology workers.

Kellogg has extended waiving its test requirements for the third-round of applications in January 2023. The test waiver includes the 2023 summer quarter for its evening and weekend MBA program.

Dictionary.com defines the term “silver lining” as a positive aspect to a negative situation. With the increases in job layoffs and potential recessionary economy, it is even more important to be prepared for career opportunities ahead. Updating your résumé and LinkedIn to reflect your current and past experiences should reflect workplace trends.

Quiet hiring has become a new mindset. Actively networking your skills and accomplishments could make you a more viable candidate both within your company and to outside firms. When asked to step up, look at it as a quiet hiring opportunity.

(Margo Bartsch founded College Essay Coach, a full-service college admission business, and has been an adjunct professor in business at Champlain College and at Middlebury College.)