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What does the term 'quiet hiring' mean? These Toronto experts explain

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Months after the phrase ‘quiet quitting’ began to circulate social media, kick-starting a frenzied discussion about workplace boundaries and expectations, other similar buzzwords have started popping up.

First came quiet firing, in which an employer makes a work environment unsustainable so that a worker quits instead of the company fulfilling its termination process.

Now, the concept of “quiet hiring” is starting to become more pervasive. But what does it mean?

Similarly to the first two buzzwords, quiet hiring is not new, according to Toronto experts.

“It really only means that the organization is looking internally to find people it wants to promote,” Janet Candido, founder of Toronto-based HR firm Candido Consulting Group, said in an interview. “They're assessing their workforce and what they're looking for are employees who seem to be working not just working harder, but they're taking on job responsibilities that are beyond the scope of their own job.”

“So effectively, they've started already working on the job they want to be promoted to before the promotion.”

In these cases, employers are not promoting new positions and therefore reduce the chances of other workers feeling disgruntled when they don’t get the job, Candido added.

“They're recognizing that the person is already doing more than they were simply hired for.”


Nita Chhinzer, associate professor in the department of management at the University of Guelph, says the nature of the modern workforce is constantly changing. There is an expectation that a worker will take on tasks that may not specifically be outlined within a job description. Most businesses no longer include a specific list of tasks within job descriptions as a result. Lines such as “other duties as needed” can also be used to indicate the employee may be asked to perform roles outside of their expected scope.

However, Chhinzer adds that quiet hiring comes with its own risks. For example, there may be informal expectations that are never set by an employer, leading an employee to take on more responsibilities without the rewards.

“All employees are hoping for some form of incentive or reward, and the incentive or reward is often a pay bump or a raise, but it should happen simultaneously,” she told CTV News Toronto.

“Technically, if we're going to modify someone's job a lot, we should actually give them a new employment contract. But the truth is, in practice, jobs are fluid.”

Both Chhinzer and Candido said that a labour shortage provides employees with more leverage when it comes to having those discussions with their managers. It also could encourage companies to promote from within in order to retain the talent they have.

Employers are getting “a little bit more spooked,” Candido said.

“They might be losing employees without really realizing it. So they want to make sure they're paying attention and taking care of the people who are demonstrating more of a willingness to stay with the company and really work hard.”

The key to making quiet hiring work is communication. If a company is not transparent with their intentions, Candido says an employee may feel like they are being taken advantage of.

In these instances, it may be up to the employee to reach out and ask to be recognized for their efforts.

Chhinzer adds that employees should evaluate their capacity to add new responsibilities to their portfolio and not be afraid to ask that other tasks be removed.

“It's a desirable thing to have our jobs evolve. I think the challenge comes when new things are added without old things being taken off.” Top Stories

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