All Quiet on The Skills Front: “Quiet Quitting” and “Quiet Hiring” – What They Mean and What You Can Do About Them

Andy Andrews


“At least half of the U.S. workforce is quiet quitting” – Gallup

“One in three UK workers label themselves as quiet quitters” – The HR Director

“More than half of HR professionals are concerned about … quiet quitting” – SHRM

It’s possible that you haven’t heard the phrase “quiet quitting” but as you will note from the above headlines if you are working in an HR, Talent Management or indeed most corporate environments, it’s unlikely that you haven’t. What does quiet quitting mean and what can organisations do about the loss of capability that it potentially results? What does “quiet hiring” mean and how can it be used to reduce quiet quitting? This blog considers these questions and the role of skills has to play in each case.

Quiet quitting – what it is and its impact

Quiet quitting commonly refers to the practice in which employees stop making any effort to go above and beyond what is required of them in their job description. In effect, employees still fulfil their core job responsibilities – it’s quiet in the sense that they are not actually walking away from the job – but they have set boundaries and they are not interested in doing any work for which they are not being compensated.

In fairness, from the perspective of quiet quitters, the flip side of this description of quiet quitting, is that they are simply setting boundaries in aid of enjoying a better work/life balance or as a result of burnout.

What is the cause of quiet quitting? The Gallup poll cited above relates this phenomenon to “clarity of expectations, opportunities to learn and grow, feeling cared about, and a connection to the organization’s mission or purpose — signalling a growing disconnect between employees and their employers.”

In other words, this is often seen as a last resort for employees who feel frustrated or undervalued in their current role. It can often be a sign of poor management and a lack of communication. In the past few years, we have spoken and written a great deal about “employee engagement”, quiet quitting is clearly related to a lack thereof.

So, what is the business impact of quiet quitting? Just as literal quitting leads to potential and undesired loss of skills and capabilities, quiet quitting may have the same effect, moreover, it can be infectious and have an impact on the morale and culture of the organisation.

How to address quiet quitting and the role of skills-building

Encourage managers to engage with their team members on a regular basis. This can often be done through 1:1’s, include discussion regarding:

  • Their current job role and how it provides value to the team/organisational mission
  • Their unique skills and the opportunity to share their experience with others in the team
  • Their career development aspirations and which skills they can develop to reach them
  • Their personal development plans and the progress they are making with their development goals

Lexonis TalentScape is one of many software tools available to help managers to engage employees and have meaningful discussions that can help employees to see their “opportunities to learn and grow, feeling cared about, and a connection to the organisation’s mission or purpose.”

In addition, its vital to train managers on how to coach their employees using best practice coaching tips, the Lexonis software platform along with skills libraries such as the IBM Talent Frameworks library facilitate such an approach.

Quiet hiring – what it is and how to use it well

Quiet hiring commonly refers to the approach of looking for employees within the organisation to fulfil a new role or new responsibilities. It will very often involve opportunities to upskill employees who are already performing well and it recognises their performance and scope for improvement.

The benefits of quiet hiring to the organisation are that this approach saves time and money on recruitment, and it often results in hiring candidates who are already known to be a good fit for the company culture. For individual employees, the benefit of quiet hiring is that it generates greater opportunity for growth and development, career-building and recognition of their skills and competencies. In some ways you can consider quiet hiring as the opposite of quiet quitting. In fact, done well, quiet hiring can reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting.

However, in some quarters quiet hiring is perceived as having potential downsides and it would be remiss not to state what these are. For instance, some employees have claimed that it is just a means for managers to add responsibilities without paying due compensation to the employee, that it can result in a lack of diversity in the workforce and that it can lead to favouritism.

Organisations can support quiet hiring for all the right reasons by adopting a skills-based approach that involves assessing employees’ skills and competencies, recognising their strengths through inventories and objective expert tracking tools, identifying areas for improvement in individual employees’ skills, and planning their career development prospects.


Quiet hiring and quiet quitting can pose challenges for organisations, but a skills-based approach can help mitigate these issues. By helping managers to engage employees, helping them to focus on the skills, capabilities and opportunities for career development, organisations can build a strong and motivated workforce that is committed to their success.

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