What is “Quiet Hiring” and How are Employers Using it to Better Manage their Workforce?

August 28, 2023

“Quiet quitting” became a buzz phrase last year to describe those employees who hate their jobs, but instead of looking around for an alternative they stay put, doing the bare minimum and basically checking out on all the rest.

The buzz phrase making the rounds in human resource circles this year is “quiet hiring.” Rather than recruit new workers to fill all their vacant positions, companies are getting creative when it comes to maximizing their existing labor pool.

What could this mean for your job in respiratory care? A quick look at the different types of quiet hiring offers some insight.

  • Training existing employees for new roles: In the respiratory care setting, this would basically mean finding promising employees in other hospital departments who managers believe have the potential to be trained as RTs. You can see this playing out in hospitals that offer to pay tuition costs for staff members who agree to come back to work for the hospital as an RT after graduation.
  • Using contract companies to fill gaps in staffing: This is nothing new in respiratory care. Departments have been using travelers and other temporary staffing strategies for decades. But it is another form of what people are now calling quiet hiring.
  • Readjusting current staff assignments: Let’s say a department has four clinical supervisors but what it really needs is additional RTs on the night shift. It could create four part-time clinical supervisor roles and have those staff members work the night shift to fill out their hours.
  • Assigning more work to existing staff: This is also nothing new, but definitely another way departments are managing their workforce. The idea is to identify those staff members with time on their hands and give them additional responsibilities to fill it. 
  • Combining existing positions into new and more efficient ones: In this scenario, managers might examine roles within the department to see which ones could be reconfigured in order to maximize productivity, such eliminating the educator position and reassigning those tasks to an existing clinical supervisor or assistant manager. That frees up the former educator to take on another role that managers may believe is more pressing.

Is quiet hiring good or bad for staff members? That really depends. If you are the assistant manager who has just been informed you must now take on clinical shifts, you might not be happy with the situation.

But if you are the staff therapist who has been given the opportunity to assume some of the functions of a clinical supervisor (with the promise that the department is grooming you for a full time clinical supervisor role when the time is right), you might see it as beneficial to your career goals.

Regardless, it’s a strategy worth keeping an eye on, especially in a profession like respiratory care where manpower shortages are common and managers have to think outside the box to make sure patients receive the care they need.

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