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Navigating Quiet Hiring

Inflation is up and the economy is dragging. An ongoing talent shortage has left many companies grasping for straws, with too few quality prospects in the candidate pool and little leeway to cover new payroll commitments. Let’s face it: Employers are up against it. But they’re hardly out of options. One trend experts expect to see flourish in 2023 is the practice of quiet hiring – when companies acquire new skills without hiring permanent full-time employees.

Although this can describe retraining and moving existing employees to new positions, quiet hiring also includes bringing aboard independent contractors to fill short-term, temporary roles. If you aren’t already taking advantage of contingent labor to meet these needs, consider a few reasons why you should.

Advantages of Quiet Hiring Contractors

Corporate skills acquisition doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. If a company isn’t in a position to hire more permanent employees to meet business demand – or simply finds other options more prudent – it doesn’t have to choose exclusively between reassigning current employees or hiring part-time or temporary contractors. Why not both?

In any case, an organization should have a well-considered and consistently reviewed strategy that evaluates labor as a whole, but also develop an action plan for each segment of a workforce to optimize all available assets. Permanent hires and employee reassignment should never be ruled out altogether, but here’s why independent contractors are often a company’s best bet:

  1. Payroll flexibility and overall cost savings. Contractors are intended to be hired on a temporary basis, for a finite (and often short) term of employment. This allows companies to access specialized labor for completing seasonal tasks or ad hoc projects without committing to long-term salary or the typical overhead (unemployment insurance, pensions, etc.) associated with permanent employees. Contingent labor represents an affordable, always-available talent stream that organizations can turn on and off as needed.
  2. Answering an immediate need. Retraining employees takes time that companies often can’t afford to waste. Independent contractors are often hired for tasks specific to their skill set, which makes for out-of-the-box readiness. Even permanent employees tend to be slower to onboard than contractors, who are conditioned over time to hit the ground running at any new gig.
  3. Expanding the talent pool. The labor shortage is only part of the difficulty for companies seeking to acquire new skills. The growing popularity of contracting means more talent may be gravitating away from permanent work. Any organization that doesn’t remain open to hiring independent contractors limits its access to specialized expertise. Leave no stone unturned in your talent search.

Best Practices for Hiring Contractors

When developing your independent contractor strategy, start by identifying any task-specific demands that are beyond the expertise of your current permanent staff. This could be, say, a digital transformation or tax audit for a company that specializes in neither services. Often, staffing for these fixed-term, specialized projects calls for contractor help.

Next, weigh the short- and mid-term needs of your organization or department, and consider what portion of that workflow can and should be fulfilled by your permanent labor force. Are there seasonal or cyclical – but somewhat regular – fluctuations in your company’s production demands? Or perhaps the ebb and flow of business is beyond predictability. An in-house network that can be tapped to access trusted seasonal or on-retainer contingent laborers can help. A hiring manager may even set up recurring annual or periodic terms to lock in the best contractors.

But for unanticipated business demands, many companies greatly benefit from working with a third-party talent cloud. PeopleCaddie can not only connect your organization with high-quality contractors who have the specialized expertise you seek, but also handle the administrative duties tied to those workers and help you build and maintain a viable independent contractor strategy that flexes with your business.

Get started and reach out to a PeopleCaddie representative to discuss your contingent labor needs today.

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