Where Do Freelancers Fit into Gartner’s Quiet Hiring Prediction?

Top of the list in Gartner’s 2023 future of work trends is the term ‘Quiet Hiring’. 

What do you need to know about this buzzword, and what does it mean for freelancers?

What Exactly is Quiet Hiring?

You couldn’t scroll three inches on LinkedIn in 2022 without seeing the words Quiet Quitting. This was a response to low morale from employees, who were feeling lackluster due to salary increase freezes, heavy rounds of layoffs, and let’s face it — post pandemic blues. 

To signal dissatisfaction with the workplace, the New York Times describes quiet quitting as “quitting the idea of going above and beyond”, and almost overnight, doing the bare minimum became a viral act. 

Gartner, always lovers of the wordplay, has encouraged HR leaders to use 2023 to turn the practice of quiet quitting on its head. “When employees “quiet quit,” organizations keep people but lose skills and capabilities. In 2023 [HR leaders will use] “quiet hiring” in order to acquire new skills and capabilities without adding new full-time employees.”

Quiet hiring is a perfect idea for talent-strapped organizations to leverage during a hiring freeze, where many businesses are banned from onboarding more full-time employees. Gartner suggests that quiet hiring will manifest in three ways for today’s businesses: 

  1. Internal talent mobility: Promoting existing employees who are ready for new challenges into more senior roles. 
  2. Upskilling opportunities: Offering more professional development, to allow existing talent to learn new and in-demand skills and fill organizational gaps. 
  3. Non-traditional workers: Leveraging gig workers and independent contractors, to add talent without adding to headcount.

Getting the Quiet Hiring Balance Right is Key

When considered and deployed intelligently, quiet hiring can be great for both the organization and its employees. After all, one of the reasons for quiet quitting was that staff didn’t feel like they were being appreciated or growing in their current roles. If organizations can offer staff upskilling opportunities, promotions, and professional development — morale is sure to take a leap. 

However, businesses should be careful that employees don’t feel put upon or overworked. Giving staff more responsibilities, or expecting them to complete additional training courses without offering something in return will quickly lead to discontent and frustration. In some cases, employees will be satisfied by compensation packages, added flexibility, or the professional accreditation or certification itself. However in some cases, you’ll be asking for too much. 

When you realize that you don’t have the internal talent to promote or leverage elsewhere, and that the right opportunities aren’t in place for upskilling or internal mobility — this is where you have the perfect gap for Gartner’s third manifestation of quiet hiring; freelancers. 

Why Are Freelancers the Perfect Solution for Quiet Hiring?

From an organizational perspective, leaning on freelance talent allows you to take advantage of a very large loophole during hiring freezes. But Gartner encourages companies to consider non-traditional talent and other quiet hiring techniques as a long term solution, not a short term stop gap. Freelancers can: 

  • Provide a new pool of talent: There are approximately 73 million freelancers in the U.S alone, most of whom wouldn’t apply for traditional full-time roles. Access to this talent demands a change in hiring strategy. 
  • Fill skills gaps: Tech-related freelance jobs dominate the market, often filled by ex-employees who have suffered layoffs during the economic downturn, with vast experience in a specific field.
  • Meet a specific need: FTE just aren’t always needed. Freelancers can join your company for a specific project or purpose, without the need to consider what role they will play once that task is complete. 
  • Add expertise: Freelancers work across multiple clients in the same field, and are deeply skilled in their area of knowledge. Leveraging freelance talent gets you that expertise to augment your team. 

What Should Businesses Consider When Hiring Freelance Talent?

If freelancers are a new strategy for you, or you’ve only ever leaned on non-traditional workers in an ad-hoc way — there’s never been a better time to start taking it seriously. We’re not going to lie to you, there can be a bit of a learning curve! 

1. Sourcing

Start by considering how you’re going to source freelance talent, which can vary from freelancer marketplaces and social media networks, to good old word of mouth. The hiring process is much quicker than with onboarding employees, but make sure not to skip vital steps such as signing a contract, getting the right tax documentation, and doing your due diligence in terms of compliance. If a freelancer only works for your company for example, or if you define details such as their hours of work, where they work, or their compensation — you could be in danger of misclassification. 

How Fiverr Enterprise Can Help: We create automated onboarding workflows that include everything needed to compliantly start working with a new freelancer. This includes collecting documentation, getting e-signatures, providing system access, and more. 

2. Management

Once onboarded, freelancers will need a different approach in terms of management. They will work on specific projects and each have their milestones to meet. They may choose not to attend the weekly team meeting, which means you need set processes for communication. You could finish working on one project and have weeks or months before you pick up another, and you’ll also want a way to share skills across the business — as while a freelancer isn’t working for your department, they may be able to help out another. 

How Fiverr Enterprise Can Help: A freelancer management system provides a single platform to track and monitor workload, milestones, and communication with your independent contractors. A centralized talent directory for your company means anyone, from any department, can see at a glance what freelancers the business has relationships with, their skills, and their availability. 

3. Payments

Finally, when pay day rolls around, freelancers won’t be handled by the monthly payroll. Businesses need to consider that non-employees may have their own expectations around freelance payments, such as how they get paid (by milestones, by month, by hour, or in pre-defined amounts), or the currency and method of payment. If you work with one or two freelancers, this can be managed ad-hoc. However, if you’re going to make this kind of quiet hiring part of your wider business strategy — you’ll need a plan. 

How Fiverr Enterprise Can Help: Pay Fiverr Enterprise once, with the budget you have for freelance talent over a specific period, and Fiverr Enterprise takes care of paying each and every one of your freelancers, according to their own requests. Freelance payments happen behind the scenes — all you need to do is click approve.

Experimenting with quiet hiring in 2023 and want to see if managing freelancers can possibly be this easy? 

Written by
Fiverr Enterprise