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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Hiring Freeze

Hiring freeze is a strategic decision made by an organization to halt the hiring of a new candidate/employee temporarily. The primary purpose of hiring freeze is to control expenses and manage the organization's budget more effectively.

What is a hiring freeze?

A hiring freeze is a temporary restriction on the recruitment process and hiring of any employee within an organization. During that time, the organization refrains from filling the vacant positions or initiating new recruitment processes. Hiring freeze may be implemented to address the restructuring, reorganization, or various evolutions in business priorities. In such a case, the freeze allows the organization to evaluate the workforce's needs, reallocate resources, or reposition strategies.

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What to do during the hiring freeze?

Some actions that can be taken during the hiring freeze are as follows:

  1. Access various needs of the workforce in the organization
  2. Distribute the workforce equally
  3. Improve internal mobility
  4. Optimize processes and systems
  5. Foster cross-functional collaboration

1. Access various needs of the workforce in the organization: Hiring freeze can be used as an opportunity to assess the multiple needs of the organization and evaluate the existing staff structure by identifying any areas of redundancy, inefficiency, or skill gaps that can be addressed through internal reallocation improvements.

2. Distribute the workforce equally: By evaluating the workforce, distribute the workforce among the employees and consider redistribution to ensure an equitable workload and avoid burnout. Prioritize essential tasks and projects, even collaborate with a team to streamline workflows.

3. Improve internal mobility: Encourage internal mobility and development opportunities for existing employees. Provide training, mentorship, and resources to help employees expand their skills and take organizational responsibility.

4. Optimize processes and systems: Use the hiring freeze period to determine and streamline inefficiencies, automate tasks where possible, and invest in technologies or tools to improve productivity and operation efficiency.

5. Foster cross-functional collaboration: Encourage cross-functional collaborations and knowledge sharing among different departments to enhance effectiveness,  improve innovations, and create a supportive work culture.

What is the purpose of hiring freeze?

The primary purposes of implementing hiring freeze are as follows:

  1. Effective cost control
  2. Economic uncertainty
  3. Budget management
  4. Evaluation of workforce needs
  5. Restructuring organization

1. Effective cost control: a hiring freeze allows organizations to control costs and allocate resources effectively; by limiting new hires, organizations can reduce expenses related to salaries, benefits, onboarding, training, and recruitment.

2. Economic uncertainty: During economic uncertainty, financial instability, or market volatility, organizations may apply a hiring freeze as a proactive measure. It allows organizations to identify delays and mitigate potential risks aligned with market conditions.

3. Budget management: Organizations may implement a hiring freeze as a solution to budget constraints or financial challenges; by temporarily freezing hiring, organizations can adjust their spending to align with available resources and maintain financial stability.

4. Evaluation of workforce needs: Implementing a hiring freeze gives the organization flexibility to evaluate their current workforce and assess staffing needs more effectively and adequately. It provides an opportunity to determine the areas of redundancy, inefficiencies, or skill gaps that can be addressed through internal reallocation or better initiatives.

 5. Restructuring organization: Hiring freeze can be applied during organizational restructuring, acquisitions, or realignment as it leverages the organizations with an opportunity to assess the workforce needs, redefine roles and responsibilities or reposition the employees before making new decisions for hiring.

What is a soft hiring freeze?

A soft hiring freeze is a situation where an organization implements restrictions or guidelines on hiring new employees but allows for exceptions under certain circumstances; unlike hiring freeze where all hiring activities are completely put on hold, a soft hiring freeze provides some flexibility for critical positions to be filled.

The organization imposes tighter controls on new hires' recruitment and approval process. The objective is to exercise caution and reduce hiring unless there is a compelling business need or the position is deemed critical for the organization's operations.

Does hiring freeze mean layoffs on Reddit?

A hiring freeze does not mean layoffs, as hiring freeze restricts or suspends the recruitment and hiring of new employees. It does not directly imply job cuts or layoffs.

Does the hiring freeze affect internships?

Here are a few scenarios in the hiring freeze affect internships:

  1. No impact internships
  2. Reduced internship opportunities
  3. Suspension or cancellation of internships

1. No impact internships: Internships may be exempted from the hiring freeze, and organizations may view internships as valuable opportunities for skill development, talent pipeline building, and knowledge transfer. Here, they may continue to offer internships even during hiring freezes.

2. Reduced internship opportunities: During the hiring freeze, organizations may reduce the number of internship opportunities available or limit the intake of new interns. This can happen if the organization focuses on cost control and resource allocation.

3. Suspension or cancellation of internships: In more severe cases of prolonged hiring freezes, organizations may suspend or cancel their internship programs altogether. This decision may be boosted by financial constraints or the need to prioritize other operational requirements within the organization.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

Hiring freeze vs. layoff: Differentiation?

A hiring freeze refers to a temporary restriction or suspension placed on recruiting and hiring new employees. The purpose of a hiring freeze is primarily to control or reduce expenses and manage resources more efficiently during a specific period. A hiring freeze does not directly impact current employees' job security or result in job losses.

Whereas layoff refers to an organization's termination of employment for a group of employees, it involves permanently eliminating positions due to cost-cutting, restructuring or downsizing. A layoff aims to reduce workforce size, cut costs, or realign the organization's structure. Layoffs directly impact the job security of affected employees, resulting in the termination of employment.

How long does the hiring freeze last?

The duration of hiring freeze can be influenced by factor such as:

  1. Economic conditions
  2. Business needs
  3. Company finances
  4. External factors

1. Economic conditions: The overall economic situation can impact the length of a hiring freeze and if the economy improves, a company may lift the freeze sooner.

2. Business needs: The duration of a hiring freeze may depend on a crucial aspect of hiring and whether the company can function effectively with the current workforce.

3. Company finances: If a company’s financial situation improves and decides to end a hiring freeze.

4. External factors: Events like change in regulations, shifts in industry, or pandemic impacts can also affect the duration of a hiring freeze.

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