It’s 2023, and there’s a slew of important HR areas in which to keep your finger on the pulse. Many of the areas we’ll cover in this article are reminiscent of paths you might have heard of in the latter half of 2022, but it’s important to realize the trajectory of those topics as we enter the new year.
More and more businesses are remapping their priorities to focus attention on retaining employees by seeking to understand what they need and want out of a job. Improving employee satisfaction and increasing productivity is a symbiotic relationship that business leaders and HR need to be acutely aware of.
In a survey of 800 HR leaders, Gartner identified the top five priorities for human resources in 2023. These priorities connect to the big trends for HR in a number of ways. Let’s explore a few of the essential HR elements that go into preparing for adapting to business trends in the coming year.
Increased Transparency in Communication
According to the Gartner survey, leader and manager effectiveness is the number one priority of HR. Forty-three percent of respondents don’t have a strategy that accounts for the future of work, and 24% are not prepared for the future due to an insufficient leadership development approach. As the world of work changes, transparent communication is a huge part of leadership effectiveness.
It’s clear that the future of work involves remote arrangements, and more people are working remotely than ever in 2023. COVID-19 damaged social structures in many ways. More workers went remote to stave off exposure to the virus, and many workplaces began to embrace remote office work as a result.
While there were upticks of satisfaction in workers who had the privilege to work remotely, there were setbacks as well. Distant communication repelled certain social cues that many employees and employers rely on to intuit the severity and timeliness of certain projects. What might have been moderate disgruntlement couldn’t be effectively acknowledged through physical interaction because the boundaries that come with digital communication do not lend themselves to that.
In a nutshell, communication became more challenging for many. This was a big pain point for business leaders and employees. Now that society is entering back into the normal flow of things, with many remote workers returning to their physical offices, HR reps need to maintain steady awareness of how leaders and employees are interacting.
Investing in Employees by Building Them up in Their Career
Change management is the number two concern for HR leaders, with 53% focusing on it. However, 44% of HR leaders don’t think their organization provides a compelling career path. Uptraining your employees and facilitating skill acquisition is a big part of change management and career satisfaction. It’s important to invest in employees who have proven their worth to you and show them you care by equipping them to face the storm of new demands on the horizon.
Developing new skills can create growth opportunities for employees to improve themselves while also adding value to the company.
HR personnel need to recognize that it's a proportional give and take. If an employee is devoted enough to stay with your company, they are expressing their loyalty to you. They are choosing to remain with you in the hopes that you will reward them in time. Now, one option to address new skills needs is to hire new talent, or you could demonstrate your gratitude to your loyal employees by upskilling them to face the task you need to be accomplished. You’ll earn their retention and their respect for doing so.
Investing in Wellness
Employee experience is the third highest priority for HR, with 47% focusing on it, and employees’ wellness is integral to their experience. Health, wellness, and general satisfaction with the company are top concerns for HR leaders and management. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that employees highly value work environments that are conducive to their lifestyle.
If business leaders are to expect proficiency and efficiency from their workers, they can inspire that by helping their employees take care of themselves.
It’s a bygone era where management didn’t care how employees spent their free time or managed their health. Not to suggest that business leaders should meddle in affairs that they don’t belong in, but it’s considered human decency to consider others and their needs. To that end, 70% of companies that Gartner surveyed have introduced new well-being benefits or increased the number of well-being benefits they offer.
A meaningful way that HR can support employees is by removing hurdles that could impede their health. The company can invest in ergonomic chairs, desks, and the like. They can encourage hygiene standards for all employees to ensure they’re not neglecting their personal cleanliness.
This might also include sleep education to illustrate the benefits of sufficient sleep and how it can benefit them at work and in their free time after or before work. A growing popularity in work offices has been treadmill desks that provide the option for workers to quite literally walk while they work, promoting exercise. Overall, HR should prioritize employees’ well-being and teach them to build better self-care habits.
Improving Work Culture
Since employee experience is very important to HR, it’s very mainstream nowadays to tout one’s company as having a great work culture or being a “great place to work,” but that phrase can lose its meaning if steps aren’t put into place to maintain culture freshness.
Eighty-two percent of employees want to be treated as people, not just employees, and a person-first culture is essential in this respect. HR personnel and managers should be observant if and when employees are presenting themselves as apathetic, tired, anxious, or intimidated in any way.
If you find that you have any employees who fit that category, your culture could use a tune-up. Something is going on that is contributing to displeasure amongst your internal community, and you need to identify it if you want to maintain a healthy work culture.
One meaningful way that businesses can give back and also prove their commitment to strong culture is by giving back to the community through acts like giving charitably, hosting a food drive, or volunteering somewhere in need. It could look like donating services or products to whichever establishment the collective company values most. The opportunities will usually always be there, but they can look different based on the community you’re in.
Burnout is a big factor in attrition — 57% of employees who are experiencing burnout related to the constant changes happening within their organizations intend to quit. Meanwhile, 70% of those who are not burnt out intend to stay. One of the biggest ways employers and their HR reps can support employees in 2023 is by noticing symptoms of burnout and helping workers avoid it like the plague.
Alongside improvements to change management, leaders need to adjust their standards for work output while changes are occurring — and changes are always occurring. If you’re running a tight ship, but people are bailing after short sprints of output, you’ll find yourself in a cyclical routine of hemorrhaging useful talent and having to spend hundreds of valuable hours finding and training new talent to replace the lost talent.
Don’t let it happen. Either lower the bar for your current workers or expand your workforce. Either way, expectations must be tempered in order to help save your workers from burnout.
Recruiting is the fourth biggest concern for HR, with 36% reporting their recruiting strategies aren’t working to find the right talent. In the end, HR must be able to read the room, so to speak, through strategies such as predictive analysis of potential employees. Predictive analysis will also help HR get out in front of the future of work, which is the fifth top concern.
HR departments must analyze data on employees as well as workplace trends, making an effort to predict the types of employees, benefits, and accommodations that will help organizations thrive in the future.
The items above are just a small snippet of patterns we're noticing in the working world as we move into 2023. Perhaps your company is facing something different that it hasn’t dealt with before. This is the opportunity to learn and grow through it together as a team.
Be mindful of the personnel in your company. Remember that they choose to work with you, just as you chose them. Preserving the relationship with every worker is essential to maintaining harmony in a business.
Pay attention, be considerate, anticipate where things are headed, and act before they mount into bigger issues.