HR trends for the year to come
In the last two years, HR teams have been at the centre of some of the most significant challenges that organisations have ever had to deal with. After managing an abrupt pandemic-induced shift to remote work while simultaneously dialling up employee well-being services, HR professionals quickly turned their attention to designing and implementing complex hybrid work arrangements that had to be flexible and agile enough to be scaled back at a moment’s notice in case of new outbreaks. All this, while contending with sweeping waves of resignations, as employees re-evaluated how they worked in the context of their broader lives. And although the worst of pandemic workplace interruptions is behind us, HR professionals will need to keep a watchful eye on ongoing global instability likely to continue through 2023 – such as economic uncertainty and the rise in international geopolitical tensions.
As we continue to navigate the evolving workplace, what are the HR trends that employers should expect in 2023? Without a doubt, many existing trends, such as flexible working models and enhanced employee well-being support, will continue to evolve. And we can expect to see some new key topics emerge, such as the growing role of technological innovation in HR, and a new urgency to upskill more employees in the field of sustainability.
The Future of Work is Personalised and Hybrid
While many have celebrated being able to get into the office and meet with colleagues in person, the hybrid work model is here to stay. Although total physical isolation and Zoom fatigue certainly chipped away at well-being, employee feedback shows that the vast majority of workers do not want to be back in the office full time either. Companies who hope to create attractive workplaces and retain the best talent will need to continue to evolve responsive hybrid workplace models. Employers will need to find ways of offering an inclusive and personalised workplace experience that prioritises the mental wellness of each team member in a way that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.
In 2023, we should expect employees to pay more attention to how much flexibility their employer provides, and for companies to promote flexible work arrangements to retain and recruit top talent. And at the same time, companies will continue working to create systems that foster collaboration and team culture amidst hybrid arrangements. In 2023, HR teams will need to continue to invest in enhanced organisational communication systems and new tactics for forging team trust and relationships across dispersed teams. The key will be to remain agile and stay focused on personalisation – in order to support workers to find the most valuable balance of in-office time and remote work.
HR Transformation Through AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence (AI) has created major transformation across various industries in the last couple of years. The HR industry too stands to gain numerous efficiencies by leveraging AI to refine many day-to day functions and equip HR teams to succeed in a world where reality can change in an instant, and where the nature of work and the workplace itself is set to constantly evolve. AI has already been playing an important role in assisting HR teams to automate the process of screening candidates and analysing their skills, qualifications and experience. In 2023, we will see more and more HR organisations leverage these tools as they gain further sophistication, while also expanding AI adoption to automate several repetitive tasks like data collection, compliance processes and employee onboarding. This will free up HR professionals to focus more on strategic work, such as interviewing candidates and devising methods for retaining top talent and sustaining employee engagement.
HR leaders should look to provide their sales employees with training programmes and curricula to understand how to engage with customers and help them adjust to this new approach to customer buying behaviour. Sales teams will need to hone industry, business, financial and technology management acumen, as well as business analytics skills. They will also need to develop new relationships across customer networks, and focus on speaking in terms of business outcomes and communicating the value of the solution, rather than selling the product itself.
Upskilling to Drive the Sustainability Agenda
In 2023, there will be added focus for organisations to upskill talent across their entire business operations to create action plans to mitigate climate impacts and integrate their organisations’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals into overall business strategies. As companies look to embrace more sustainable circular business models and achieve net zero targets, new talent will be needed. We are likely to see the emergence of new employment opportunities in fields such as renewable energy and environmental impact assessment, among others. Additionally, employees are increasingly demanding that companies be able to demonstrate their strong corporate ESG focus, and are likely to gravitate toward employers that have strong sustainability strategies. In 2023, employers will still need to prove their corporate sustainability commitments to investors and customers, but also increasingly to their workforces as well.
Dramatic and innovative change will be needed across the globe for humankind to avoid catastrophic environmental crises. With the ability to shift workplace cultures, embolden workforces to seek out breakthrough innovations, and design the skills training needed to find new solutions, HR professionals can play a leading role in ensuring organisations across all industries work towards an equitable and sustainable future.