2022 was a volatile year for HR & workforce
2023 will continue to be eventful and uncertain. At the same time, the opportunity will rise and those who can navigate through it will emerge stronger for the journey ahead. The next few years will continue to be quite challenging for HR professionals as organisations will face multiple challenges like competitive talent landscape, growth pressures and the necessity to control costs. Newer dynamics at the workplace will require multiple areas to focus on, some of them are known, some of them will be more pronounced than it was in the past and some will be uncharted. In my view, the following will be the focus areas for HR in 2023 and beyond:
• Sharpening the organisational purpose– It is time organisations revisit their purpose and brand positioning if they haven’t and communicate it fiercely. To engage and establish themselves in the future talent marketplace organisations need to have a compelling purpose beyond the day-to-day business to attract and retain talent. Future employees will look to associate themselves with companies who score strongly on this scale.
• Organisation and employee productivity – HR will need to play a critical role in improving organisation and employee productivity and thus improve cost structure. Cutting down on unnecessary barriers, layers, and inefficiencies and removing redundant roles will occupy more focus.
• Handling ‘Quiet Quitters’– Postpandemic there are many who are called quiet quitters. They are talented, they remain with organisations but are disengaged, they are not moving out because they are not getting alternate opportunities. Handling such a kind of workforce and converting them to engaged ones will be important.
• Reaching out to non-traditional talent pools – While on one hand economies will have unemployment on the other, we will have talent shortages. Employees may like to experiment and go for jobs outside their current area of expertise. Managers need to be less concerned with stereotyped industry experience and technical skills and become more comfortable assessing candidates on their ability to perform in the role, their learning ability and attitude, and not just routine educational background.
• Human-centred leadership – While jobs will be more demanding, performance metrics will be tougher, and demand for outcomes will be sharper yet what will be necessary will be to build a human-centred leadership approach. Managers need to show flexibility, empathy, concern for the well-being and a caring attitude while seeking high performance.
• Hybrid and flexible work environment – Employees would need more flexibility at work. Strict controls and a regimented approach to work schedules while desirable, may not be a successful approach going forward. What is necessary is to define the outcome expected from an employee, hold them accountable and provide an overall boundary within which flexibility will be provided at work to perform. Several policies around leave, work schedules, and how work is done will need to be addressed even in traditional shop floor and frontend jobs.
• Employee experience – Employees will continue to look for a great experience at the workplace right from the hiring stage. Onboarding practice, day-to-day managerial and peer interactions, workplace environment, resources available and processes at work, developmental and reward opportunities and all such employee touch points need to be designed and improved to create a lasting approach. Employees would need visibility and need to be constantly engaged. Employees need to see their careers grow. Growth need not be just for higher work titles but involving work which makes them feel more engaged and satisfied.
Compensation is critical but not the only driver of employee experience. The employee should have a real choice to customize the rewards and benefit basket as per individual needs
• Flawless technology interface for employees – A newer workforce and younger ones will continue to demand tech-enabled HR and organisational processes. It is not just about HR tools but any organisation processes that an employee encounters will need to be smart. Organisations will need to invest heavily in applications, mobile apps and other tech interfaces which make collaborations, workflow, reporting, access to data, learning and problem solving easier and enjoyable. Since mobile phones and the associated technology that it brings has opened a gateway to the world and are impacting everyone from the time we wake up, such technology will also be desirable at work and thus organisations need to ponder where they are on this scale and act fast.
• Comprehensive employee wellness – During the post-pandemic, the subject of well-being has assumed high importance for all and that includes current and incoming employees. Focus on comprehensive well-being for employees as opposed to just providing periodic relief and health checkups will be needed. In the coming year, good organisations will help employees maintain their emotional resilience and performance. Providing comprehensive well-being support will also yield better results in terms of retention, reducing underperformance, sudden quitting and managing conflict.
• Employer branding quotient – Creating the right employer brand will be important for the organisation in 2023 and beyond. The organisation’s reputation in the talent market, social media presence and how the organisation is seen to be an engaging place for talent will determine its ability to attract and hold the talent.
• Data privacy – Organisations are using several technologies like AI, wearables, etc. to collect data on employees’ health, family situations, living conditions, mental health and even sleep patterns to respond more effectively to their needs. Employers must prioritise transparency around how they collect, use and store these as well as allow employees to opt-out of practices they find objectionable. As more organisations begin using AI in the selection process one needs to consider the ethical implications of these practices.
Employee loyalty, a thing of the distant past
From an organisational standpoint, they would be concerned about navigating through the volatility and growing the business, thus work, productivity and outcomes can never be sidelined. Having said so, organisations need to also recognize that they need to carry the employees and meet their aspirations as talent will continue to be the differentiator. As mentioned earlier from an employee standpoint they would look for an aligned purpose, great experience and growth opportunity, flexibility, and focus on overall wellbeing. The relationship between the organisation and employees will emerge stronger if the organisation can appreciate and meet the employee’s priorities while continuing to be outcome focused. Only focusing on the latter will not bear any sustainable relationship as the talent marketplace will be more fragile in nature.
Evaluating a leader: Transparency, empathy, loyalty, mentoring vs business/functional excellence
While business-centred leadership and related competencies, such as strategic thinking, commercial acumen, execution ability will always be essential, human-centred leadership skills are becoming very important for a leader to succeed in today’s context. Human-centred leaders are the ones who put their people first. Leaders’ self awareness will be the key factor; leaders who score high on this aspect and demonstrate empathy, vulnerability and humility will be effective. Leaders must be authentic and humble. They must be able to develop trusting relationships, provide opportunities for team members to connect and create the conditions required for them to be engaged at work. Leaders must demonstrate that they are engaged, avoid blaming others and nurture positivity. They should include their team in the decision-making process and be open to feedback and championing their team.
33 leaders predict the upcoming trends for 2023. To find out more click here.
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