“Hiring may be limited to critical backfills,” Mahipal Nair

Mahipal Nair, vice president-HR (Head of HR) India & APJ, Trellix believes that, "2023 should end with clear-cut guidelines for companies to be more innovative and creative in how they want to employ talent."


2022 was a volatile year for HR & workforce

The pandemic changed the dynamics of several industries and economies alike. After months of being ravaged with Covid-19, the markets were on the path to recovery. Employees wanted to maximise the higher demand than supply of talent, especially for niche roles.

In the six to eight quarters building up to 2022, most companies had not witnessed increments, layoffs, or salary cuts (or all three together) owing to the pandemic and uncertainty that came along with it. This encouraged employees to explore opportunities where there is more value given to their talent. For the first time, offer drops became a critical data point while hiring for the HR industry.

As the economy bounced back, the startup ecosystem witnessed a boon. Funds were free-flowing, and so were the rewards and benefits. Established companies and big brands started to invest ahead of the curve to capitalise on growth prospects. The sense of optimism was high. However the Ukraine war and the impending energy crisis created a sense of pessimism for the world economy.

Companies struggled to meet targets, and investors became cautious while well-funded start-ups saw funds getting retrenched.

People had intense experiences during the pandemic and lockdown, and priorities and motivators had shifted. Employees wanted more balance in their lives and wanted to do a job more on their terms of flexibility and something that has more meaning for their careers. Many decided that they would move on from the ‘rat race’ and take control of their lives. This is where companies that showed compassion, provided stability, and gave hope did better than others.

2023 should end with clear-cut guidelines for companies to be more innovative and creative in how they want to employ talent

2023: Will it be a turmoil again or peace?

The turmoil may continue for the better part of 2023 due to the current financial and market conditions. Hiring may be limited to critical backfills during this period or very niche roles. HR needs to focus on retaining top talent by upskilling, career pathing, and tweaking employee benefits to make them more appealing and useful.

Leaders must focus on ways to enhance performance so that the team makes a measurable and meaningful impact to the organisation.

Evaluating a leader: Transparency, empathy, loyalty, mentoring vs business/functional excellence

Leaders are to serve their customers and their employees. It may sound clichéd, but that is what matters to the world now. The service orientation must be genuine, not mere lip service.

Open communication channels will pave the way for confidence and trust. People prefer transparency and clarity as that helps them make an informed decision on ‘what next’.

A leader plays a crucial role in making future leaders; hence, the ability to coach, guide, and mentor is critical. The biggest influence on a company’s culture is the leader. Hence, the premium should be on the right leadership traits that will enhance the culture positively.

Debate on moonlighting to continue

Gig employment has mushroomed in the last few years. Many people prefer such opportunities over the standard ones (let’s say the typical 9 to 5). At the same time, some companies prefer a liquid workforce. 2023 should end with clear cut guidelines and companies should be more innovative and creative in how they want to employ talent.

Companies, especially those with many IPs or sensitive information, will continue to have stricter guidelines forbidding moonlighting. In many cases of moonlighting, we saw an unethical trend where there was a clear conflict of interest. The integrity of the workforce should remain paramount for any professionally managed company.

33 leaders predict the upcoming trends for 2023. To find out more click here.


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