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Bring on 2023! Predictions and potential pitfalls for the year ahead…

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

2022 has been quite the wild ride, with organisations facing changes on every front.
Nick Adams, VP EMEA at G-P

As Nick Adams, VP EMEA at G-P, declares, “What a rollercoaster year 2022 has been. The headlines have been dominated by stories of the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Quiet Cuffing.” But, as he continues, “looking forward to 2023, there’s an expectation that things will begin to settle down.”

So, as we storm into 2023, what can be expected in the new year? And how can HR teams and organisations, more generally, prepare themselves and their workforces?

WHEN FACING CHALLENGES, PRIORITISING EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING WILL BE KEY

The outlook for 2023 doesn’t exactly suggest that it will be the easiest year, with the rising cost of living, a looming recession and geo-political issues burdening employees across all sectors. But of course, it is in times like these that employee well-being needs to become paramount.

Richard Guy, Country Sales Manager, UK & Ireland at Ergotron

As Richard Guy, Country Sales Manager, UK & Ireland at Ergotron, expresses, “just when managers thought looking after their teams couldn’t get any more challenging, increasing economic uncertainty is going to make things even more complex, as employee well-being and the ‘human touch’ will skyrocket in importance.”

With the health and happiness of employees becoming a primary concern in 2023, it will be vital for organisations to implement initiatives and allocate resources that can help to support their workforce.As Guy explains, “employees will prioritise the way they are looked after in their workspaces when choosing an employer, and these changing expectations will drive the future of office design.” He continues, “offering employees access to ergonomically designed workspaces that benefit both physical and mental health and to work where work happens will boost individual working experiences, build more successful teams and make businesses more competitive in the challenging year ahead.”

Another strategy organisations can take to support their employees in the new year is to ensure they have access to hybrid working environments – making sure they are aware that this is still an option.

Dr Shirley Knowles, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Progress
Progress Software. Shirley Portrait

“The challenge for organisations will be whether they can lead hybrid workers inclusively. We need to recognise that certain populations, including many parents, people with health vulnerabilities, and people with disabilities, are more likely to choose remote work options”, states Dr Shirley Knowles, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Progress. She goes on to say, “supporting remote workers is, in itself, a tool to support diversity of experience on your team”. However, to make hybrid environments actually work for employees, “we need everyone to challenge what ideas like presence and dedication mean in the hybrid workplace.”

Additionally, organisations will need to look inwards to recognise and rectify existing issues that might hamper employee wellbeing. Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft, outlines the importance of this for 2023, stating:

Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft

“As the saying goes, ‘employees don’t leave companies; they leave managers’. In the year ahead, leaders need to create positive work environments which focus on development through coaching and mentorship programs. Listening to employee concerns and responding to their desires for greater flexibility and improved work-life balance will also be critical. Ongoing communication about business strategy and growth involving the entire team will help inspire everyone to share a united vision. Looking forward to next year, hopefully, we will see some stability – enabling organisations to work on creating an engaging environment rather than firefighting.”

COMPETITION FOR TALENT WILL BE FIERCE

Whilst the biggest employment challenges of 2022 may be behind us, that doesn’t mean that acquiring talent, or maintaining it for that matter, will get any easier in 2023.

Jen Locklear, Chief People Officer at ConnectWise

As Jen Locklear, Chief People Officer at ConnectWise outlines: “Companies are battling the competition to attract and retain the best talent in a pool of skilled workers that are failing to keep up with the increasing demand. This means HR teams will have to focus on more flexibility, opportunities for learning on the job, and diversification, and therefore, we can expect changes in how we hire, how we train, and how we retain people in the coming years.”

This competition for talent will be particularly relevant in the tech and developer communities, where skilled workers are already stretched thin. This means that the learning and development opportunities companies can offer will matter more than ever. As Locklear continues, “in 2023, employers will invest more in training and upskilling programs to equip workers with the skills they require. In the tech industry specifically, demand is soaring for qualified technology workers, with many of those positions going unfilled. In fact, research shows that 73% of business leaders predicted they would struggle to fill open technology roles in 2023.”

This skill shortage is a big problem for organisations seeking to grow their business in the new year. As a result, many companies will need to dip into the global talent pool to find the talent they need. As Nick Adams explains, “the UK, in particular, is facing a very tight labour market and the long-standing tech skills shortage will continue to present a major challenge for many firms. This shortage of labour will pose a serious risk to the economy’s growth. What’s needed is an easy way for companies to access the best talent, regardless of location. And thanks to the growing Employer of Record industry, we’ll see a significant uptick in companies that are embracing the global talent pool that’s now wide open to them.”

Gianna Driver, CHRO, Exabeam

Looking to the future, younger workers will certainly play a major role in filling these talent gaps. As such, organisations must begin to take note of what they are looking for in an employer. Gianna Driver, CHRO, Exabeam, highlights the importance of this, stating that, “by 2025, Gen Z workers will make up nearly 30% of the entire workforce. To continue to attract and retain top talent in 2023 and beyond, company leaders must listen closely to Gen Z voices. This generation typically aligns with organisations that can not just talk the talk when it comes to diverse hiring, work-life balance, the future of the workplace and more – but also walk the walk. They want to feel heard and seen at work – as we all should.”

HERE’S TO 2023, WHATEVER IT MAY BRING…

2023 is on its way, whether we’re prepared for it or not. As we’ve learnt the hard way from the last two years, it is often hard to foresee what may come with the new year. However, if one thing is for certain, business leaders need to have a strong team behind them to face whatever the year holds. Agata Nowakowska shares this sentiment, suggesting that, “as we embark on 2023, I think the business focus will be on people and building highly engaged, motivated and prepared teams for the next challenge.”

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