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HR Priorities For 2023

2022 saw more changes than we probably ever thought possible. Three prime ministers, one new king, a war in Europe, and global financial instability. Not to mention increasing attention to the climate crisis. In this context, it makes sense to face 2023 with some trepidation. So what do we think the coming year has in store for HR professionals and leadership teams?

2023 priorities

It’s not just national and global events that will have an impact on organisations during the next year. We’ve already seen several well-known organisations fail or go through rounds of redundancies over the last few months. Others have seen the introduction of innovative HR schemes. 12 months is a long time, and it’s more than likely that your organisation will see good and bad times in that period. 


Here are some of the HR priorities we think will be on the agenda:


1. Increased Flexibility


Whether you’re looking at four-day weeks, compressed summer hours, or flexible shifts, there’s a way that your organisation can be more flexible. 


Although it might seem as though flexibility is only available for office workers, we’ve seen this disproved over the last few months by organisations as diverse as hospitality, retail and construction. As we move into 2023 this will bring pressure on a range of organisations to implement policies to support flexibility for their people. 


We know that flexibility is really important - it builds feelings of safety, increases autonomy and supports balance within the workplace. This means that your people will feel happier within their role. In turn, happiness leads to greater productivity, and of course positivity within your workplace!


2. Continued Attention to Wellbeing


With so much going on in the world, it puts stress on everyone. For this reason, it’s going to be really important for organisations to put an emphasis on mental health and wellbeing. We know that things going on outside of the workplace have a huge impact on people’s mental health and their performance at work. 


This is something we’ve known since 2020 when the pandemic and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement sent shock waves through the working world. Research also backs this up - sometimes something as seemingly minor as the weather can have a big impact on employee happiness and productivity. However, in 2023 this is likely to increase thanks to a cost of living crisis, the ongoing war on European soil and the continued impacts of the last three years of instability. 


Building more integrated employee wellbeing programmes will be a key focus for many HR teams over the next 12 months. This move is going to be a moral and ethical imperative. Not only this, but it also makes business sense, as we know that mental and physical wellbeing are strongly linked with absenteeism, productivity and creativity. 


3. Renewed Focus on Learning & Development


Over the last few years, attention has been taken up by macro events. However, during good times we’re going to see more emphasis on personal development, a key neuroscience theme for employee engagement


Building an engaged and connected team will become increasingly important over the coming year. The war for talent will increase focus on upskilling and developing people so that they stay as skills shortages and the recruitment market remains tight. Budgets are also likely to be squeezed which may make finding and attracting new talent more challenging. Developing internal talent will become a better option for many. 


An engaged team is not only going to perform better for your organisation, they’re also going to be more loyal, more creative and more productive. This means you’ll reap the benefits in a range of different ways. 


4. Growing Employee Activism


We already know that Gen Z is the most politically active generation we’ve seen in recent times, but everyone is becoming more and more politically aware. Being on top of social issues such as diversity, climate action and so on will be increasingly important over the coming months and years. 


The prevalence of ESG projects has been growing for years. Governments are bringing in more legislation that requires reporting on the environment and social impacts of organisations. However, this pressure will be piling up from inside organisations themselves. With warmer summers and wetter winters, not to mention severe weather events, climate change is something that even the most privileged amongst us can no longer ignore. 


There are also engagement advantages to aligning your values with those of your employees. Neuroscience shows us that values are a key neuroscience driver of engagement. By clearly signalling your vision and values, you will be able to build a thriving culture your team will be proud to be a part of. 


5. Building Diverse Benefits Programmes


Estimates of the impact of the cost of living crisis vary, but one thing’s for certain - we’re headed for a financially difficult few years. Against this backdrop, organisations will likely need to support their teams more, potentially with fewer resources. This will require more creative thinking. 


It’s not all financial either. In fact, studies show that many employees are increasingly valuing work-life balance over increased salary. Building benefits packages which support this will be invaluable for your organisation. Options are limited only by your creativity - but include hybrid or remote working, gym memberships and a myriad of other benefits which will support your team’s life outside of work. 


A more diverse benefits programme will also attract a more diverse talent pool. As we’ve seen, hiring excellent people is going to get more challenging over the coming year. By having a range of benefits you will have something that will appeal to a wider pool of people. This will be an invaluable tool when recruiting. 


Those are our predictions for the coming year. Is there anything you think we’ve missed? If so, why not join our community and discuss with an incredible group of like-minded HR professionals?

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Elle Whitehead-Smith

"Elle is happiest when given plenty of puddings, popular novels and, particularly, perfect grammar."

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