The events and trends of 2022 have shown us that the workforce may never again be what it was. From Quiet Quitting to Act Your Wage and beyond, the labor pool everywhere is keeping HR professionals on their toes. As we look to set up our HR priorities in 2023, can we expect more of the same volatility? Will a whole new set of social and economic challenges arise? And can these roller coaster rides inspire us to come up with new, creative ways to re-engage our people?
The Year in Review – HR Trends of 2022
Any way you look at it, the trends in human resource management that we witnessed in 2022 had their roots in the pandemic. Perhaps it was the shock of heading back to busy days after months at home, or it could have been the way that younger generations identify with the ideas going around social media (like “4:59” on TikTok). In any case, 2022 was riddled with previously unseen challenges for the HR world.
After the peak of the pandemic, a few problematic attitudes emerged about going back to work. The first attitude showed up in The Great Resignation, when 47 million people voluntarily quit their jobs, and among them, 3.5 million have still not returned.
According to Simon Sinek, this group “lost their fear of the unknown” and chose to start something new. The second attitude represents the people who dusted themselves off and got back to work. And the third attitude was for people in the middle – they went back to work, but aren’t committed to their jobs, because they believe that hard work does not pay off.
Ah yes, another engagement challenge. As we can see in this Gallup survey, from 2020 to 2022, the “engaged” category of employees decreased from 36% to 32%, while the “actively disengaged” category increased from 14% to 17%. That leaves about 50% of workers qualifying as “disengaged,” which is the heart of the Quiet Quitter community.
How long will Quiet Quitting last? Considering economic issues, companies will need all hands on board in the near future, so there will be many efforts aimed at getting the disengaged to feel more connected to their jobs. Organizations can deal with Quiet Quitting by focusing on career management and explaining that lack of engagement is bad for everyone.
But part of the issue is that HR generally relies on external recruitment. It’s time to turn this 20/80 split on its head by making internal talent mobility a goal for 2023. Such a move will finally enable a much larger number of employees to see their hard work leading to promotions and better salaries.
The Skills Economy
Once upon a time, resumes listed positions, responsibilities, education, and other factors. Today, many employers are looking for more.
“Skills are the new currency” is a phrase that’s becoming increasingly common. Were you the Chief Large Enterprise Customer Experience Officer? Companies don’t want to hear only about the responsibility that you had for budget, employees, and customers. Just as important are the skills that you used to achieve success, and those that you acquired while in the position.
But even that’s changing. According to Josh Bersin, modern economies now demand PowerSkills. Everyone knows that the developed world is based on a service economy. But with automation, many service jobs are disappearing. However, a large number of roles, such as sales, customer service, nursing, and management can’t be fully automated. Why? It’s because they depend on PowerSkills, such as time management, communications, and flexibility.
It’s true that part of these functions can be automated. For instance, CRM tools are essential for the modern salesperson. But the effect of such technologies is to make jobs like customer service more effective, and more in demand. In a sense, automation has created jobs for customer service reps by giving them the tools they need. It’s a bit like the fact that typists didn’t exist until typewriters came along.
And one more thing. What do all PowerSkills have in common? They are all soft skills.
Over the past few years, there has been a movement towards flatter hierarchies. Still, most organizations are sticking with the traditional pyramid-shaped model. It is inescapable that such a setup means a certain level of turnover.
You might be surprised to know that, even for older generations, the average worker changes jobs every three years. This constant turnover is typically seen as a problem. But smart organizations understand that investing in employee growth pays dividends, even in light of this fact. One illustration is the increasing number of boomerang hires, which includes 15% of all employees.
So companies are building on the employee experience. Regardless of their eventual career moves, workers receive L&D opportunities and a chance to try out different roles within the company. This includes job rotation, job shadowing, moving to other branches, and even reverse mentoring positions.
The idea is that organizations gain to benefit, either way. Should the worker progress up their career ladder, then they will have the skills and experience to succeed after promotion. If the employee moves on, a great employee experience can result in:
- Good scores on company review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed
- Useful connections with alumni working at other companies
- An easier separation process
The Top 5 Predictions for HR priorities in 2023
Future trends in human resource management cover a wide number of areas, including the health of individual workers; corporate organization; and employee skills. There is no crystal ball to predict what’s to come – but it’s safe to assume that many aspects of HR life will change in the coming year.
- Focusing on Worker Well-being
Job security is only one influence out of many that impact an employee. Concerns about inflation, family life, and even politics are examples of issues from outside the organization that still affect productivity within the organization. As global issues connected to war and economics are bound to stay on center stage in 2023, employee well-being will be a major topic.
Whenever an employee feels anxious, depressed, or angry, regardless of the cause, their well-being is in danger. Note that engagement and well-being are not the same thing. Engagement relates to how employees feel about their company, job, and coworkers. Well-being is more about their general emotional and physical health.
Companies need to pay attention to this factor. Gallup discovered that teams with high levels of both engagement and well-being saw a quit rate that was 30% lower than average.
A good place to start dealing with challenges to well-being is–ironically enough–the HR department! According to Workvivo, 98% of HR professionals have experienced burnout in the past six months.
- Integrating All Employees Under One HR System
What is an employee? The answer gets more complicated all the time. Part-timers, full-timers, gig-workers; each is part of an organization’s productivity, but each often receives different HR treatment.
One particular area of interest is the Gig Economy. A gig worker is often a freelancer or contractor who takes on short-term or occasional work. Classic examples nowadays include Uber drivers and Amazon delivery people. It is estimated that approximately 40% of companies use gig workers which account for 25% of all of their employees.
From an HR standpoint, managing these workers is a challenge. What rights do they have? (Google is looking at this issue right now.) How do you increase their productivity, professionalism, and engagement? You can’t usually invite them in for a chat, so how do you even communicate with them to achieve these goals?
Perhaps 2023 will show us the answer. Ideas include communities of experts, more HR awareness, and moves to bring such employees closer to the heart of the organization. Speaking of Uber, they are one example of how this system might work. They have an “internal gig platform” that allows employees to try out different positions as a way to increase talent mobility.
- Reworking Remote Working
Talk about a battle of wills! According to ADP, 64% of employees would go elsewhere if required to return to the office for the full workweek. On the other hand, almost 100% of executives think that being present and accounted for, at least part of the time, is essential to maintaining company culture.
The good news is that there is some flexibility on both sides. Only 21% of bosses expect that employees will be in the office five days a week. To compensate, more than half of employees would accept some kind of pay cut to get more hybrid work hours.
Now, let’s see – who would be in the middle of resolving this argument? Why, HR, of course. In 2023, expect the human resources department to be working overtime so that more people can work from home. It will be a definite challenge to overcome “proximity bias,” which is the tendency of managers to prefer employees who are physically present over remote ones.
- Making Leaders Out of Managers
Yet another effect of the Great Resignation was the advancement of remaining employees to managerial positions in a movement that could be called “the Great Promotion.” Good move, or desperation? Even during pre-pandemic times, 34% of managers did not receive any training to improve how they handled employees, with a similar number getting less than one day’s worth of related development programming.
Today’s managers are more challenged than ever. Take a look at almost every trend discussed here, and you’ll see that most of them affect, and require the participation of, managers. As the people closest to the action, managers are an essential part of employee development, but associated difficulties can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons why Millennial managers face higher levels of burnout than those from other generations.
For HR, this means a renewed push for all the skills that make managers great, with an emphasis on coaching to bring those leadership skills up to scratch.
- Getting the Right Skills Up to Par
Have another look at the major HR trends for both 2022 and 2023, and you’ll realize that learning and development is probably the most essential priority of all. From well-being to leadership skills to Quiet Quitting, L&D plays a vital role in handling each HR challenge.
But, even now, many organizations still fail to solve their skills gap crisis. For example, McKinsey states that almost all companies either have or are expecting to have a critical skills gap. But whatever training that does occur seems to be ineffective – only 12% of employees apply the skills that they gain through L&D. This is because it’s very difficult to define the skills that each employee needs, find top experts to teach them, and then put it all together in a program that is convenient, effective, and measurable.
The answer is personalization. New technologies allow HR departments to tailor-make any development program according to the granular skill needs of each worker, no matter how large the organization is. L&D platforms can even design the entire talent development experience to include the best mode of learning for each subject.
Whatever Happens, Stay on Top with GrowthSpace
Expect 2023 to again prove the value of GrowthSpace, the world’s leading platform for delivering customized employee development at scale. Use GrowthSpace to equip your employees with precisely the skills they need to be ready for any challenge that comes their way.