As we close out 2022 and look for a new start in 2023, the forecast looks a bit challenging for even the most seasoned Human Resources professionals. Flu season, the economic outlook, threats of recession (if not already in the middle of one), changes in Congress, and the Presidential agenda will drive some unique issues on the employment front. Given that the House and Senate are now split, the hopes of getting any productive solutions out of congress seem to be slim. Based on recent conversations with the Department of Labor and OFCCP one thing is for sure, the work of the CHRO continues with even greater complexity. Our time and efforts are best spent on managing things we can control. There have been several publications and speculation about what lies in front of us. I will walk through a few as we think about our focus for 2023.
Remote work has had mixed reviews, but one thing is certain, it isn’t going away, and it brings continued challenges regarding engaged employees, productivity, work/life balance and career management obstacles. While it may be great for certain businesses, it has caused significant issues for smaller and less sophisticated businesses without proper investments in technology. There is upside as we are now able to include additional people in remote meetings that otherwise may have been omitted due to room size, location, etc.
Also, according to the article in Forbes: “A majority of employees now report increased levels of both workplace and personal stress. Workers across the board may indicate feeling burned out, unappreciated, undercompensated and uncared for. Unsurprisingly, these feelings can lead to decreased productivity, quiet quitting and resignation.” Forbes 2023 HR Trends. As noted in one of my earlier publications, this will take added attention to employee relations programs and focused outreach initiatives. Failure to do so could drive your employees to others who live and breathe a people-first culture.
Remote working conditions will also be a focus. We have all seen the reports of remote workers taking “workcations” where they combine demands of work with their desire to do some eccentric travel which sometimes lends itself to poor and or unsafe living conditions. We must ask ourselves, are we really OK with this? If not, what are the options and risks? There is something to be said about separating yourself from others by providing unique remote worker benefits, compensation packages, opportunities for upward mobility and career growth, more schedule flexibility and a better prioritization of work-life balance. This, in addition to the appropriate tools and technologies to keep them engaged with and attracted to the company culture, not just the work they perform.
Continued investment in technology and AI across the business enterprise will also ease the challenges of keeping employees engaged, productive and has the potential to eliminate menial and mundane tasks that take time and tends to bore most people. People want to feel important and feel like they are making a difference! Leveraging available technologies will enable all of us to spend more time engaging with and developing our talent—our most asset and investment.
As we have discussed in prior publications, we have seen movements/tends initiated by talented people. We have sometimes referred to these movements as the “great resignation” and/or “quiet quitting”. We hope this trend settles and allows employers an opportunity to recalibrate needs relative to skillsets and requirements to meet business demands. Workers will continue to assess their work (including culture, location, inclusion, career) and what they want to get out of their blended work and personal lives. Employers must work hard to establish the right working environment that fulfills the needs of workers and allows them to continue to grow their careers. The same old playbook we used five years ago simply won’t work.
One thing is certain, the work of all Human Resource profession will continue to be challenging and the level of complexity continues to grow from a technological and human relations perspective. It’s time to rethink the approach and take a few risks on investments in technologies and employee relations programs to increase our odds for success.
Published on: December 20, 2022
Authors: James E. Jones
Topics: COVID-19 Employer Issues, Global