The pandemic reset long-established expectations about work, and employers and employees are still sorting out what it will mean over the long haul. It’s clear that employees overwhelmingly want more flexibility in the way they work, and they’ve demonstrated by the tens of millions they’re ready to jump ship if they don’t get it. But the ability to work from home is only one facet of the change.
Employees also want more autonomy, better tools so they can focus on more strategic and meaningful work, and a more positive employee experience overall. According to a recent survey, more than a third of employees say they plan to leave their jobs in 2023, but HR leaders who recognize emerging trends and harness them to offer employees a better future can retain talent and attract job candidates with valuable skills.
Here’s a closer look at five trends that will shape the future of work in 2023:
Stronger Focus on Current Talent
Replacing the average salaried employee cost about $15,000 even before the pandemic hit full force, according to Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report. With more competition, it’s likely more expensive now. As 2022 draws to a close, employers are investing more in their current talent to save on recruitment and hiring costs in the long term, and that trend will continue in 2023.
Focusing on current talent isn’t just about spending more money on current staff, though many programs are doing just that. Promoting job openings internally, providing job-specific coaching, giving employees more opportunities for growth, and otherwise offering new experiences are some of the techniques companies are using to keep people engaged. Investing in employee development is also key; employees value the opportunity to upskill and are excited about paths for career growth.
More Employers Will Reimagine the Employee Experience
Forward-thinking HR leaders will reconsider the employee experience in 2023 by focusing on what employers can do now to address new workplace realities and by listening to what employees want. They recognize that processes’ or programs’ having worked in the past is no guarantee of future success. They’re breaking the muscle memory of what they have always done and rethinking everything from onboarding to management styles to benefits packages in order to meet the needs of their employees.
Employee input is critical in this process. With employee feedback in mind, many employers are offering lifestyle benefits and perks like pet care and fitness programs. Recognizing that people prefer to work with brands that share their values, employers are also looking at ways to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) results; ramp up sustainability initiatives; and give back to their communities.
Employers Will Explore Using Different Employee Classifications
The pandemic settled the question of whether people can do their jobs off-site without losing productivity: They can. With this in mind, many employers are already offering remote-first work, which can allow them to widen their talent pool to include overseas workers. And a global workforce can be frictionless, especially when partnering with experts to ensure the company complies with local employment and taxation laws.
Another way to rethink your potential talent pool is to use employee classification to support your project and candidate needs. Contract work, gig work, and part-time positions aren’t for everyone, but they can be ideal for many job candidates. The point is, when HR looks outside the traditional 9-to-5 full-time employee classification box, talent can respond on its own terms.
More Employers Will Opt for Maximum Flexibility
Heading into 2023, flexible working remains a top HR trend, and that will hold true in the year ahead. Flexible working isn’t just the ability to work remotely; it’s also the freedom to work outside traditional business hours so employees can provide care for family or drop off or pick up children from school, etc., as needed during the day.
Employers can balance company needs and employee preferences by defining business necessities and examining new ways of working that can fulfill those needs. As long as employees bring their talent to the table to get work done, flexible arrangements can be successful, giving employees more freedom to work in any way that best fits their preferences while ensuring core business needs are met.
Companies Will Expand Automation
Deploying automation technology can significantly improve the employee experience while boosting productivity, so more employers will implement automated processes in 2023 and beyond. The more businesses can automate mundane tasks, the more time employees have to focus on interesting, high-value work, which improves engagement.
With automation, employees can offload tedious tasks like filling out expense forms. With a management framework that automates the mundane, managers can focus on coaching employees. An employee development platform can allow staff to access training on smartphones, for example. The list goes on—automation makes life simpler while expanding access to more resources.
In 2023 and beyond, employers that give employees the power to work in any way will have a competitive advantage over peers that adhere to traditional ways of working. Even in an uncertain economy, workers are insisting on greater flexibility and are approaching opportunities more intentionally, looking for positions they believe will help them advance their careers and seeking workplace cultures where they feel valued, heard, and respected.
Employers that harness these existing and emerging trends in creative ways will be in a better position to assemble the workforces their companies need to meet business objectives. HR leaders who listen to employees and respond with empathy and creativity will be able to attract and retain the right talent while reshaping the future of work.
Katherine Loranger leads Safeguard Global’s people strategy and development. With almost two decades of experience, she provides strategic HR planning to ensure the hiring of the best talent available and position Safeguard Global as an employer of choice within the industry. Loranger promotes a culture of innovation, accountability, and service in all Safeguard Global offices around the world.