The economy is (still) in flux, and workers are too. What’s an HR professional to do?
In all manner of market conditions, you can always plan proactively to lead. Your organization’s business objectives may very well depend on how you and your team approach 2023.
What follows is our exploration of five reasons for HR professionals to feel optimistic about 2023. Take it to your next strategy meeting and share the embedded resources with your team.
- You’re uniquely positioned to set your organization up for success.
- Your processes and your communication are strong.
- You’re ready to manage (more) change.
- You can lead (not just manage) new workforce ecosystems.
- You can compete for top talent every day.
You’re uniquely positioned to set your organization up for success.
HR professionals occupy a unique vantage point. You can see, name, and clarify the types of talent present when your organization is thriving at its best, and you know how to upskill current employees to meet tomorrow’s needs. The deepest understanding of your organization’s talent lies with HR. You understand what is needed to motivate behavioral change, and you have unique insight into the background and structural needs of both the individuals and company as a whole.
The Gartner Workforce Change Survey showed that only 38% of employees are willing to modify their work behaviors to support organizational change today, down from 74% in 2016. The pandemic years introduced a seismic shift into the world of work, and these days it can be easy to feel like HR is limited because the immediate task is often headcount planning. But these conditions aren’t insurmountable, all you need is the right historical knowledge.
Your processes and your communication are strong.
Once you’ve wrapped end-of-year priorities, it’s a great time to perform a top-to-bottom audit of your templates, tools, screening mechanisms, interview questions, and candidate scoring rubrics.
It’s also the right moment to take stock of your motivations and mechanisms for collecting and analyzing data on how your employees are doing. This Harvard Business Review article provides a detailed guide on improving employee experience studies.
And don’t forget old-fashioned check-ins with hiring managers of various disciplines. It’s an energy-intensive process, but you’ll build reservoirs of human capital that will aid you in innumerable ways, plus tick off at least two essential skills to advance your impact (and your own career).
You’re ready to manage (more) change.
The pandemic years gave us a once-in-a-lifetime incubation period for work from home, as well as flexible and asynchronous (async) schedules. These alternatives are now more norm than exception. With remote work in particular, McKinsey found in its 2022 American Opportunity Survey that 58 percent of Americans could work at home at least once a week.
That’s remarkable, especially considering survey participants work in all types of jobs, economic sectors, and geographic regions across the U.S. But if we’re being honest, there’s still so much we don’t know. In that same study, McKinsey observed that people “working in a flexible model were most likely to report multiple obstacles [to performing their jobs effectively], followed by those working fully remotely, and then by those working in the office.”
Interested in a radical model of flexibility that’s proven useful? A six-month pilot program of 3,000+ employees is evaluating the four-day workweek, and at the halfway point, almost half (46%) of respondents said that productivity was steady. 34% noted a slight increase and 15% saw significant improvement.
Try to make flexible schedules better and adopt an open, yet critical, mindset to evaluating these new ways of working.
You can lead new staffing models.
Recent shakeups in the work world allowed some talented individuals to trade the confines of traditional employment for assignments that align with their goals for work-life balance while still meeting their financial obligations. Independent talent now comprises 30-50% of some organizations’ talent pools, per Deloitte.
These changes in the type of talent available in the job marketplace create more conversations among leaders about what kind of staffing models work best for their organizations, and HR can bring valuable insight to the table.
Could the business be more efficient and scalable by bringing contingent workers into the fold? Is the market for independent talent lagging or becoming too competitive, necessitating a full-time hire? Is there a better path to upskilling and growth, such as an internship program? These are all questions an HR professional is uniquely equipped to answer with their in-depth knowledge of the organization’s talent needs.
Consider using a decision tree to determine what kind of talent is needed to build out an optimal staffing model for your business.
You can compete for top talent every day.
Employees and prospective employees have more sway in hiring, recruiting, and retention than they did before, and they’re constantly evaluating how and where they and their career paths fit best.
While compensation, benefits, culture, and potential professional growth will remain key drivers in people’s decisions to join, stay or go, so will the day-to-day experience of being an employee with your organization. It begins with onboarding. Dropbox Sign can help you refine onboarding (and close-out paperwork, if and when that happens).
If your small business can’t compete with larger hirers on pay, meaningful work can also serve as a differentiator, per the 2022 small business forecast.
Keep your eyes and ears open for cues on other factors shaping the work experience.
- Flexibility, community, and inclusive culture are top of mind for today’s workers.
- Work friends are also critical. More than half of BetterUp survey participants said they would give up some of their pay for strong relationships with coworkers.
- Employee activism is rising and takes as many different shapes as there are employees.
We hope you feel recharged! There are many reasons to be optimistic about HR in 2023.