Everything about Human Resources has changed progressively in the past two years – remote or hybrid working models, global recruitment, remote onboarding, increased dependency on technology. Many of these strategies were already in practice before, but the pandemic made them mainstream. Besides adjusting to the shift, HRs globally faced unprecedented challenges such as the Great Resignation, increased cases of employee burnout and mental health problems, and issues pertaining to employee engagement and retention. As we step into the third year of the pandemic, organizations have learned and experimented with different HR strategies. Although the top priorities of HR will keep on reshaping or evolving continuously, one thing’s for sure: they will be people-focused and business-oriented.
Here’s a list of HR strategies or trends that we can see or continue to see in the year 2023.
Employee Well-Being and Mental Health
In 2023, the core of HR strategy will revolve around employee well-being and mental health. The pandemic made us realize employee well-being and mental health are not the ‘good-to-have’ benefits anymore. Instead, they have become the ‘must-have’ benefits and a core part of human resource strategy. Work-related or personal stress is a part and parcel of everyone’s life. With work and personal life convoluting with each other in the past two years, it has only increased. Apart from stress, everyone globally also suffered from fear, anxiety, sleeplessness, paranoia, isolation, etc., because of their concern over the pandemic. As a result, it affected employee engagement and productivity.
But, during the pandemic, many organizations invested in wellbeing and mental health initiatives. In a survey of 52 HRs by Gartner in 2020, they found that:
94% of organizations made significant investments in their wellbeing programs
85% increased support for mental health-related benefits
50% of organizations extended additional support for physical well-being
38% improved their support for financial benefits
The survey further highlighted that those who used the benefits showed 23% improved mental health and 17% better physical health. But only 40% of employees reportedly took advantage of these benefits.
So in 2023, organizations not only need to invest in their employees’ well-being or mental health initiatives, but also make sure that they are utilizing them. This is only possible when these initiatives or programs are a core part of the HR strategy and business goals.
It will not only help in improving employee retention and engagement, but will also result in improved productivity, focus, and morale.
P.S. Employers have become more empathetic and understanding towards their employees in the pandemic era.
Work-life balance is crucial for all, and with the pandemic, it has gained more prominence.
Those who could manage to switch off their screens after working from 9 to 5 are great! But for others, as mentioned before, office and non-office hours got convoluted. This being said, some recognized that they work best sporadically in their highly productive hours. Nevertheless, on a larger scale, the struggle for maintaining the work-life balance while working from home has been real. It is something that HRs need to keep in mind while developing an effective HR strategies in 2023.
For some, work-life balance means spending time with family; for others, it means indulging in personal development or self-care. Having a work-life balance gives employees a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Additionally, it helps in reducing stress and fatigue. Ultimately, employees who are able to maintain a synergistic relationship between work and life, are more productive, engaged, and look forward to work every day.
Hybrid Work Will Continue To Grow And The Rise Of Metaverse
In a recent survey by Accenture, it was found that 83% of employees prefer working in a hybrid setup, and 63% of organizations have already adopted the “productivity anywhere” workforce model.
Globally, the last two years saw eminent changes in the way everyone worked. Hybrid work has now become the well-accepted norm in organizations and is here to stay.
Hybrid work benefits both the employer and the employees. It has given employees the flexibility to work from anywhere and have a better work-life balance. On the other hand, it has reduced employee overhead costs, office maintenance, and logistics.
In 2023, we would not be surprised if hybrid work transitions into the metaverse and meetings and other activities happen in it. HRs must re-imagine what the post-pandemic world will look like and re-design and innovate hr strategies. They need to focus on creating a fair and just workplace where nobody feels alienated or disconnected because of the place they work from. Irrespective of where they are working from, everyone should have access to the right set of tools to collaborate and communicate effectively with each other. Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and numerous other tools are available in the market to help your hybrid workplace stay connected.
Upskilling and Reskilling for Competitive Edge and Internal Mobility
Upskilling and reskilling of employees have always been a key part of core HR strategies. In the pandemic world, it has become more important now than ever. It is not only beneficial for the employees, but the organizations too. Employees get to build upon their existing skills or learn a new skill which helps them grow in their current job role or try out different job roles in the same organization. Access to various EdTech platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, and edX can help your employees with the reskilling and upskilling process.
Skilling initiatives are a sign for the employees that organizations have their best interests in mind. It makes them feel valued and important when organizations invest in them. It improves employee engagement and employee retention, and helps build a continuous culture of learning in the organization. On the other hand, organizations are able to close the gap in job demands from within instead of searching outside. It helps them save costs in terms of time and money. In these uncertain times, reskilling and upskilling your employees helps in building a resilient workforce ready for the future. It is a win-win situation for both the organization and the employees.
Creating A Diverse And Inclusive Workforce
A recent survey by Glassdoor highlights that 80% of Asians, 70% of Latinos, 62% of men, 89% of black respondents, 72 % of women prefer a diverse culture for work.
The above-mentioned survey clearly highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Organizations in the past have worked towards promoting D&I, but now is the time to make it a core part of HR strategy, if it has not been until now.
Organizations must focus on giving equal chance to everyone irrespective of their age, gender, sexual-orientation, nationality, educational backgrounds, ethnicity, race, political beliefs, etc. With this, organizations would have a bigger talent pool with different skills, capabilities and experiences. It promotes innovation and teamwork, and helps in improving employee engagement and retention.
Example: Currently, the workforce has people working from Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers. Organizations who have relaxed the criteria for age based hiring will have a workforce where employees can learn from each other based on their experiences. While boomers can share industry knowledge and their experiences with others, at the same time, they themselves can bridge their digital gap.
With a global workforce, it is almost close to impossible for the HR team to manage them physically. So the use of HR tech tools and software will be on the rise. Josh Bersin, an industry expert in HR tech, estimates the global market for HR Technology Solutions to be around $400 billion. This number is going to only increase overtime. A key part of HR strategy should be to include tools in their day-to-day work that streamline the employee management process. From onboarding to performance management, everything has become virtual due to the pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on HR Strategies
Q.1. What are HR Strategies?
A. HR Strategies are strategies created by the Human Resource department in collaboration with the leadership team to achieve organizational or business goals by maximum utilization of resources.
Q.2. What are HR Trends?
A. HR trends are changes or trends taking place in the field of human resource management or HR. It affects employee management, engagement, turnover, and retention. So they must respond to these changes and plan accordingly.
Q.3. Which trends will shape HR in the next 5 years?
A. HR trends should keep on evolving and reshaping with the needs of the organization. But here are some common trends which we might continue to see:
Focus on employee well-being and mental health
Adopting Hybrid Work and Metaverse
Upskilling and Reskilling Employees
Creating a Diversified and Inclusive Workforce
HR Tech Software And Tools
Book a free demo with us to know how Engagedly can help you reshape your HR strategies!
Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.