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SHRM

Looking Ahead to 2023: Speaking Out on Social Issues, Pulling Back Remote Work

Alex Zekoff

Social Conscience

"A [2021] study found that 6 in 10 workers approve of business leaders wading into social issues and 78 percent say it's important to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion. This trend is on the rise, and we will likely continue to see employees value workplaces that, in turn, value them." 

Antoine Andrews, chief diversity and social impact officer at San Mateo, Calif.-based Momentive-AI, the maker of SurveyMonkey 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) "DEIB is the future of HR. Because of their commonalities, I see a significant overlap in the roles diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging leaders and HR leaders play within a company. A DEIB leader may sit in on performance reviews as an impartial observer to identify possible bias. These leaders may also contribute to onboarding to ensure that the company is thinking through the lens of inclusion.

"DEIB is evolving into what HR was originally built to provide: a safe space for employees. Soon, more companies will merge DEIB and HR as partners to lead their people—from the C-suite to entry-level employees—to think with an inclusive mindset."

Ivori Johnson, director of DEIB at people analytics platform ChartHop, a remote-first company headquartered in New York City

Rise of Chief Talent Officer

"As companies tighten their purse strings in the wake of a potential economic downturn, we [expect] to see chief talent officers step forward and help with three critical initiatives: first, reposition their companies and cultures as top employers to a post-COVID workforce; second, become more focused on internal talent and leadership development as they review cost-of-acquisition versus cost-of-training; and lastly, to do a holistic review of their work policies, benefits and career paths—both internally and externally.

"Chief talent officers will step in to consolidate control over hiring budgets with a laser focus on the long-term value of each hire and, at the same time, create tension between recruiters, search firms and HR teams as everyone tries to do more with less and squeeze blood from a stone." 

James Larkin, managing partner for performance and growth at the New York City office of Marlin Hawk talent consultants 

'Anywhere Work'

"We can predict a shift from remote work full time to a more hybrid work model or completely in office with the option for more-flexible at-home working. The pandemic taught us all that the need for human interaction and collaboration is essential to growth and companies need it to achieve their goals."

—Jared Pope, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Work Shield 

"Four in 10 hybrid-working companies will try to undo 'anywhere work' and fail. Our 2021 data shows that 66 percent of U.S. firms have adopted hybrid or anywhere-first strategies, but 49 percent of leaders expect to alter their return-to-office approach. … In 2023, we predict acute confrontations in the companies that don't listen to and collaborate with employees in shaping hybrid-work policies."

Forrester Research report Predictions 2023: Future of Work 

Job Seekers in Control

"Despite economic uncertainty, job seekers still have the power. … It's still a job seekers' market and will remain so into next year. Candidates will reject companies locked into perceptions of their abilities based only on past experiences without considering their potential for growth. Job candidates will keep exploring and prioritizing companies providing opportunities to develop skills further."

Bailey Showalter, vice president of product ecosystem partnerships and solutions at Credly by Pearson, a technology, information and Internet company based in New York City

Connecting with Global Talent

"Companies that have exclusively operated in one country may find themselves looking outside of their domestic market for the first time in 2023—not to access new customer markets but to connect with global talent.  

"From an HR perspective, the most essential and prevalent tool we'll see these companies implementing is an employer-of-record platform to serve as an 'in-country expert' as they scale their business globally."

Rick Hammell, CEO and founder of global human experience platform Atlas based in Chicago

Reskilling, Upskilling Prioritized

"We expect to see organizations prioritize learning and development solutions that offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities, including employer-sponsored education programs that are more flexible to encourage higher usage. This strategy will open new pathways to career advancement and internal mobility for succession planning. As a result, promoting talent from within companies will take on increasing significance to enhance retention and tame recruitment and onboarding costs."

Todd Zipper, executive vice president at Wiley publishing house in Hoboken, N.J.

Manager Training

"With record-breaking burnout and phenomena like quiet quitting—an absence of passion, motivation and trust for employees nearly everywhere—skilled management is today's success-defining element. … In 2023, as the economy worsens, we'll see businesses doubling down on their talent to keep people engaged, motivated and productive, and the key to that is manager training."

David Hassell, co-founder and CEO of 15Five, a performance management platform provider based in San Francisco 

Changes in Learning and Development (L&D) Teams

"As L&D becomes more data-driven thanks to the wealth of data created by digital learning systems, it changes the skill set for L&D itself. In 2023, I expect to see more L&D teams introduce data analysts, data scientists and business intelligence to their teams. This might be a dedicated person or, depending on resources, they might upskill existing L&D team members. It's an exciting opportunity for L&D, because having access to data and the people to analyze it will give them more of a voice in strategic conversations."

Janice Burns, chief people officer at New York City-based Degreed, a learning and skill-building platform

Spying on Employees

"Productivity surveillance will continue to be at the forefront of employees' and employers' minds, with 78 percent of employers currently using this software to spy on employees. We'll continue to see this method of leadership and productivity tracking questioned and debated. Those leaders who do not take a hard look at their productivity surveillance technologies, practices and data will risk losing out to their competitors. When you spy on your people, you trade trust, culture and morale for sketchy data and 'productivity theater,' which will remain true as we look to 2023."

Mark Banfield, CEO of 1E, a London-based digital employee experience management platform

'Woke' Is Out

"Being 'woke' is out in 2023. People want to address real problems as it pertains to war, food production, climate" and the like.

Alex Zekoff, co-founder and CEO of automation company Thoughtful, based in Chicago 

Workplace Well-Being

"Workplace well-being will remain important for HR going into 2023. The U.S. surgeon general, in its November 2022 Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being report, listed 'mattering at work' as one of its five essential initiatives to strengthen workplace well-being.

"HR has a real opportunity to improve workplace well-being by addressing the key aspect of mattering at work through making the connection between job role and purpose more explicit for employees."

Heide Abelli, adjunct professor at Boston College's Carroll School of Management and co-founder and CEO of SageX Inc., a provider of employee performance support based in Boston

Economic Uncertainty

"The biggest challenge of 2023 for leaders is going to be managing through economic uncertainty and increasing team productivity without burning teams out. This is going to take clear, honest communication throughout the organization and the setting of quality key performance indicators that everyone buys into within teams."

Tim Harsch, CEO and co-founder of business information platform Owler, based in San Mateo, Calif. 

Hiring Slowdown

"Employers have another challenging year ahead. With recession hovering over the global economy, they will struggle with a talent-constrained slowdown. Smart firms will invest in employee experience, but a majority will revert to seeing employees as mere cost centers."

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