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Top HR Priorities for 2023

HR priorities

Do you have your HR priorities lined up for 2023? Too many to count? We compiled some studies on what HR teams are focusing on in the New Year that may help you refine your own efforts.

Rethinking Leadership Effectiveness

In its Top HR Priorities 2023 report, Gartner names leader/manager effectiveness as the top priority for HR leaders. About 60% of the HR folks they surveyed counted it priority #1, with 24% admitting that their leadership development approach does not prepare leaders for the “future of work.”

What is this “future of work” we must all be preparing our leaders for? Gartner sees social and political turbulence, work-life fusion, and flexible work arrangements redefining the leader-employee dynamic, creating the overwhelming need for human-centric leadership. In short, a refinement of soft skills and emotional IQ (EQ) is needed.

“Human-centric leadership [is] defined as leading with authenticity, empathy and adaptivity. These traits have been listed for some time among the key qualities of great leaders — but they were considered nice to have. Employees today demand them,” Gartner asserts.

Leveling Up on Employee Wellness

Nearly half of employees responding to a recent Gympass survey say their wellbeing declined in 2022, and 28% say they are miserable at work. Additionally, Gallup data finds employee stress at an all-time high, with 60% of employees emotionally detached at work. With wellness fueling the Great Resignation of 2022, HR leaders know it’s critical for retention.

But what is the “it” that makes the biggest difference? Many leaders thought it was work-life balance, but we’re finding that hybrid work—what workers thought they wanted—is stressing us out. Employers made strides in providing access to mental health benefits to discover that only a fraction of the employees who feel they need it actually use it.

For these reasons, employers are further refining and enhancing wellness benefits in 2023, enlisting the help of their workers to decide how it should be done and what perks they will truly embrace. Mercer found that 61% are surveying employees on their benefit preferences to help them determine what is best for their employees, culture, and business. HR priorities include balancing affordability, equitability, benefits gaps, and family-centered care.

And how does work-life balance come into play? That remains a puzzle. About 52% of employees told Gartner that flexible work policies will affect their decision to stay at their organizations. HR priorities in 2023 must include decoding what “flexibility” means to their specific workforces.

Technology Is Fueling Other HR Priorities

According to the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR), the pandemic has propelled digital transformation four years into the future, and now is the time for HR to harness it. Every other priority—leadership training, wellbeing initiatives, recruiting (which we’ll take about next), and more—can be supercharged with digital tools.

AIHR envisions a near future in which artificial intelligence (AI) will help 80% of companies hire, fire, and train workers, and even sees HR embracing Meta’s virtual reality metaverse as a legitimate workspace and training ecosystem. For most organizations, however, the HR priorities surrounding digital transformation include small, incremental advances with huge impacts, like continued efficiencies in paperless onboarding and HR-related self-service tools for workers.

“HR teams are continually expected to do more, so technology can help bridge any potential labor gaps, and allow HR professionals to have more time to focus on strategic tasks,” explains HR services provider Paychex.

Getting Creative With Recruiting

Nearly half of HR leaders told Gartner that recruiting was among their top HR priorities in 2023, with 36% admitting that their sourcing strategies are insufficient for finding the skills they need. While the economy adjusts and readjusts, a continued surge in demand for top talent is expected. In other words, competition for talent won’t get easier, even if the economy cools (we’ll cover more on that next month). Wages remain high and rising, as well, despite a potential economic slowdown—forcing employers to do more with less.

Therefore, it’s time to get creative.

“There’s no better time to work with a recruiting partner who can help you identify areas of improvement,” says  Stephanie Grubbs, Regional Managing Director for The HT Group’s Staffing Division. “For instance, what roles can be filled through lateral moves to make room for hiring at entry level? When was the last time you modified your job descriptions or evaluated your wages? What candidate pools have you overlooked in the past?”

For recruiting and retention, your work culture and initiatives matter, too. Case in point: A McClean & Company study found that HR departments that are high performing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are 2x more likely to be high performing in recruiting.

HR priorities have evolved at break-neck speed over the past few years. Much has been learned (and most of it by sheer necessity). From what we’ve heard from HR leaders, 2023 will be about taking stock of what has changed and putting parameters around it. How can lessons in leadership training, wellbeing initiatives, digital transformation, and recruiting challenges become best practices moving forward? We’re excited to help you discover those answers.