As 2022 draws to a close, what does next year have in store for business owners?
Dan Schawbel of Workplace Intelligence summarised his top 10 work trends for 2023 which give useful insight for US businesses. While it’s generally the case that where the US goes the UK follows, to demonstrate this factually, where relevant I’ve cross-referenced Dan’s points with some interesting, UK-based evidence.
1) How will businesses react to rising inflation and entering recession?
While it’s not the most positive note to begin the new year on, challenging economic times have unfortunately had their front row seat for 2023 officially confirmed therefore businesses and staff will need to adapt to ensure their survival.
Back in September, ONS labour market data reported that open vacancies were dropping at a rate not seen since 2020 with the employment rate hitting 3.6%, the lowest percentage since 1974. Experts have warned this might mean the post-lockdown jobs boom is coming to an end.
Next year will see even more businesses weathering the storm by taking drastic action to drive growth, reduce risks or cut costs.
2) Career mobility and upskilling will be highly desirable priorities for employees
Employees’ top 3 priorities were confirmed by LinkedIn’s ‘2022 Global Trends Report’ as compensation, work-life balance and flexibility. However, these are closely followed by upskilling and opportunities for growth.
HR Magazine reported back in March that two-fifths (41%) of UK companies will implement large-scale upskilling or reskilling programmes to retain top talent and address skills shortages.
Bearing in mind two out of three workers said it’s likely they’ll leave their company in 2023, because there aren’t enough opportunities for skills development or career advancement, demonstrates just how important it is to shore up your employer training opportunities.
3) 2023 is the year of employee benefits
An attractive benefits package will always enhance a company’s ability to attract and retain talent.
However, while some workers expect their companies to improve traditional benefits (eg. pension and healthcare), they’re also looking for new offerings like an emergency savings fund, mortgage assistance or even being paid in cryptocurrency. Although this suggestion pre-dates November’s FTX crash.
It’s also expected that employers will feel an increased expectation for employers to help people with their financial situation. This includes offering more affordable benefits, as well as providing tools and programmes designed to bolster employees’ financial well-being, such as tuition reimbursement.
4) Mental health support will stay firmly at the top of the staff wellbeing agenda
While it’s extremely positive that employers are already going to great lengths to improve the mental health of their workforce, there’s undoubtedly still a long way to go.
In September, the UN confirmed that an estimated 12 billion workdays are lost annually due to depression and anxiety, costing the global economy nearly $1 trillion and as result more action is needed to tackle mental health issues at work. With various terms like the great resignation and quiet quitting also emerging this year, ensuring you’re doing all you can to avoid you staff feeling burnt out in 2023 is essential.
5) Businesses will continue optimising their hybrid and remote work models
A whole three years on since the beginning of the pandemic, many organisatons have perfected the craft of effective hybrid working. In June, the CIPD reported that three quarters of employers offered hybrid working, but were undecided whether it was here to stay. However, with even better technology to support and enable remote working, it won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
However, as we embrace this new way of working, it’s essential to remain vigilant to challenges that come with having dispersed team members, in particular feelings of isolation and loneliness. In a study by Silicon Reef, 41% of people aged 18-36 experienced loneliness when working remotely. Therefore 2023 will see businesses fine tuning their hybrid working models even further to ensure they’re maximising opportunities for their staff to feel more connected and build stronger relationships.
6) Offering staff flexibility will still give you the edge
As companies continue to call staff back to the office, it’s worth noting that the ONS reported that 1 in 5 Brits want to work full-time remotely and the term ‘remote work’ is searched for 18,000 times a month according to Google.
In a survey of 2,000 staff by Owl Labs, they found that 60% would take a pay cut for flexible working hours.
For anyone who hasn’t yet boarded the hybrid working train, making this a priority in 2023 will be crucial to retaining and attracting talent.
7) Retain, retain, retain
Speaking of retaining talent, the impending recession is not only going to cause business owners to review where they can make cuts but keeping hold of existing staff will also be crucial.
Employers will need to reconsider their workforce retention strategies or they could find themselves facing an even worse talent shortage. Therefore it’s essential businesses not only focus on improving compensation, but also on creating more meaningful work experiences to holistically drive employee well-being.
8) Automation and AI will continue to enter the workplace in new ways
Effective automation of processes can cut costs and free up precious time and resources. As the technology continues to develop and improve, 2023 is likely to see companies investing further in tools that offer speech recognition, information-gathering, and organisational and calculation tasks to name just a few examples.
9) Web 3.0 technologies will transform all aspects of people’s lives
2022 is deemed the year of the newest version of the world wide web: Web 3.0, built upon the core concepts of decentralisation, openness, and greater user utility.
Web 3.0 spans innovative technologies from NFTs (digital assets) to blockchain (digital verification) to metaverses (virtual worlds) are already changing how we work and live, and it’s only the beginning.
Will we see companies start paying staff in cryptocurrency in 2023? The jury remains firmly out on this, based on crypto’s volatile nature. However, it’s like that companies will invest in Web 3.0 technologies to enhance and modernise their workplaces.
10) Pay transparency will become the new normal
The lack of pay transparency in the workplace has an awful lot to answer for including the gender pay gap as well as completely absent fair pay structures.
Just last month a law was passed in New York that required businesses or employers of domestic workers to list “good faith” salary ranges for any posting for a new job, promotion or transfer opportunity
On International Women’s Day back in March, the UK the Government announced last they were launching a pilot scheme where participating employers list salary details on job adverts and stop asking about salary history during recruitment. This is because evidence shows listing a salary range on a job advert and not asking applicants to disclose salary history provides a firm footing for women to negotiate pay on a fairer basis.
As I’ve previously commented, the only time it’s acceptable to not be transparent about what you pay your staff is when you have something to hide. Hopefully 2023 will be the year of closing salary gaps and tackling pay inequality head on.