Twenty twenty-two was a “great” year for the workplace.
We had the Great Resignation, the Great Reevaluation, the Great Reshuffle and the Great Breakup.
These trends have given way to buzzy HR catch phrases such as Quiet Quitting, Quiet Firing, and Quick Quitting. All of these buzzy terms are reflective of today’s dynamic, ever-changing workplace — a workplace impacted by an ongoing pandemic, economic uncertainty, and global conflict. Not to mention employees who are demanding more from their employers. More personalized benefits, more flexibility, more leadership development opportunities, etc.
Gartner researchers even claim that “HR leaders face a historic amount of disruption, and their timeline from planning to action keeps shrinking while the imperatives increase.” What changes will we see in the HR landscape next year? What will it take to attract, retain, and nurture top talent? And what initiatives should HR leaders include in their 2023 planning? Here is what to keep in mind…
HR Leaders Must Address the Needs of Four Generations in an Ever-Changing Workplace and Meet Them Where They Are.
The “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” concepts aren’t really new; they are just new terms that have been relabeled and rebranded for the new workplace era. How can you preempt and prevent some of these trends at your company? There are four different generations in the workforce right now — Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. How can you holistically establish a shared culture with a common set of values while tending to the needs of each generational group? We need collaboration among generations in the workplace, but we also need “benefit equity” across the generations. HR must also be aware that each generational cohort has its own requirements, expectations, and demands. Older generations punched the clock and climbed the ladder while younger generations are asking for flexibility, purpose, and balance.
HR leaders should have strategies around managing different generations — and this will be critical in 2023 and beyond. Think about the sliding scale of needs. A Boomer nearing retirement is going to have very different needs than a worker who graduated from college two years ago. A new mom will want a different set of benefits than someone in her 20s or someone in his 50s. HR leaders should examine the core pain points for each demographic and work to create benefits that are scalable at the moment of need — and factor in potential “macro” changes (pandemic, economy, potential fuel shortage). When I say “scalable” benefits, I mean just-in-time support for a worker with an immediate need vs. the blanket benefits (healthcare, vision, dental). A meeting with a financial coach could help an employee during the home-buying process, while another coach could help a new mom with postnatal care. (TaskHuman offers access to coaches specializing in these areas and many more.) More potential and current employees will be looking for this just-in-time support from their employers.
Women Leaders Are Demanding a New “Business As Usual” — And They Aren’t Afraid to Walk.
Speaking of employee expectations, we are in a war to win over and retain women leaders in the workplace. Women leaders, in fact, are leaving companies at historically high rates. In the 2022 “Women in the Workplace” report, which surveyed 22,000 women and 18,000 men, Lean In and McKinsey & Company discovered that it’s critical to women that they work for companies that prioritize career advancement, flexibility, employee well-being as well as diversity, equity and inclusion. And these women are and will continue to break up with their jobs (“The Great Breakup) when these needs aren’t met. Next year (and beyond), women won’t tolerate the push to return to “business as usual.” They won’t accept daily commutes to the office or the “petering out” of mental health or diversity initiatives that were kicked off two years ago.
How can employers reduce the risk of losing their female leaders (and the next generation of women leaders, too)? First, companies need to appreciate where women are physically, mentally, and emotionally. Burnout has hit women leaders the hardest because they continue to balance work and family — and this was exacerbated during the pandemic when children were basically homeschooled. Women will continue to evaluate (“Great Evaluation”) if it makes sense to work to carry the home mortgage and basically a daycare mortgage. Or would it make more sense for her to work part-time or start a side business? Does “remote flexible work” mean flexible hours? On the talent development front, is your company hiring women at an equitable pay rate? Are you creating just as many opportunities for women as men? These are key questions HR leaders should ask to attract, build, and retain female talent.
The CHRO Will Take (And Keep) A Seat At The C-Level Table In 2023
The CHRO should be (if not already) at your company’s executive table in 2023. Today’s workforce, with its potential for turnover and turmoil, requires that the CHRO be one step ahead of the Great Resignation, Great Reevaluation, and Quiet Quitting trends — and address them before they reach the company’s door. That person should be communicating regularly with leadership weekly about succession planning, recruitment, and talent development. If the CHRO is removed from the leadership equation, or if the C-suite receives second or third-hand information about issues in the workforce, the organization is at a disadvantage.
Whether it’s women leaders leaving, low morale in a specific department, or demand for a particular type of training, the CHRO can communicate and educate company leaders about what’s going on — and how to address it. The CHRO can work with leaders to do effective talent development and succession planning, advocating for maximum investment in employees. Some organizations shy away from talent development because they see it as setting these workers up to leave and take their talents elsewhere. We will begin to see a culture shift in which employers see training not as a checkbox item, but as an ongoing effort to develop well-rounded staff — and to support them as individuals both personally and professionally. This will create a more effective, engaged, and happier workforce for the long term.
Companies Will Move Toward An automatic Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) — Without Need For Repeated Training
During the last two years, most organizations kicked off Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training sessions. We will continue to see DEI efforts move from a compliance “must” to powering a culture that doesn’t have to be “trained” into people. DEI programs will move beyond corporate messaging, HR policies, and mandatory training from theory to practice. In other words, inclusion and representation are seen as the norm at work. Companies will practice what they preach (and train).
Whereas the last two years were about learning the basics of DEI terminology, unconscious biases, and microaggressions, now it’s action time. HR should have reviewed (and updated, if needed) policies, processes, and planning — think recruitment and promotions — to ensure they are inclusive. We should now begin to see a more blended, equitable, and representative workforce. Different backgrounds yield different ways of managing projects, working in teams, and communicating with colleagues — and this diversity is the means to innovation.
In An Uncertain Economic Environment, Sales Must Be Prepared To Pivot
Sales professionals are always laser-focused on hitting their numbers, goals, and quotas. What happens when customers make it difficult to do that? When prospects don’t have the funds to invest (or continue investing) in their company’s products? When they aren’t earning the usual commissions? Longer sales cycles, lower budgets, cautious buyers, doing more with less — these may well define the sales landscape in the coming year.
Any sales team worth its salt knows to prioritize current customers and focus on upselling during potential downturns. In fact, according to Bain and Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can bring in 25% to 95% more in profits. Sales professionals should also be prepared to spend more time defending their product against competitor offerings. And companies should provide salespeople with coaching, tools, and resources to help them manage customer concerns about price increases and greater market changes.
Also, sales leaders should keep the channels of communication open with C-suite leaders as well as salespeople. The sales team may have questions about how inflation or current economic conditions may (or should) affect quotas. Sales leaders should evaluate how economic patterns may affect buyer behavior and sales forecasts — and if buyer behavior may change across the board or only in specific areas. Transparent communication and dialog about potential adjustments to sales quotas, compensation, or pricing is key — and this will also keep salespeople informed, productive, and motivated.
Smart Companies Will Be Prepared To Address Any Friction That Results From An Unpredictable Year
Workplace friction comes in many forms: an uneven talent development plan, worker burnout, and lack of equitable benefits. A forward-looking company should “look inward” on problems they are experiencing. Is there an issue with attrition? Are workers fearing a layoff? Are they quiet quitting?
If there have been layoffs or another difficult event (such as a hurricane or natural disaster), how do you support grief counseling? How do you help workers recover and move forward, united? Owners and leaders should support their employees when they are at their lowest — this boosts worker morale and also drives loyalty. Do not shy away from candid conversations with workers: “Hey, we know this is happening right now, but we will meet you in the middle. Here are some resources we can offer…”
TaskHuman offers a coaching, learning, and development platform for all aspects of an employee’s work and personal life — and offers a number of resources to support employees throughout the most challenging of times. Our 1:1 digital coaching platform allows users to instantly discover and connect via video call with more than 1,000 coaches in 50+ countries. Our coaches are ready to help employees individually and collectively on 1300+ topics ranging from mental well-being, remote work setup, finance, work productivity, leadership, and sales coaching.
HR leaders should prepare for an unpredictable 2023. The question is, are you and your company ready?
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