The future of work – what trends will HR see in 2023?

A survey of 850 leaders reveals top priorities for HR as we prepare our teams for 2023

The future of work – what trends will HR see in 2023?

Rising inflation, scarce and increasingly more expensive talent, and global supply chain volatility means organisations are facing challenging times ahead. Technological research and consulting firm Gartner surveyed 850 HR leaders, and uncovered the five main priorities they’ll be focusing on as they head into 2023.

The top five priorities of 850 HR leaders

  1. Leader and manager effectiveness – A top priority for 60% of HR leaders.

The most common challenge that emerged was leadership development. 24% of HR leaders say their current approach doesn’t prepare leaders for the future of work.

  1. Organisational design and change management – A top priority for 53% of HR leaders.

Employee fatigue emerged as a common challenge, with 45% saying their employees are fatigued from all the change.

  1. Employee Experience – A top priority for 47% of HR leaders.

A common challenge found here was that 44% of HR leaders believe their organisations do not have compelling career paths.

  1. Recruiting – A top priority for 46% of HR leaders.

36% of HR leaders say their sourcing strategies are insufficient for finding the skills they need.

  1. Future of work – A top priority for 42% of HR leaders.

51% of HR leaders say their workforce planning is limited to headcount planning.

“The key challenge for HR is they’re being pulled in lots of different directions at the moment,” Arj Bagga, director of HR advisory at Gartner, told HRD. He explained that HR has been in the limelight for the last few years, stepping up to be a key leader in the executive team, and now the function is more varied.

“HR teams are trying to increase productivity, look at employee experience, organisational structure, hybrid work.,” Bagga said.

Read more: New Zealanders reveal employee priorities

“The main message I’d have for HR leaders is to be very selective with what you pick as your big bets for the next 12-24 months, align those directly to your business strategy and really get buy in from your leadership team that these are the key things that will help create a competitive advantage,” Bagga said.

The future of work: Three pressure points for NZ organisations

Fully flexible work

Hybrid work has widely been embraced and accepted as part of the future of work, and Bagga believes that this will only accelerate. Leaders will need to look at ways of providing additional flexibility to their workforces.

“I think a lot of the building blocks that have been put in place right now will form a foundation but there will be a lot more acceptance of full flexibility as opposed to partial flexibility,” Bagga said. “I think a lot of companies will start to see that as a necessity in terms of attracting the right talent.”

Read more: Annual survey asks HR professionals to reveal their key priorities and challenges

Increased automation

Bagga said another trend we will start seeing in the future of work is increased automation of operational and transactional tasks, especially in an environment where companies are looking to cut costs.

“One of the biggest costs to a company is labour costs, so looking at how they can use technology and automation to be able to offset some of those transactional or operational tasks,” Bagga said.

Workforce re-skilling

The future workplace will also see the re-skilling of the workforce.

“A lot of people in roles right now who kind of do those operational transactional tasks are being re-skilled to use technology, being re-skilled with digital capabilities, to be technology professionals as opposed to more operational backgrounds,” Bagga said.

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