What HR Departments Need to Start Focusing On in 2023
Recent years have established the critical role of human resources in helping organizations transition to the digital age. During crisis periods like the pandemic, HR departments helped field benefits information and new sick leave policies for companies with essential workers. Many professionals also had to leap from an administrative focus to a strategic and agile role that maintained the balance of hiring and laying off employees.
As the calls to return to office (RTO) increase, HR policies must consequently adjust to new and evolving workplace needs. In our article, we review a few of these necessary changes and their implications for HR in 2023.
Hybrid work setup
The online work setup became a priority in recent years as pandemic-induced lockdowns took place worldwide. The flexibility that working from home offered employees allowed them more opportunities to develop a better work-life balance and multitask. Meanwhile, companies no longer had to spend unnecessarily on operating costs like rental fees and electric bills for offices.
Given the impact of remote work, it’s important to strike a balance with the call to RTO and to highlight how this can also be advantageous to workers through equal access to facilities or the cultivation of better work relationships. HR departments can look towards creating stronger policies around hybrid workplace models in 2023 instead of taking a step backward by returning to the “old normal.” For example, established companies like SAP, Twitter, and Spotify have already led the way in shifting to a permanent hybrid setup.
The four-day work week
Working from home provided the flexibility that workers craved. For many, however, it also resulted in longer hours and feelings of never being disconnected from work. Many workers today continue to report burnout, which WHO preemptively cautioned in 2019.
Through observation, experts have posited that productivity was the product of the flexibility of remote work and not longer hours. Thus, four-day work weeks could help mitigate burnout for workers who have been struggling with “logging out” during remote work. Pilot projects, like those of Iceland and the 4 Day Week Global initiative, have already shown dramatic improvements in the productivity and wellness of participating employees.
At last count, 98 companies have been documented to have four-day workweeks. In 2023, more HR departments may assess whether their company is a good fit for a reduced workweek. To do so, HR departments should start testing out different variations and workforce structures to help make a more accurate estimate of the impact on profitability.
In a recent survey by Sage, 95% of over 1,000 HR leaders agreed that HR is too much work coupled with limited budgets and a lack of resources. Many companies have thus turned to investing in technology and upskilling their HR departments.
In our previous article on how HR can enhance productivity, we listed tech, such as software onboarding tools and workforce management tools, that should become standards in HR in 2023. HR automation programs such as ThinkAutomation or Freshteam already help HR departments parse through thousands of resumes and applications. These tools ensure that HR can accommodate the steadily increasing demand for work, as 96% of workers will continue to look for a new job in 2023 according to Monster.com.
Many employers leveraged video platforms like Zoom, Google Meets, or Microsoft Teams during remote work to conduct applicant screenings. Because there are more job openings than unemployed workers, companies must rigorously assess candidates to ensure a good fit. Virtual interviews, which cost much less than in-person interviews, enabled this assessment.
Candidates also benefit because they have more control over where they interview, which allows them to perform more comfortably and confidently. These mutual advantages solidify the role of virtual interviews in the HR hiring process. HR departments must continue to implement and improve this aspect even as adjustments due to the changing world of work continue.
By staying proactive, HR departments can effectively support the future of employee engagement and retention. Employees and employers alike will thus be able to enjoy better benefits in productivity and wellness in 2023.