Another year has passed for HR. If it feels like time flies, perhaps HR professionals are busy, caught in the middle. The end of the Great Resignation and Tightening the belt Which marked the waning days of 2022 — not to mention chatter about it Possible recession.
That doesn’t even take into account The changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has more or less defined the objectives of HR for the past two years. HR leaders are still sorting out the long-term impact of the pandemic on the way people work, not least of which is How their organizations will approach flexibility and the role of remote work and hybrid work.
The same conversations that will dominate HR’s attention in 2022 Largely overlapped With CEOs, CFOs and other C-suite executives. The pandemic may have shown how central people issues are to core business processes and goals. Now that HR leadership has the focus, it will be up to the profession to highlight its role in responding to the challenges of 2023.
Following are five HR trends that are likely to dominate this year.
#1: HR’s position as a partner to leadership
At its core, HR must partner with leaders to maintain influence over the organization’s direction, said Rebecca Kehoe, associate professor of human resource studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “It’s a two-way street,” notes Kehoe, but that doesn’t absolve HR from stepping outside its comfort zone to understand the needs of the business.
In her work teaching for Cornell ILR’s master’s program, Kehoe said such conversations have taken center stage: “Increasingly, we’re doing a good job of training them to understand the needs of the business and those needs need to be at the center of our policies and decisions.”
This is very similar for veterans officers in the field. Reggie Willis, chief diversity officer at Ally Financial, told HR Dive in an interview that interacting with management and leadership has become a key part of his job over the past few years.
“For many HR leaders it’s, ‘How do you provide that guidance?'” Willis said. “That’s the million dollar question.”
Part of that job is communicating organizational priorities to workers as well. That job has always been important, but it’s especially top of mind for workers in many industries a year later Made his voice heard. Public debate about wage increases, severance benefits, flexibility and other issues increased in 2022, and Kehoe said she expects many of these trends to continue.
“At a certain point, every organization will have to land on how to address each of those trends,” he added. “From an HR perspective, there is a need to be more proactive in establishing the position and role of HR within the organization around various issues.”
#2: Flexibility: An opportunity for HR to prove itself
Transparency has become a central theme In the final months of 2022, employees and regulators alike have demanded this from organizations. Internal pressure is also increasing. The October 2022 Conference Board Report found that investors are looking to company boards Develop a clear human capital management strategy And connect those strategies to business and financial results.
Flexible working is just one opportunity for HR to engage with leadership and demonstrate transparency in 2023. In the early stages of negotiations to reopen offices, Kehoe said she was surprised to hear that many organizations were pushing back-to-office decisions onto managers, letting them make the decision. Which arrangements worked best for their team.
Some may still take this approach, but “in many cases what HR found was that managers themselves were uncomfortable navigating flexibility within their teams, and they didn’t want to put the burden of that decision on them,” Kehoe said. .
Instead, HR can step into a more supportive role, providing policy information, guidance and support to managers who may not know how to navigate flexibility. Willis said Eli’s human resources department does this in part by educating leaders on authentic, purpose-driven leadership strategies.
“It’s really about that compatibility,” Willis said. “For some people, coming to the workplace is an outlet and a much-needed opportunity for collaboration and heads-down work.” But the organization’s core values, he said, should extend to where employees are working.
Regardless of whether an organization will allow employees to work from home permanently, at some point, or none at all, it needs to take a clear stance — and HR can be a key player in making that stance, Mike said. Lamm, VP of People, Americas at technology company Monday.com.
According to Lamm, collaboration has weighed heavily on the minds of HR staff at Monday.com over the past few years. The company has moved entirely to remote work and recently began opening new brick-and-mortar hubs to bolster its North American operations. In that process, he said, Monday Dotcom must balance the personal support and community aspects it sees as central to its culture while maintaining the flexibility to serve employees.
“With the expectations in the office, the overall game is that you have to take a stand on it,” Lam said. “What’s worked really well for us and for other companies is that transparency is what people want to hear.”
Making a policy does not end the work. It’s essential for leaders to have human resources to help manage through the changes brought on by flexibility and other trends, Willis said. He notes that helping leaders helps them think about what it means to be authentic, act with purpose, and express themselves.
Human resources departments, Willis said, can talk How to establish trust with employees And make sure the work is being done as well as make sure the workers have the safeguards to check. “You have to be aware of how your teams are engaged in this environment, how you’re providing outlets for communication and making sure work is being done at the same level.”
#3: Objectives respond to recessions
The US has faced a weak economic outlook for months, and Corporate layoffs are heavily featured In early 2023 titles. Adding to the uncertainty, many organizations The workers budget is being cut Despite the continued need for skilled talent, according to a recent survey of CEOs and CFOs by Mercer.
In a climate like this, HR needs to refocus on purpose and its place in modern organizations. Willis said this has become an important focus for Ally as the company reduces its external hiring. “What can we do for our employees and our public leaders to keep them thinking?” He said. “What does it mean to be a human leader? What does it mean to be sympathetic?”
These questions may not be easy to answer, but they’re important to keep in mind as social and economic issues bleed into the workplace, Willis said. To that end, he added, employers must consider how to unify employees around a sense of purpose and community.
Purpose will be an important attraction for talent, Kehoe said, in terms of how an organization approaches purpose in the context of external issues as well as enterprise-wide goals. In particular, if employers clearly communicate how employees create value through their work, it can help employees feel they are making a difference in their roles, she said.
“It gives employees something to hold on to and value as their work day in and day out,” Kehoe added.
There are other aspects of the employee experience that can contribute to a sense of purpose. Willis said Eli’s annual stock grant program is an example of a program that can help align employee success with the organization. “It creates a mindset that is pervasive, that says we have some skin in this game,” he said. “We all have the ability to affect stock prices by the actions we take and the care we give each other as employees.”
#4: Talent operations turn inward
Without the ability to expand hiring in the new year, many organizations will need to reassess what they can do with their internal talent pools to meet future needs, Kehoe said. That work could see employers recommit to employees’ personal career trajectories, a trend that could prove problematic for the industry.
“If HR has gone there, it’s been in terms of succession planning for high-level roles,” Kehoe said.
HR professionals don’t have to create internal mobility plans themselves. Instead, they can work with front-line leaders to determine short-term and long-term needs, and align those needs with employees’ own career goals and skill sets.
It can also help HR consider employees in one segment of the organization can be developed nonlinearly To work in completely different roles or domains. Kehoe suggested the idea of a “lateral” approach to talent mobility, in which employees who may not be ready to take the next step forward in their careers develop skills and competencies that allow them to contribute in new ways. other viewpoints, Like a job shadowmay also apply.
Still, managers may not have the bandwidth to facilitate this kind of growth, Kehoe said, meaning HR teams can step in to provide training, resource guides and real-time support.
In addition to internal pipelines, employers may also want to explore how they can leverage Alumni networks and client organizations, such as suppliers, to find potential talent. “When you hire from a trusted partner you know what you’re getting,” Kehoe said, “and that can be a foundation for building trust with external partners.”
#5: Staying the course despite change
For all the progress HR departments have made in their work over the past three years, there are fears that progress will slow. Diversity, equality and inclusion programs are a particular focus along these lines; A 2022 Glassdoor survey found Access to DEI initiatives It was 41% in the third quarter of last year, compared to 43% in 2021.
Willis said he has seen those concerns first-hand. Commitment from top leaders can help, however, and it can help HR people reevaluate their approach.
“Be very intentional about why you’re doing this work,” Willis said. “Challenge your organization to see if the current state of things is leading us down the path to success in this regard, and if not, what can we do to change that direction?”
At the end of the day, founders, CEOs and other leaders make and own business decisions, Lam said, and the HR role has the power to shape those decisions.
“We finally have a seat at the table,” he said. “But that seat is evolving in a way. The value we placed on HR leaders at the beginning of the pandemic, I think it made people realize how important this role was. “
HR departments need to hold themselves and their organizations accountable to the previously mentioned goals, especially in areas like DEI, Willis said. Qualitative results, such as the amount of money an employer gives to charitable causes or the number of connections made with external community partners, are one way to do that.
“Stay the course,” Willis said. “Keep score, and make sure you’re measuring what you’re going to do.”