2023 predictions for HR: From "quiet hiring" to help with healing

Analyst company Gartner has issued its top 2023 predictions for HR leaders, and the appearance of hybrid working and expanding talent pools will come as no surprise.

Emily Rose-McRae, senior director in the HR practice, said many of the challenges people specialists had faced in recent months would continue into 2023.

"HR leaders have faced an increasingly unpredictable environment amid many organisations mandating a return to office, permanently higher turnover and burnt out employees," she said.

The company's top 2023 predictions for chief HR officers and HR directors are:

"Quiet hiring" will happen despite recession

Although some companies will need to announce restructures or redundancies, the labour market will continue to be competitive, said Rose-McRae. Current employees will be deployed to high priority activities, meaning others will need to be reskilled and other posts will need to be filled.

There will be more flexibility on the front line

More than six in 10 organisations have an on-site requirement for employees whose work can be done remotely, according to Gartner. In 2023, employers will build more formal strategies to grant flexibility to front-line workers, for example through more control over schedules, more paid leave or more stable rotas.

Managers will need to manage up and down

"Many managers are struggling with how to balance the need to implement corporate strategy on behalf of senior leaders and provide the sense of purpose, flexibility, and career opportunities that their employees expect," said Peter Aykens, chief of research in Gartner's HR practice.

This year will see HR support managers more to build their skills to manage this gap, and they will also better clarify managers' priorities and redesign their roles where necessary.

Organisations will pursue non-traditional candidates

As more employees seek non-linear career paths, companies must adapt how they attract and retain talent, Gartner predicts.

This means they will need to become more comfortable assessing candidates solely on their ability to perform in the role, rather than credentials and prior experience. We have already seen organisations use strategies such as relaxing formal education or experience requirements, or specific programmes aimed at attracting candidates from non traditional backgrounds.

Businesses will help employees "heal" from pandemic impact

In 2022, employees' stress and worry grew above even 2020 peaks - nearly 60% of employees are stressed at their jobs every day, according to Gartner data. This means that in 2023 organisations need to support proactive rest for employees so they can maintain emotional resilience and performance.

A July 2022 Gartner survey of nearly 3,500 employees found that when organisations offer proactive rest, they see a 26% increase in employee performance.

They will fight against DEI pushback

With a number of employers reporting pushback against diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, this can make for a fraught atmosphere. In 2023, Gartner urges HR teams to equip managers with the tools and strategies to engage resistant employees before it evolves into something more disruptive.

Organisations will face greater data risks

The rise of technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital assistants and wearables means there is more data available than ever on employees. If organisations choose to use this data, they must be weary of privacy issues. Gartner recommends businesses create an "employee data bill of rights" this year to show employees how data is collected, stored and processed, and how they can opt-out if they wish.

Technology will mean more transparency

A number of governments or employee bodies have expressed concerns over the ethical implications of using AI at work, particularly in recruitment. Organisations that use AI and machine learning in their hiring processes, as well as the vendors that provide these services, will face pressure to get ahead of new regulations and be more transparent about how they are using AI, Gartner predicts.

Employers will need to build social skills

The shift to working remotely or hybrid work means many Gen Z or new employees have not enjoyed as many opportunities to establish connections with colleagues in the office. Rather than forcing employees back to in-person work, leaders need to build intentional connections among employees across geographic and generational boundaries, Gartner said. They can do this by providing three key things: employee choice and autonomy, a clear structure and purpose, and a sense of levity and fun, it added.