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Workforce Trends to Shape 2023

The last three years have completely shaped the labor market and how the workplace is understood. The world has seemingly gone from one crisis to another – from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the most recent inflation and rise in the cost of living. 

In 2022 companies were busy playing tug-of-war with workers over return-to-office policies while also engaging in a brutal war for talent to attract and retain only the best employees. Now, with a brand new year ahead of us, what is in store for the workplace of 2023? 

Here are some workplace and hiring trends that will shape the business world.

Technology and digital tools

The increased use of technology and digital tools in the workplace has been consolidated in recent years, and it’s not going anywhere. This includes using cloud-based software, collaboration tools, and virtual meeting platforms, making it easier for employees to work remotely or from different locations. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of these technologies, as many businesses had to transition to remote work in order to continue operating during lockdowns and other restrictions. Nowadays, the use of digital tools has proven to help businesses to increase productivity, improve communication and collaboration, and reduce the need for in-person meetings and travel. 

For example, cloud-based software allows employees to access work-related information and tools from any device with an internet connection. This has made it possible for employees to work remotely, as they don't need to be physically present in the office to access the necessary resources. Other tools such as collaboration tools like Asan, Basecamp, Slack, and Trello and virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet will continue on the rise, allowing employees to communicate and collaborate with each other in real time, regardless of their location.

Therefore, companies need to ensure that employees have the necessary training and support to use these tools effectively and to address any potential challenges that may arise, such as difficulties with technology or difficulties with adapting to remote work.

Remote work is here to stay 

Despite many companies encouraging employees to return to the office, employees aren't letting go of hybrid and remote work. Consequently, many companies have started following the increasingly common practice of having remote teams. Now, as we start the year 2023, organizations will become more comfortable with implementing this work structure. One of the most popular policies that workers will use their leverage for will be the option to work remotely. According to Forrester, the number of remote workers at the end of 2021 was 3x pre-pandemic levels, and 74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard.

Remote teams are a great way of cooperating and leveraging skilled specialists. In the case of software development, hiring a remote team of developers and engineers is a great strategy for success. Now more than ever, companies, big and small, around the globe are leveraging remote work to their advantage by hiring tech talent remotely.

Also, remote hiring allows companies to access a pool of tech talent around the world so that they can select the best talent for their project. In 2023, employers will reassess current hybrid working arrangements in order to rebuild culture, improve mental health and retain talent. 

A tight labor market

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic came along with tough times for employers to find new talent and retain it. This 2023, the situation is not looking different, as the economic downturn turned into a tight labor market and fierce and widespread competition to attract and retain talent. Some sources like Indeed and Glassdoor even believe that hiring will remain challenging for years to come, driven by demographics and evolving preferences. 

This context will lead to increased competition among employers to attract and retain workers but may also result in higher wages and better working conditions as employers try to attract and retain employees.

In other words, in a tight labor market, workers may have more bargaining power and may be able to negotiate higher salaries or better benefits. They may also have more job opportunities available to them, allowing them to choose from a range of options and potentially switch jobs more easily.

In that sense, we are facing a year full of challenges for employers who may struggle to find the workers they need to meet demand and may have to invest more resources in recruiting and retaining employees. Therefore, new, more novel acquisition strategies must come to the fore.

Companies should plan for multiple future scenarios and stay agile to navigate potential disruptions to hiring. Finally, companies that partner with staffing agencies will be better placed to survive a difficult talent landscape. 

Flexibility equals happiness 

Nowadays, workers prioritize flexibility in their workplace as a crucial element of their happiness and well-being more than they did before the pandemic. On this note, flexibility at the workplace can enhance good employee experience, which is crucial, for it not only determines the intent of an employee to stay with the organization but also their productivity and engagement. 

Successful companies do not treat their employees as mere workers but as human beings with complex emotions and lives outside work. Therefore, it is understandable that each of one them goes through multiple situations and experiences that can and will impact their performance within the workplace. 

Glassdoor and Indeed estimate that 90% of people believe that how we feel at work matters, but only 49% of people report their company is measuring happiness and well-being. Even the best employees need help from time to time, so make sure you’re offering plenty of support. Whether it’s professional or personal, proving that you’re on their side when they need you is one of the most important things you can do. It is vital that you take advantage of your communication channels and connect with your employees from a place of empathy. 

Try to implement mechanisms that improve your company’s flexibility. You can achieve this by allowing your employees to work in their preferred environment at their preferred hours to decrease stress and increase productivity. You can also advocate for a professional and personal life balance; you can do this by establishing healthy working hours or even making available mindfulness programs and mental-health resources for your staff. 

Be creative and bold to maintain a flexible work environment; as long as you maintain clear communication and become aware of what your employees need, you will come up with the right tactics to make your employees happier.

Retention through upskilling

It’s not all about promotions and salaries; in 2023, workers can expect their employers to invest more in training and upskilling programs to equip them with the skills they require.  Many employees consider opportunities to grow and learn as a reason to stay at their job; according to LinkedIn, 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.

But just offering employees with random learning opportunities won’t cut it. To improve your employee experience, it is important for you to give them the necessary amount o time and resources to learn in desired areas and facilitate them with the right tools to help them advance in their careers. According to a recent survey from Amazon and Workplace Intelligence, 83% of workers place improving their skills as their number one priority in 2023. Find out what motivates your team and provide the opportunities they’re looking for. This will help you improve your employee engagement to build a healthy work environment.

First, focus on helping your employees to establish a career path within your organization; this will allow you to know their aspirations and choose training accordingly to help them achieve their goals. Once their path is clear, make self-directed learning available, like webinars, schooling, training, or in-person events. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Another trend that has been gaining momentum is the focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Many companies are making efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable work environment, including through initiatives such as hiring and promoting more diverse candidates, implementing unconscious bias training, and adopting policies that support work-life balance and flexible scheduling.

Inclusion and diversity in the workplace can bring a range of benefits to both employers and employees. Some of the potential benefits include the following:

  • Improved decision-making: A diverse group of people with different backgrounds and experiences can bring different perspectives and approaches to problem-solving and decision-making, leading to better outcomes.
  • Enhanced creativity and innovation: A diverse team can generate a wider range of ideas and approaches, leading to more innovative solutions.
  • Increased competitiveness: Companies that are able to attract and retain a diverse workforce may have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Greater access to talent: By actively promoting diversity and inclusion, employers can tap into a wider pool of talent and find the best candidates for open positions.
  • Enhanced company reputation: Companies that are seen as inclusive and welcoming to people of all backgrounds may have a better reputation and be more attractive to customers, clients, and top talent.
  • Improved employee engagement and retention: Employees who feel included and valued in the workplace are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work, which can lead to improved retention rates.
  • Increased productivity: Research has shown that diverse and inclusive teams can be more productive, as they are more likely to feel respected, valued, and supported in their work.

Although the 2023 workforce landscape is complex and challenging as businesses and workers face acute ongoing financial obstacles, now is the perfect opportunity for business leaders to learn from the past and prepare for what might lie further down this and the upcoming years.

It is not the time to let their guard down. It is crucial for team leaders and HR teams to keep on top of trends and be more flexible and creative than before to sort out whatever this new year brings. 

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