By: Ber Leary on December 8th, 2022

Print/Save as PDF

HR Trends 2023: How to Guide Your Team Through the Coming Year

Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball that could show you the future? If so, you might not have been surprised by the HR trends that transformed things over the past two years.

From Covid to remote working to The Great Resignation, it's been a bumpy road. The big HR trends of 2023 might be equally surprising, but it's possible to make some predictions right now. 

Thanks to Helios HR consultants Courtney Pannebecker, Rosa Salas, Jenna Louis, and Kim Moshlak for contributing to this guide. 

10 Biggest HR Trends in 2023 

Here's a quick summary of some of the main trends you might consider when setting your HR goals for the year ahead:

  1. New cyber threats aimed at HR
  2. Rising salaries in response to the cost of living
  3. The ongoing debate about remote work 
  4. Government passing employee-friendly legislation
  5. The end of always-on work culture?
  6. A revolution in leadership development 
  7. Rethinking our relationship with HR technology
  8. More conversations about labor organization
  9. Work-life balance as a solution to quiet quitting
  10. Humanity matters more than ever

Let's look at each of these in turn and talk about what you can do to attract, engage and retain talent. 

Download the guide: 20 Question to Ask Your HR Leader

1. New cyber threats aimed at HR

In June 2022, the FBI warned businesses to be on the lookout for a new cyber threat: fake job applicants. Scammers use deepfake video technology and stolen personal credentials to apply for remote roles. If a criminal manages to get hired, they will have unrestricted access to sensitive data, including customer information.

Cybersecurity will be a vital HR skill in 2023. Your HR team will need to follow best practices so they can keep data safe—and keep the scammers out.

Helios HR advice

  • Work with your local IT experts to create secure digital processes
  • Educate your team on best practices and teach them how they can help keep data safe
  • Take extra precautions when dealing with people outside your network, including job applicants

2. Cost of living will put pressure on earnings

Salary increased by an average of 5% in 2022, the highest increase since the pandemic. However, inflation surged at a much higher rate, which means that most workers have experienced an effective pay cut. Around 71% of people now say they’re struggling to meet their financial commitments.

This has serious implications for employers. Candidates will have higher salary expectations, while your current team might be wondering if it's time to seek a higher-paying job. Financial stress also affects employee wellbeing, which can lead to burnout, illness and staff turnover.

Helios HR advice

  • Benchmark your salary structure against up-to-date competitor data
  • Leverage benefits and other Total Rewards to ensure that employees feel valued
  • Talk to your team about their financial wellbeing, and provide support through your Employee Assistance Program

3. The Remote Work debate will continue

It’s been three years since the pandemic started, and now around 50% of business leaders want to see a full return to the office. Remote work, they say, is bad for productivity and damaging to team cohesion.

Employees disagree. Remote jobs receive seven times as many applications as similar in-office positions, while 61% of employees say that they would prefer to be fully remote.

This creates a retention risk for employers. If you don’t meet employee expectations regarding remote work, they could pick up and move to an employer that will.

Helios HR advice

  • Communicate with your team and find out about their remote work expectations
  • Be as accommodating of employee needs as possible
  • If you choose not to grant a remote work request, be sure to explain why
  • Offer support to those who need to telecommute for work-life reasons, such as childcare or education

4. Employee-friendly legislation will grow

The current federal government (plus many state governments and local administrations) have expressed a commitment to empowering workers. For example, the White House is pushing to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which gives workers the right to salary transparency. State and local legislatures are also working on employee-friendly laws. 

New laws often lead to new compliance requirements. HR teams will need to be ready to provide reports, co-operate with audits, and generally prove that they're compliant. For HR leaders, this means training your team and keeping accurate records. 

Helios HR advice

  • Pay close attention to local, state, and federal changes in regulation
  • Ensure that your HR team are compliant with any new rules
  • Work with a trusted HR partner if you need additional HR expertise

5. The end of always-on work culture?

The downside of remote working is that employees increasingly feel the need to be always on: checking work emails on their phone, or putting in extra hours at their home office.

One survey found that:

  • Half of all employees check email outside of work hours
  • 44% say they never feel fully switched off from work
  • 58% say they are neglecting their physical or mental health

Legislators in Europe are acting on this by introducing Right To Disconnect bills. Employer are also voluntarily tackling the always-on culture, which can leads to stress, burnout, and higher staff turnover.

Helios HR advice

  • Encourage employees to fully disconnect during their downtime
  • Urge your team to use their full vacation allowance where possible
  • Advise your team to only send non-urgent emails and DMs during business hours

6.  Leadership development will evolve

HR is going through a transitional time. We’ve seen external challenges, such as the pandemic and increased remote working, and internal challenges, like the generational shift as Gen Z joins the workforce. How do leaders keep up?

A Gartner survey found that only 24% of HR leaders are satisfied with their current leadership development strategy. Many organizations are now considering a root-and-branch review of their current development programs and looking at ways to create a new generation of leaders.

Helios HR advice

  • Review your talent pipeline, including succession planning
  • Consider the changing needs of the workforce: most Gen Z employees want leaders who support their work-life balance
  • Work with trusted HR partners to develop a future-proof leadership development program

7.  More challenges to the rule of technology

HR technology has made it much easier to recruit and engage employees, but can we always trust it? And what about new technology, like Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

These are important questions with serious compliance implications. The government may introduce an AI Bill of Rights soon, which would place limits on how you use AI tools to handle personal data.

Businesses might also have to rethink the way they store employee information. In California, the CCPA act now extends to worker data, giving people greater control over their digital files.

Helios HR advice

  • Work with your IT team to find legal and ethical HR technology solutions
  • Make sure that you only store personal employee data if you absolutely need it
  • Be wary of the pitfalls of AI: for instance, AI-powered applicant tracking systems can sometimes discriminate against candidates based on protected characteristics, such as race or gender

8. A rise in labor organization

Unions became a hot topic in 2022, with successful unionization efforts occurring in big companies like Amazon and Starbucks. Interestingly, the union in Amazon’s New York warehouse is an independent union formed by two employees—a shift away from the tradition of large, centralized unions.

Labor organization tends to happen when employees feel that they can’t communicate with leadership. For businesses that don’t want their teams to unionize, the priority must be to focus on communication and the employee experience.

Helios HR advice

  • Make sure that employees can voice their concerns, both on a team level and one-to-one
  • Act on employee feedback and try to help your team understand the big picture
  • Invest in your Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategy, so that all groups feel equally represented.

9. Work-life balance as the answer to quiet quitting

“Quiet quitting” was the big buzzword of 2022, as workers everywhere refused to go beyond their contracted hours or duties. Quiet quitting was often a response to stress and burnout, especially after the difficult times of the pandemic. Most people weren't quitting, but protecting their wellbeing. 

To their credit, most leaders understand that the work-life balance is the key to better engagement and retention. Wellness-related benefits can help a lot, but it's also important to examine how your HR policies can address employee burnout.  

Helios HR advice

  • Use pulse surveys to identify any issues with employee engagement
  • Leverage your Total Rewards strategy to offer health benefits
  • Facilitate flexible and remote working where possible, so that employees can better manage their time

10. Humanity matters more than ever

We’ve talked about how technology, legislation and the economy will shape HR in the coming year. But Human Resources is, ultimately, about humans. Our job will always be about helping people to enjoy a great employee experience.

Even in the age of remote working, 45% of people still prefer to have face-to-face meetings where possible. HR’s role is to help facilitate that experience, and to train leaders on how to communicate with empathy.

HR professionals also have to be on hand to listen, advise, and support people through whatever challenges lie ahead. No matter what happens in 2023, there will be a need for the human touch.

Helios HR advice

  • Look at the way you train leaders on communication and people skills—are you showing them how to be empathic managers?
  • Use pulse surveys to find out if employees feel that they are cared for and supported
  • Find a trusted HR partner that can deliver your strategy while supporting your values

Helping you find HR success in 2023

Helios HR has been supporting businesses in the Greater D.C. area for over 20 years. We've guided our clients through tough times, and we've helped them grow in good times, while always staying true to their mission and values

No matter what lies ahead, we can help your business thrive. Book a call with a Helios HR consultant and let's talk about your future!

Download the guide: 20 Question to Ask Your HR Leader