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Priorities for 2023 – Insight from HR Professionals

| 02/09/2023 | Blog

The festivities are over, and the realities of the new year are sinking in and being actively addressed by HR and business leaders.  How do your priorities for 2023 align with those of your contemporaries?

If your strategic priorities are focused on the big picture – leadership, change and the employee experience, you are in line with the majority of your HR colleagues. The challenge of actually managing talent, over and above the role of administering the processes necessary to keep the HR engine moving, is where HR and the C-Suite can agree on a common goal as 2023 gets underway.

Please continue to our blog for some timely insights on the top HR priorities for this year and how they coincide with those of senior leadership.

Focusing on the Future: HR Leaders Explore What to Expect

It’s early in the new year—a time when people often assess priorities and look at what to expect in the future. That goes for human resources thinkers, too. With all the change the workplace has seen over the past few years, it’s no wonder HR leaders are looking at trends and priorities with an especially careful eye. Flexible work, the role of technology, the economy, scarce talent, and the need for more diversity, equity, and inclusion top the list of focus areas, but HR leaders also are examining how their profession is changing and how they should meet new challenges.

Focus Areas for 2023

To identify the top priorities for HR in 2023, research and consulting firm Gartner surveyed more than 800 HR leaders. The strategic initiatives HR leaders said they are prioritizing for 2023 are:

  • Leader and manager effectiveness;
  • Change management;
  • Employee experience;
  • Recruiting; and
  • The future of work.

The Gartner research found leader and manager effectiveness to be a priority for 60% of HR leaders, but 24% said their leadership development approach isn’t preparing leaders for the future.

Organizational design and change management were priorities for 53% of HR leaders. The research also found that employees—who have been dealing with enormous change in recent years—are fatigued and resistant to more change. “HR leaders must help employees to navigate change and mitigate the impact that change may have on their work and, more importantly, their well-being,” the Gartner report says.

On the employee experience, Gartner found that HR is struggling to determine the internal moves employees must make to grow their careers. With people spending less time in the office, career options are less visible. Also, current skills are rapidly becoming obsolete.

The Gartner research also found that 50% of organizations expect the competition for talent to increase in the next few months, meaning recruiting leaders must reprioritize their strategies to handle current needs, plan for multiple potential scenarios, and make decisions with confidence using data.

The future of work was found to be a priority for 42% of HR leaders, but 43% said they don’t have an explicit strategy for what’s to come. The solution lies in new thinking, according to Gartner’s report, which says, “Instead of assuming we can predict future skills needs, access enough talent, fill future gaps by buying and building, and dictate when and where employees work, we need a new approach that unlocks new strategies.”

How HR (and Others) See the Field

As HR leaders consider the future, they also look inward. Workplace software company Sage released a study in November that examined how HR practitioners see their profession and how HR’s impressions mesh with views from the C-suite.

The research found respondents recognize that HR needs to evolve from predominantly an administrative function to a field that takes on a more strategic focus, with a greater consultancy role. Most also see the scale still tipping, however, in favor of the administrative area.

The survey found 73% of HR leaders saying their focus was primarily on processes. That view was shared by 76% of C-suite leaders. The Sage research found widespread consensus in the HR community that the days of HR being seen as an administrative function—managing humans as a resource—should be relegated to the past. The survey found that 73% of HR leaders and 85% of C-suite leaders think the term “human resources” is outdated.

Looking to the future, the Sage survey found that 91% of HR leaders and 95% of C-suite leaders are excited about the future. Despite that excitement, 66% of HR leaders say they are worried about the future of HR.

The Sage research also looked at whether today’s HR leaders may be tomorrow’s C-suite executives. The survey found 91% of HR leaders saying they have the right skills to become a CEO, while 95% of CEOs said the same thing.

When looking at what priorities should be for the future, HR leaders and CEOs aren’t completely on the same page, according to the Sage research, but both groups put talent management at the top.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion was second on the list of priorities for the HR leaders, but it landed a bit down the list in the C-suite, which put financial growth in the second spot.

Employee health and well-being landed third place on the list for HR, while the C-suite put efficiency and productivity third among priorities.

Article courtesy of content partner BLR.  Author Tammy Binford writes and edits news alerts and newsletter articles on labor and employment law topics for BLR web and print publications.