2023 Global HR Trends: Adapting to an employee-first approach

April 21, 2023

The future of work continues to evolve and will require a more people-first approach. There’s a continued demand for things like better employee experience and workplace flexibility—and it’s critical to stay on the pulse of these changing needs if you hope to stay ahead of the curve and attract/retain top talent for your business.  

By adopting a flexible, people-centric approach (which we refer to as Work in Any Way), companies can keep employees’ wants and needs at the forefront of their HR strategy.  

Here are a few global HR trends that will impact how businesses around the world are approaching the employee lifecycle as we look toward 2023 and beyond.  

Global HR trends for 2023 

Investing in your current talent 

It’s a good idea to expand your recruitment strategy to include your existing workforce—whether it be tapping into your current employees when you go to fill a new role or to backfill one. Businesses can also show that they care about their current employees by providing upskilling opportunities, supporting independent learning activities, or simply checking in with them on a regular basis to see how things are going and how they think the company can best improve.  

Investing in current talent may be more important than companies think. In fact, over 50% of American workers may qualify as “quiet quitters,” according to a Gallup poll. What exactly does this mean? Quiet quitting is when an employee doesn’t feel engaged or fulfilled with their job.  

When businesses fail to invest in their current talent, their workforce becomes increasingly disengaged. That’s why retention efforts should be a huge focus of your HR strategy. 

These efforts could include conducting so-called stay interviews, in addition to providing upskilling and other personal development opportunities. 

1. Stay interviews 

A stay interview is arguably just as, if not more, important than an exit interview.  

Stay interviews are when employers interview their current employees to gauge their overall job satisfaction and morale. This process helps companies gain more insight into what keeps employees working for the organization and what aspects may need improvement. This can help organizations identify any initial pain points before they become full-blown problems.  

Stay interviews can be conducted by surveying employees, but it’s often more beneficial if the conversation is had face-to-face. In large companies, this may not be an easy feat, but conducting one-on-one stay interviews with a few people from different departments can provide businesses with quite a bit more insight into the needs of their current workforce. 

According to Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, employee turnover costs companies an average of $15K per departure of a salaried employee. In 2019 alone, 27% of the US workforce quit their jobs. Today, one in three people are expected to quit if current trends continue. However, the survey also found that 78% of the reasons employees left were preventable by the employer—which means companies have an opportunity to get ahead of these retention issues by implementing simple procedure changes, like stay interviews and upskilling. 

2. Upskilling 

Upskilling your workforce involves facilitating continuous learning—whether it be through training programs or other development opportunities—to minimize any skill gaps and expand an employee's abilities.  

A Gallup survey found that 65% of workers believe employer-provided upskilling is important when evaluating a potential new job, and 48% of American workers said they would switch to a new job if they were offered career advancement and training opportunities.  

Providing opportunities for upskilling is a win-win situation for both employees and their employers. It provides workers the opportunity to expand their skillset and grow their career, which often leads to higher employee engagement and improved rates of retention for businesses. A few examples of upskilling opportunities include: 

  • Virtual or online courses 

  • Lunch and learn sessions 

  • Mentorship programs or job shadowing  

Rethinking the employee experience 

A competitive salary package is not enough to attract and retain top performers. Now is as good a time as ever for companies to rethink how they can shape their employees' experiences in a meaningful way—which involves taking a more personalized approach. 

One way companies can achieve this is by asking for employee feedback before updating their perk offerings. By asking employees which perks they wish to receive, you could discover that they would prefer a tuition stipend over a gym allowance, for example. Or perhaps they would prefer paid online training, a lifestyle spending account, or even mental health days off. The point is, you don’t know until you ask. By catering perks to your employees’ needs and realizing they aren’t one-size fits-all, you’ll make your current workforce feel appreciated while simultaneously making your company more attractive to top talent.  

When evaluating your company's employee perks program, it’s important not to overlook the mental health component. Employees in today’s workforce place a high value on working for organizations that prioritize their mental well-being.  While offering occasional mental health days off is a great start, companies should explore other ways to show they truly care about the mental well-being of their staff. Examples of this could include offering free or reduced-cost therapy, ensuring your managers know what to do if they see a member of the team showing signs of emotional distress, and/or even facilitating a culture that truly supports a healthy work-life balance.  

It’s also important to consider the onboarding experience for new employees. For example, instead of approaching the onboarding process as a regimented system used to teach new team members how things are typically handled, you could ask the new hire how they best receive employee feedback or what kind of technology they’ll need to perform their job well. Then, use that information to optimize the onboarding experience for each new hire.  

Getting creative with worker classification 

Another global trend for HR leaders to contend with is the desire among workers to be part of the gig economy. In other words, many workers don’t necessarily want a full-time role at one company. In fact, 36% of US workers are part of the gig economy — and it’s estimated that this figure will reach 50% by 2027. Overall, the gig economy is expanding three times faster than the total U.S. workforce.  

This means companies need to be flexible about hiring contract, contingent, or even part-time workers. Not only can getting creative with worker classification help businesses reach more top talent, but it can also help with retention and overall employee happiness. 60% of gig workers feel they have much-needed flexibility compared to just 27% of traditional employees. 

This is a big component of the Work in Any Way approach—allowing employees to work in whatever way best suits them and even get paid in the currency or cadence they prefer. That’s why being flexible as a multinational business is critical in today’s market. 

Flexibility is key 

Forever hybrid is here to stay, and flexibility is the “new normal.”   

Today, workplace flexibility is the number one priority for job candidates, according to Criteria Corp’s 2022 Candidate Experience Report

For many businesses, this could mean being flexible about where the employees you hire are located. It’s highly unlikely that the talent you need will all be in one central area. By expanding your search to the global market, your business will unlock a world of opportunity and strengthen your workforce in the process.   

For employees, having flexibility around how and when they conduct their work is crucial. The shift to remote work during the pandemic proved that people do not need to be stuck at a computer in an office from 9-5 to get their job done—and a large part of the workforce has no interest in returning to this way of life. In fact, 75% of employees ranked workplace flexibility as their top choice benefit when evaluating a new position, according to a Workforce Trends Survey.  As more companies across the globe integrate workplace flexibility into their long-term strategies, it’s those who fail to do so that risk falling behind. 

But this doesn’t just mean being flexible around when and where employees work, it also means treating all candidates with their own unique concerns and priorities—and this begins with the recruitment process. It could be as simple as getting to know a candidate on a personal level. What do they like to do outside of work? Who and/or what inspires them? By taking interest from the start and allowing people to be themselves, it in turn benefits the company as it leads to a: 

  1. 140% increase in employee engagement   

  1. 50% increase in team performance  

  1. 90% increase in team innovation  

  1. 54% lower turnover 

  1. And a 150% increase in belonging  

Automation to support the greater HR strategy  

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, we’re beginning to see more automation in the workplace than ever before. This shift is in large part due to the pandemic, as many companies had to make the sudden shift to remote work, which in turn forced them to adopt a host of new practices around workplace technology.  

As a result of this change, 67% of companies sped up their use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Using advanced technology like automation and AI has the potential to help businesses immensely — whether it be by eliminating tedious tasks such as manual payroll entry, or by gaining a competitive advantage with the use of AI.   

For example, if you’re a company looking to expand internationally and capitalize quickly on global talent, GEO can help your business—and more specifically, your HR team—by providing them with automation to:  

  1. Streamline the onboarding process 

  1. Ensure compliance and avoid costly noncompliance fees 

  1. Automate local payroll 

  1. Simplify time and expenses 

  1. Manage everything from a mobile app 

By reducing the administrative burdens faced by many HR teams, they’ll have more time to support the greater HR strategy and focus on things like improving hiring, onboarding, and retention—and even keeping a pulse on global HR trends.  

Want to learn more about how our global employer of record solution can eliminate tedious work for your HR team and assist you in seamless and timely hiring across borders? Contact us today.  

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