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2023 HR Trends: 5 ways HR will transform deskless workplaces

From the game-changing impact of COVID-19 to the ‘Great Resignation’ and ‘Great Reset’, through to the ‘Quiet Quitting’ phenomenon and the economic slowdown, the world of work has rarely witnessed such a volatile run. Humanforce’s latest eBook examines five emerging trends that will impact not just how HR delivers value to business, but will also reinvigorate the employee experience.

From the game-changing impact of COVID-19 to the ‘Great Resignation’ and ‘Great Reset’, through to the ‘Quiet Quitting’ phenomenon and the economic slowdown, the world of work has rarely witnessed such a volatile run. Humanforce’s latest eBook examines five emerging trends that will impact not just how HR delivers value to business, but will also reinvigorate the employee experience.

Trend #1: The voice of employees will shape their experience at work 

Keen to create a more engaged workforce that is likely to stay with you? Listen to your employees, value their feedback, and involve them in decisions that impact their experience at work. This last point is often overlooked, yet it goes back to basic human psychology.  

The IKEA effect is a cognitive bias in which people place a higher value on things they’ve helped to build. Anyone who has been inordinately happy with their ability to build a flat-packed wardrobe from the Swedish furniture giant using a humble Allen key can attest to the power of the IKEA effect. Your involvement in its creation is what makes it so rewarding.  

The same principle can apply to the workplace. To get the most impact from any engagement or culture-enhancing exercise it should ideally have employee input from the start, rather than being handed down, fully constructed, from HR.  

Research shows that only 45% of frontline workers share their ideas with senior team members. Those without access to collaboration tools were 12% less likely to feel empowered to share ideas internally at work.  

Our eBook outlines three ways to gather feedback from deskless employees, including stay conversations, employee engagement and communication channels, and regular manager/employee catch-ups. 

 Trend #2: Demand for holistic financial wellbeing benefits will spike 

With the employee experience top of mind for many business leaders as the world of work continues to evolve, it’s no surprise to learn that employee health and wellbeing has worked its way up the corporate priority list. Gartner research shows that 70% of companies have introduced new wellbeing benefits or increased the amount of existing wellbeing benefits on offer over the past year.  

While offering physical and mental health benefits are now commonplace, financial wellbeing benefits are only now gaining ground, spurred by high inflation and cost of living pressures. 

Employers in 2023 will expand their financial wellbeing benefits to cover the entire spectrum of financial needs, with the foundation being coaching and education no matter where a person sits on their life journey. This is beneficial for both employees and employers. For example, research from EY shows that 20% of employee turnover is attributable to financial stress – so anything employers can do to ease that stress should be investigated. 

A holistic financial wellness program combines tools, education, and resources to help employees progress towards their goals – such as paying off debts or saving to buy a house – and create lasting behavioural change. Employers of deskless workers might consider offering the following benefits: 

  • Providing access to a professional financial or tax advisor, or partnering with a local specialist to offer these services at a discounted rate to employees.
  • Helping employees to save on tax with salary sacrifice schemes. This is where they pay for a benefit through their gross salary, which reduces their tax liability 
  • Subsidising travel costs to and from the workplace – this is a valuable perk for deskless workers who cannot work from home due to the nature of their jobs 
  • Using benefits to stretch salaries. An employee discount scheme is one way to do this, helping people save money on a range of items, from the weekly supermarket shop to health and travel insurance   

An emerging financial wellness benefit is offering access to earned wages – sometimes known as on-demand pay. Indeed, the previously cited EY research shows that 80% of surveyed individuals indicated they would use a form of on-demand pay. Read more in our eBook about the benefits of early access to earned wages and how it can help ease the load of financially stretched employees.

Trend #3: Skills audits will create career pathways and ‘sticky’ organisations 

While skills shortages are still very apparent in frontline industries such as care, retail and hospitality, 2023 will see a shift from hiring externally to focusing on internal talent movements and providing existing talent with upskilling, cross-skilling and re-skilling opportunities.  

Why does this matter? 2020 research from LinkedIn suggests that employees stay 41% longer at companies with high internal hiring compared to those with low internal hiring. 

To achieve this, a strategic approach needs to be taken, ensuring the training of skills is aligned with the capabilities the organisation needs to be competitive.  

It starts with a skills audit, which assesses an employee’s skills and capabilities to identify potential knowledge gaps or growth opportunities for an individual. This process also helps the organisation as a skills audit can act as a ‘heat map’ to identify strengths and weaknesses in the existing workforce.  

When the skills required for each role in the organisation are documented, this can act as an effective way to plan training initiatives and can help facilitate internal movement of talent. For example, someone might have 90% of what’s needed to fill a position in another business function, and just require that 10% of reskilling or upskilling needed to make them a great fit. 

Our eBook provides deeper insights into identifying ‘adjacent skills’, building personalised learning pathways, and using digital talent marketplaces to facilitate internal staff movement.

Trend #4: ‘Purpose’ will dominate more human-centric EVPs 

With more employees questioning the role of work in their life, it’s up to employers to reposition themselves as something more than profit-making machines. More than ever, purpose matters, and more companies will be attempting to create a more human-centric employee value proposition (EVP).  

Pay and benefits are still important to employees, but they also want jobs that are intrinsically motivating and provide a sense of meaning and purpose, community and camaraderie, and growth and development. In addition, employees want their employer to take a stance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. How an organisation handles these areas in 2023 will shape their employment brand. 

On all ESG issues, employers must tread a delicate balancing act: take a stance on issues like human rights, social equity or environmental sustainability, for example, and risk upsetting certain groups; or be a more placid observer by not commenting or taking any action at all. The Josh Bersin Company calls HR the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to anything relating to corporate culture – and ESG is no different. Their research states: 

“Every new issue that impacts employees – such as diversity and inclusion, fairness in pay, and mental health – reaches HR first, and then becomes visible to CEOs and CFOs. This is also the case with climate change.” 

Tips for boosting ESG include: 

  • Reviewing your company’s supply chain to ensure it is sustainable, diverse, and transparent 
  • Measuring and reporting on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics 
  • Engaging with charitable organisations – perhaps by offering annual leave for employee volunteering 
  • Prioritising cybersecurity and employee training around compliance issues 
  • Being transparent and honest with employees, stakeholders and the general public 
  • Understanding your ESG ratings with in-depth reporting and company analysis on issues such as diversity, climate change action and resilience plans 

Our eBook delves deeper into what these trends mean for business leaders and how to become a purpose-driven organisation. 

 Trend #5: HR tech investments will be optimised  

With global economies faltering and layoffs, job cuts and hiring freezes are already occurring, 2023 will be a crucial time for HR to avoid budget cuts – especially when it comes to technology. HR leaders need to show how any new HR tech solution will provide ROI. 

Investing in new technology is one thing; having it deliver expected ROI is another – and a lot of that comes down to effective change management. According to Boston Consulting Group, only about 30% of companies navigate digital transformation successfully. Why?  

It’s possible there are missed opportunities when it comes to driving tech adoption. A study of deskless workplaces by Frost & Sullivan found that inefficiencies related to change management and adoption processes prevent almost one-third of organisations from meeting or exceeding their frontline worker goals and objectives. 

It’s also possible there are faults with the change management process. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the lack of resources or budget that result in failure of change initiatives; rather it’s human behaviour. Behaviour that does not support the intended transformation – i.e. resistance, scepticism and lack of buy-in from employees and managers – is often the deciding factor. 

Our eBook outlines just how critical the role of managers in tech rollouts and tech usage is, how change fatigue might be impacting ROI, and how to adopt a people-focused approach to change management. Download your 2023 HR Trends eBook here. 

How Humanforce can help 

Humanforce is a leading provider of shift-based workforce management solutions that simplifies onboarding, scheduling, time and attendance, pay, employee engagement, and communication.  

If you want to learn more about how Humanforce can automate and simplify workforce management and payroll processes in your organisation, schedule a demo, or contact us. 

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