Opinions expressed by australiabusinessblog.com contributors are their own.
The new year always brings a new perspective to our lives and work. And as with any fresh start, smart leaders devise strategies to increase and maintain productivity workers engaged and help take their business to the next level.
A nuanced view of gender equality, a more cohesive workforce and unique ways to engage workforce through wellness are just three trends likely to see in the workplace in 2023. It is hoped that they will make the corporate culture in the US much more welcoming to employees.
In 2022, the buzzwords included flexible working, prioritizing focus and increased transparency to help leaders better connect with their workforce. So what will 2023 bring?
1. Closer collaborators
Around this time last year, Covid-19 slowly resurfaced for a dark and gloomy winter. Some employees had already started returning to the office, but many companies turned around and sent staff back home. Fast forward to the present; a lot has changed in a year. People are back in the office, hybrid working has solidified and a seismic shift has taken place.
Related: Workplace trends that will shape 2022
What has been the result? While many employees are happier, 65% of companies say it was “challenging” to boost morale and create a cohesive corporate culture as people work remotely.
In 2023, these issues are likely to be tackled head-on: how can we make hybrid working work better for everyone? This could include more days of meetings for the entire team while people are in the office so their travel time is productive. It could also mean creating a more attractive workplace to ensure that when people come in, they experience the benefits.
While many companies have focused on corporate social responsibility in recent years, some have fallen into the trap of “greenwashing”: tricking others into believing their company is doing more to protect the environment than it actually is.
In addition, the generation now entering the labor market — Generation Z — gives priority to working in companies that contribute to a better world.
So as the need for corporate social responsibility grows, companies need to focus on the meaningful action they are taking now to protect our planet and the people on it.
What are you doing this week, month or year to make a difference?
Focusing on this will have a desirable effect on your business. In a Gartner 2022 study of more than 30,000 people, 87% thought companies should take a public stance on social issues. They found that when companies take a stand, they can expect an increase in the number of employees moving on at work: 18% more employees showed a high degree of “discretionary effort” among vocal employers compared to companies that remained silent.
Related: 6 signs it’s time to take on surgery for the first time
3. Attention to well-being
Mental health and burnout have long been part of the conversation when we talk about improving work and the culture around it, especially since the Covid lockdowns.
But as we approach the end of 2022, a shift is taking place – for the better. The American Surgeon General reported that 71% of employees believe their employer is more concerned about their mental health and well-being than ever before. This is a huge step forward that we need to understand and act on. In response, the US Surgeon General has released a framework that aims to support workplaces in improving the mental health and well-being of their employees. This includes: Ensuring growth opportunities exist, valuing employee contributions, strengthening social connections in the workplace and focusing on achieving better work-life integration.
We are likely to see more mental wellness initiatives and strategies adopted in companies that provide meaningful and practical assistance to their employees – from once-a-month self-care days off to more wellness benefits, mental health first aid training and even workplace adjustments.
4. A nuanced view of gender equality
End of 2022, Harvard Business Review surveyed high-achieving professional women in the US and found that while some women fly high on the surface, they adopt a set of specific maladaptive behaviors and beliefs to get by, and suffer as a result.
Women reportedly sacrifice their needs, beliefs and sense of individuality to stay on top or even just to “fit in” to get that promotion. One woman said, “Denial is the only way I can survive and do the job I was hired to do.”
While gender equality has been part of workplace discussions for decades, the conversation will become more nuanced in the coming year. Companies will strive not only to reduce the gender pay gap and to get more women into senior positions, but also to listen to women. Listen to their voice, their ideas and their creativity. Hiring women for positions of power when they feel powerless will not change the equality landscape. Ultimately, it is the realization that women bring their strengths and ideas to the fore and don’t have to adapt to traditional company values and structure to be successful.
Related: 3 Ways You Can Brand Your Candidate Experience To Attract Top Talent
5. Invest in leadership
It’s never been easy to get into a leadership position, but now more than ever it can be complicated to navigate. Leaders already deal with business pressures, budgets, negotiations, strategy and more. They must also support and lead communication, transparency, well-being, engagement, inclusion and equality for all their employees. And now? They must lead change: prioritize social impact, meet the needs and wants of their employees and customers, and adapt their business to a changing social landscape.
In a HR Insights Survey 2022, CCI Consulting found that more than 50% of companies are missing one vital skill that can make a difference: “leading change”. Therefore, in 2023 we will likely see an investment in leadership through coaching, courses, training and exposure to diverse strategies that could work.
There is much hope that 2023 will see positive steps for the business world, enticing those who have left the workforce to re-enter it. But in order to do that, there must be a real commitment to the issues discussed above and a belief that things will improve with dedication and effort.