Top HR priorities in 2023

Key ways that Human Resources can keep up with the pace or workplace change

Human Resources has arguably been tested beyond measure these past few years. With seismic shifts to remote working, mass resignations and the quiet quitting movement, ever increasing economic volatility and global geopolitical uncertainty, HR leaders and teams will undoubtedly be braving themselves for a challenging few years ahead. 

Here we will review the anticipated top trends that HR will prioritise in 2023 and beyond.

Priority 1️⃣: The Shortage of Talent

The Talent supply shortage is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the term ‘war for talent’ was first coined back in the late 1990’s by Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company. Harkin argued that the demand for top talent was increasing whilst the supply of the talent needed was decreasing and limited. Placing greater pressure on organisations who needed to not only compete within the leading talent pool. But who were also competing to find a competitive advantage in a labour market where superior talent was hard to not just find, but also to retain. 

What motivates talent? | Source: McKinsey Quarterly

In 2023 and beyond, HR’s priorities will continue to be shaped by the demands placed on organisations by the ongoing shortage of talent. The shortage for those operating in industries like tech have been well known for the challenges found in attracting the numbers of talent required to meet demand. 

Attracting and retaining talent are becoming increasingly difficult/competitive

Yet, the tech sector is now being accompanied by more industry sectors, as global talent shortages take a firmer grip and factors such as Brexit in the UK exacerbate talent shortages further. 

It makes sense that the leading priority for HR teams will be responding to the demands for growth, which has a large dependency on the talent that can be attracted and 2023 will continue to call on HR teams to identify new and innovative ways to recruit and retain talent. 

These endeavours will of course benefit from having a strong company culture, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy and a hybrid or remote working practices that maximise accessing the capabilities of talent in geographical locations distinct from specific office settings. 

Priority 2️⃣: The Employee Experience

The priority of focusing on the employee experience, is sure to be a leading one for HR teams throughout 2023. 

It is noted in HR thought leadership that during periods of workplace change, organisations who are able to define employee experiences that are tailored to the needs of individuals, deeply connected to purpose and founded on authenticity are those that go on to thrive and excel. 

The fundamental tenets of employee experience are those that acknowledge and accommodate what matters to your employees. These factors are described by Mckinsey & Company as being the nine elements to get right and include. 

  1. People & Relationships 
  2. Teamwork 
  3. Social Climate 
  4. Work organisation 
  5. Work control & flexibility
  6. Growth & rewards 
  7. Purpose 
  8. Technology 
  9. Physical Environment 
Employee experience takes into account what people value in the broadest sense, acknowledging how life stage, personal circumstances, and even personality type make different propositions attractive for different people | Source:
Employee experience takes into account what people value in the broadest sense, acknowledging how life stage, personal circumstances, and even personality type make different propositions attractive for different people | Source: Mckinsey & Company

Priority 3️⃣: Talent Management

With recruiting and employee experience being leading priorities for HR in 2023, it makes sense that talent management will accompany these leading focuses for HR leaders. 

Talent Management is in many ways concerned with the talent lifecycle of the organisation: attracting, identifying, developing, engaging, retaining and deploying those who are of value to its success.  

Yet the challenges facing organisations in 2023 will call for a far closer alliance between the organisational objectives and talent management strategy, then perhaps ever before. 

CIPD’s extensive research into Talent Management has identified that many organisations have expanded their definition and application of talent management beyond that of recruitment alone, to consider the talents or all employees. Whilst identifying ways to harness and develop their strengths.

People professionals consider talent management to be a key priority

Talent management as a holistic approach to organisational development encompasses the following, as recommended by CIPD:

  • Leveraging data and evidenced based outcomes to take a strategic approach to workforce planning
  • Focus on how to maximise the internal mobility of talent within the organisation
  • Maintain and increase the focus on flexible working, work-life balance and arrangements for employees that support integration between work and home life.
  • Continuing to prioritise diversity and inclusion through a recruitment strategy that has consistency baked into its procedures and talent assessment criteria
  • Evaluating in-house capacity and applicant, tracking, recruitment software to ensure it offers an end to end capability, automation and on demand applicant tracking. Coupled with easy pipeline management, interview scheduling and reporting – Much like our offering here at Sage HR

The advantages of getting talent management right within your organisation can contribute to a wide number of strategic objectives. These include increased productivity, engendering a meaningful workplace environment. In addition to building an engaged and high performance workforce. 

Priority 4️⃣: A human-first approach to leadership and management relationships

Leadership and management has evolved far beyond a remit designated purely to drive performance, productivity and profit. The legacy nature of management in many organisations adapted in recent years to encompass taking the metaphorical temperature of employees in the workplace, with a bid to maintain efficient output. 

However through a combination of disruptive industries, developing management techniques and market forces. Including the recent global pandemic, it has led to what is set to continue as a priority for HR in 2023 and beyond; a human-centric approach to management. Yielding outcomes that foster relationships, increase individual and team morale. Whilst reducing employee attrition, churn and negative employer brand reputational damage.

HR practitioners and futurists alike have long espoused the advantages and importance of human centred management. In 2023 it’s clear that the continuing emergence of the future of work this practice of leadership and management will become far more focused as a strategic intervention. 

The future is now. Don’t delay.

Several ways that your organisation can get started with the adoption of a human first approach to leadership and management include.

1. Recognising employees as human beings with complex and varied needs

Organisations and HR like are being called on to recognise that all humans have a central need and desire to be both understood and heard. 

Through the acceptance of this principle, and acknowledgment of the value employees bring as unique contributors to the workplace experience. The ideals, ambitions and ideas of these employees can be leveraged to the positive advantage of both the individual and wider organisation.

2. Investigate employee ideas for the potential value they will bring to the organisation

HR can work with management to lead the discussion around ideas exploration and development. Through the introduction of questions such as, how are employee ideas being captured and how frequently are these being tapped into? Does the organisation have a culture of seeking to understand employee ideas and opinions? If not, how can this be factored into the organisational culture and 360 feedback capturing practice?

3. Champion a culture of lifelong learning and continuous improvement

The soft skills of employees are arguably irreplaceable by automation. Yet the continuous development in technological advancements does mean that the need for continuous improvement and professional development is seismic. By HR championing a culture of lifelong learning in the workplace, the talent that exists within the organisation can grow at pace with change.

Priority 5️⃣: Leveraging Contingent Workforce Talent

Contingent workers — those who form the freelance and contract workforce are set to continue their pivotal role amongst HR priorities in 2023. 

Thanks to the continuance of the Great Resignation and its aftermath, organisational talent gaps are remaining open for longer and workforce recruiting plans are hitting roadblocks. With this, the contingent workforce is now composed of those who may previously have held salaried positions, but have been lured away to more flexible options often provided by contingent opportunities. 

For HR this presents a blend of both challenge and opportunity achieved by seeing the benefits of contingent work. 

Given that flexibility and control are the top priority for employees and employers. The advantage the contingent workforce offers to companies is an opportunity to bring on contract workers on a project basis. Enabling both parties to evaluate the fit, whilst the organisation saves money on the aspects of payroll processing associated with full time, salaried employees.

Bringing it all together

The world of work continues to change dramatically and will do so throughout 2023 and the years that follow.

The challenge ahead for HR is to keep pace with those changes, whilst benefiting the very people and organisation they serve. To this end, the benefits of having a HR Management software solution that helps HR teams adapt to change as effectively as needed, is an excellent way of meeting the many priority challenges as they unfold. 

Sage HR is offering a free three month trial, giving HR teams an insight into the many transformative benefits of partnering with a software provider as passionate about people as HR leaders and practitioners are. Sign up for a free trial today.



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Written By

Jade Taryn Graham

Jade is the founder & CEO of Inspired a people & talent consultancy working with the most innovative early stage companies worldwide. Founder & CCO of Inspired Talent Media Ltd and contributing writer for Sage HR where Jade writes about people, leadership, work/life balance and change.