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Orçun IrfanDec 9, 2022 4:50:47 PM6 min read

Top Priorities for HR in 2023

At the end of this month, we will enter a new year, leaving behind 2022, which was spent in the shadow of pandemics, hyperinflation, wars and crises.

It's time for companies' leadership to put their hats down on them, account for the past year, and prepare for the next year.

Moreover, a very rich material is on the table to account for. Because 2022 has been a place of great testing for the business world in many ways.

For most of the year, organizations tried to stay in balance with one foot in a world where new business models that entered their lives during the pandemic were operated and with the other foot in the world where pre-pandemic habits were trying to be normalized.

While the employees had kept good order in the world of the mask, distance and hygiene, which they had hardly gotten used to by forgetting all they knew throughout 2021, they suddenly found themselves in offices in 2022.

Employees, who questioned the place of work in their lives throughout the pandemic, could not find an answer in 2022 to the question of how wholeheartedly they share the artificial visions of companies such as sales, profitability and growth.

The days of 2022 were filled with practices in which different business models such as on-site, remote, hybrid and mixed are tried to be carried out together. the management style, team communication and cooperation applications suitable for both on-site and remote teams are tried, and organizational structures are made, broken and re-made.

Inflation melted the budgets made at the beginning of the year before the organizations even saw the year half. The classical fringe benefits packages, which were put into use at the beginning of the year, were either not relevant and usable for employees working according to different business models, or the limits of benefits such as meal vouchers and health insurance remained like soap bubbles, unable to resist inflation.

2022 was clearly a mess for human resources as well.

Caught between high employee turnover and a shortage in the labor market, human resources were left with an unsolvable pooling problem.

The vacant jobs due to both the declining staff and the positions that could not be closed were passed on to the current employees. However, this time, the glasses filled with more water than they could take naturally overflowed. Employees quietly resigned.

Many training and development initiatives have been launched to equip employees with new skills and to fill positions that cannot be closed externally due to talent shortages.

Unfortunately, this triggered a change fatigue. While the change was already difficult, the succession of these changes and the willingness of the employee to change and adapt to the change completely evaporated.

That is how it was; a dusty year has come and gone. The business world was made like a jigsaw puzzle every morning and it was unmade in the evening, but the colors never matched.

So what kind of a year does 2023 look like? What challenges does 2023 bring with it for human resources?

According to Gartner's new report, conducted with 800 HR professionals and announcing the priorities waiting for human resources in 2023, the agendas waiting for our HR colleagues focus on the following 5 topics. 

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Image source: Gartner

Let's take a brief look at each of these agendas one by one.

1. Leadership and Management Activity

The effectiveness of the leadership and management team is on the agenda of 60% of the HR professionals who participated in the study.

It is clear that these complex times we are going through need more authentic, sincere and adaptable, that is, more "human" leaders.

Leaders and managers need to be better equipped with the emotional maturity to respond to different employee expectations, interests and needs to cooperate with employees on the basis of trust all essential in the future (today) of work.

It is apparent that HR needs to act quickly upon supporting the leadership with more humanized leadership skills better aligned with the challenge the new normal requires.

2. Organizational Design and Change Management

The second most important focus area, according to 53% of HR professionals who participated in the study.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the business world is experiencing change fatigue in this great change process in which many rules such as the definition of work, where, when, reporting to whom, in which business model, and in return of what it is done have been broken.

According to Gartner data, employees who stated their openness to change as 74% in 2016 expressed this rate as 38% in 2022.

HR should roll up its sleeves to reduce the effects of this change fatigue on the employee and to support the employee in this sense.

3. Employee Experience

The third biggest agenda of 2023, according to 43% of HR professionals.

I naturally believe that this ratio is much higher. Employee experience has been analyzed in this report in terms of career management.

Traditional career management studies remain both cumbersome and sterile, according to the changing way of doing business and models.

According to Gartner, only 1 out of 4 employees finds the current career map presented to them by their institution sufficient. The remaining 3 employees do not find the solutions provided satisfactory and evaluate the opportunities outside the company.

HR needs to update its career management processes to allow for attractive, modern career moves for employees, but another challenge is that most employees do not have the skills needed for new jobs coming up in the near future.

Therefore, concepts such as reskilling and upskilling continue to be among the jobs waiting for HR.

4. Recruitment

The fourth most important topic, according to 46% of HR professionals.

The worldwide labor market shortage continues despite massive layoffs in Silicon Valley.

HR needs to update its workforce planning strategies by working more closely with business units and responding more agilely to the business turmoil that is written and disrupted on an almost daily basis throughout the year.

Carrying out the right employer branding activities that will attract talents who do not want to return to a full-time, on-site payroll life is another job awaiting HR.

5. The Future of Work

It is the fifth and last topic that HR professionals find most important with 42%.

We still lack the mentality, communication & collaboration capabilities and digital skills required by different business models such as remote, hybrid and mixed.

In order for HR to make the talent pool of the organization sustainable, it is of great importance to process the organizational culture in a way that covers all these differences and to equip the entire leadership level with the relevant skills by bringing the necessary mentality.

Let's finish this way. Yes, it looks like it will put many obstacles between us and what we want to do next year.

However, as the skiers competing in the Olympics say;

A racer never skids looking at obstacles on the road. If you look at the obstacle, you will go towards the obstacle, if you look at the road between the obstacles, you will go forward.

I wish that where you look in 2023 is not an obstacle but a road. 


Orçun Irfan

Orçun İrfan is the first and only EX Professional accredited by the leading EX Organizations in the USA and UK. He is the author of the first and only reference book written and published in Turkish and the Founding President of the Turkish Employee Experience Society. Orçun has over 20 years of HR experience and is currently working as the Employee Experience Director for Pisano.