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WCI, Inc
Feb. 2, 2023

The 2023 workplace

The SHRM Research Institute has released the 2022-2023 State of the Workplace Report, detailing the areas where U.S. organizations succeeded in 2022, the most pressing struggles they face currently, and organizational priorities for 2023. The report identified three new key areas of focus in 2022: getting past the COVID-19 crisis, increasing inflation, and low engagement among employees.

Unlike 2021, where the focus for most organizations was managing COVID-19 concerns, in 2022, organizations began to prioritize other initiatives, and they expect this trend to continue in 2023. Inflation emerged as the biggest challenge and fastest growing concern for HR professionals in 2022, jumping 13 percent from 2021. HR professionals and executives both rank maintaining employee morale and engagement as the highest priority for their organizations in 2023.

“Our research also depicts labor shortages are continuing to impact organizations. Employees, HR professionals, and HR executives reported recruiting and retaining talent among their top five priorities for 2023,” shared Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO, SHRM. “Based on this report, 2023 is going to be a pivotal year for both employees and executives. We expect to see big changes in regard to budgetary concerns - while still considering talent and retention challenges.”

Key findings include:

  • Through 2023, employees and organizations alike are planning for the effects of rising costs.
    • Four-fifths (80 percent) of HR professionals are concerned about how the economic situation may affect their organizations. Nearly half (48 percent) worry about budget cuts. But even more (86 percent) worry about the consequences for employees’ lives.
    • Despite the economic concerns, 74 percent of HR professionals expect their organizations to expand their workforce this year. It appears that the job market will continue to favor job seekers and that the talent crunch will not ease in the near term.
  • There is a consensus among HR professionals that COVID-19 moved from a crisis in 2021 to a manageable concern in 2022. Only 35 percent agreed that bringing more of the workforce back to in-person work was a priority for this year, a 13-point drop from 2022.
  • The study also found widespread employee dissatisfaction – especially among non-HR employees.
    • Only 46 percent answered yes to each of these two questions: 1) Would you recommend your organization as a great place to work? and 2) Do you trust your employer to treat you fairly?
    • 24 percent of HR and 26 percent of non-HR workers plan to seek a new job in 2023.
    • HR professionals and executives both rank maintaining employee morale and engagement as the highest priority for their organizations in 2023.
  • Remote and hybrid non-HR employees are more likely than on-site employees to recommend their employer (56 percent vs. 44 percent). However, remote/hybrid workers are also more likely than their on-site counterparts to be looking for new a new job (30 percent vs. 21 percent). This surprising result shows that remote employees are both happier and more likely to be looking for another job.
  • Only 38 percent of HR professionals believed they had effectively supported employees with mental health challenges in 2022.
    • Mental health was the third greatest external challenge for organizations in 2022, with 72 percent of HR professionals citing it.
    • For 2023, strengthening mental health benefits or coverage is a priority for 51 percent of HR professionals, an increase of 9 points over 2022.

“We are continuing to see mental health emerge as a critical workplace issue,” shared Alex Alonso, PhD, Chief Knowledge Officer, SHRM. “Discussions about employee mental health were rare prior to the pandemic. But now employees at all levels, even at the corporate board level, are focusing on mental health.”

Source: Society for Human Resource Management.

From WCI's HR Answers Now ©2023 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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