In the post-pandemic scenario, global economic activities have been experiencing a broad slowdown. As per recent forecasts by economic experts, global growth is expected to slow down from 3.2 percent in 2022 to 2.7 percent in 2023.
We have already witnessed a drastic change in how most companies are now operating. The COVID-19 crisis has propelled companies to bring changes in their business strategies. Most companies have accelerated the digitization processes of their internal operations and customer/supply-chain interactions. Remote work preferences have seen a sharp rise and the concept of Virtual Coffee is surely creating a lot of hype!
Virtual Coffee or coffee chats are informal chats between people. The primary purpose of virtual coffee is to build channels of networking and help workers connect with peers and supervisors in a more casual, positive manner.
We all agree that the Human Resources function serves as the backbone of an organization. The inherent effects of the pandemic have highlighted the need for flexibility and perseverance in the workforce, accelerated the digitization processes, and re-emphasized the importance of the Human Resources function.
HR Professionals have played a pivotal role in guiding their people to sail through the pandemic storm. Leaders are working towards creating a more balanced and flexible company culture by using intelligent employee productivity and budget maximization approaches.
However, in view of the current macroeconomic environment, the challenges are far from over. Here’s a look at 5 key HR Challenges in 2023:
With companies shifting towards a more digitized process approach, leaders and HR professionals are tasked with the responsibility to re-establish the company culture. We will witness a further shift in hybrid working models and more people will be showing an interest in remote work opportunities. While this working model has been welcomed and appreciated, it brings with it a myriad of challenges for the existing company culture. Many leaders have voiced their concerns over less employee productivity due to having a more dispersed workforce with less face-to-face interaction and fewer on-site working opportunities.
HR’s role hence becomes vital in ensuring employee productivity and positive company culture. Digitized solutions and effective use of technology are vital to curbing dispersion and limited social interactions. The concept of virtual coffee has taken the workplace by storm! Virtual coffees are a brilliant way for employees to casually interact with their peers and supervisors. It allows them to remain connected with business goals, organizational updates, and the latest happenings, and be intricately connected to the company’s culture.
Over these recent years, we’ve witnessed a considerable amount of change in workplace norms and the working environment. There has been an increase in the demand for remote work opportunities and hence, a subsequent supply of such jobs. While most organizations have been quick to adapt and offer remote work jobs, some leaders remain rigid on orthodox methods. This resistance, unfortunately, puts them at a competitive disadvantage. As per PWC’s remote work survey, 75 percent of executives believed that at least half of the employees will return to physical work.
This constant struggle between remote work and in-office work opportunities is a critical challenge for HR to tackle in 2023. HR leaders will be tasked to define clear working policies about remote work and hybrid work strategies. The first step for HR would be to understand, explore and implement better remote work and hybrid work models. They will need to cater to employee satisfaction whilst ensuring employee productivity.
We will see a rise in workers shuffling in and out of the office to support flexibility, break-down silos, and facilitate remote work preference. Through the effective use of virtual coffee, companies can ensure regular connections with workers who choose to use the remote work option.
Employee Engagement refers to the level of an employee’s connection and commitment to an organization. Robinson et al. (2004) define employee engagement as, “A positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and its value. An engaged employee is aware of the business context and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. The organization must work to develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between employer and employee.”
High levels of employee engagement promote retention, foster loyalty, and enhance organizational performance. During the pandemic, we saw many organizations bringing about a working-style shift in their operations. Since then, there has been a high emphasis on employee engagement and employee well-being. Companies developed more effective strategies for transparency and communication among employees.
Developing effective employee engagement strategies and ensuring maximum levels of employee engagement will be another critical challenge for HR leaders. HR must continue to develop easier and better channels of communication at all levels. Informal meetings, causal discussions, and the use of virtual coffees are extremely effective ways for engaging employees in a more positive manner.
It may be silent, but it is real! Employee burnout and poor employee satisfaction are genuine problems being faced by almost all organizations. According to a survey conducted by American Psychological Association, 79% of employees experience work-related stress, lack of interest, and less motivation to perform. Today, employee well-being is regarded as a key factor in employee loyalty.
The role of HR in ensuring employee well-being and identifying the causes of employee burnout and poor employee satisfaction becomes extremely important. Employee well-being is enhanced through positive and better work relationships. A focus should lie on prioritizing employee well-being and developing effective strategies that promote better communication through regular and informal meetings, casual conversations, open discussions, virtual coffee meets, and an overall welcoming approach.
There has been a lot of talk about the importance of incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies in the workplace. This is another crucial aspect for HR to take into consideration in 2023. Although many successful organizations already have their DEI Policies in place, HR leaders should look into incorporating an inclusive-driven approach for the entire employee work cycle.
A challenge, however, would be the increased risk of lack of belonging particularly in employees working through remote work options. HR’s role will be to ensure that the diverse workforce shares the same company values at all levels.
The regular use of virtual coffee processes will allow workers, in and out of the office, to remain connected with peers and supervisors. Since virtual coffee meets are more casual, workers will benefit from better networking and receiving valuable company information through more open and friendly channels.
In 2023, we will continue to foresee HR as an integral function. Having said this, it remains imperative that HR starts by prioritizing the employee well-being of its own staff first. HR teams must remain free of burn-out periods to tackle various challenges within the organization.
Companies must accept the patterns in work-shift policies and facilitate HR with ways to ensure employee satisfaction and productivity. With remote work and hybrid work opportunities on the rise, we will positively witness better DEI trends. Successful concepts like informal interaction and virtual coffee meetings will change the shape of worker interactions with a positive impact.