Biggest HR and People Ops challenges in 2023

While all employees and companies have had some adjusting to do during the past three years, HR, Workplace, and People Operations teams have been facing unique challenges that will extend well into 2023.

From tackling the Great Resignation to figuring out the hybrid workplace, the spotlight is now on People teams, whose role is more critical than ever in making sure a global, distributed workplace runs smoothly and efficiently, with a focus on increasing employee retention, wellness, and job satisfaction.

Here’s an overview of the top human resource management challenges for 2023.

Retaining top talent

For HR teams, lowering employee turnover is the #1 task to deal with in 2023, as it impacts employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall business performance.

The Great Resignation has been dubbed one of the most significant issues to tackle in 2021 and was still going strong in 2022. Companies everywhere are scrambling to prevent employees from leaving and build healthy, sustainable, and inclusive work environments that the best talent will want to be a part of.

For this reason, most HR teams are making it a top priority to develop employee retention and engagement initiatives in 2023 rather than focusing on talent acquisition.

Onboarding remote employees

Remote work created one of the most complex HR challenges: onboarding. Since there are no tours around the office and meeting people face-to-face anymore, traditional onboarding processes aren’t applicable anymore. HR managers have to come up with suitable steps to onboard new hires in hybrid and remote companies.

Onboarding new employees the right way goes to ensure a sense of belonging, better retention rates, and increased transparency and integration of new joiners. On the other hand, technicalities like access, compliance documentation, and suitable training programs need to be streamlined for the new hire to integrate properly with other team members.

Read our comprehensive checklist for the effective onboarding of new workers in remote and hybrid companies.

Maintaining company culture in distributed teams

Whether or not your company has a defined set of values and company culture, now is the time to evaluate those values, as your culture impacts important metrics like employee engagement.

Defining and maintaining corporate culture values across continents, time zones, and languages is a challenging task for human resources, especially when it comes to employee experience. The human resources department needs to ensure:

  • A positive employee experience: Company culture is employee-centric and contributes to a great employee experience, which according to 82% of employers, helps with employee retention efforts.
  • Consistent processes: Company values are reflected throughout company processes and initiatives, from the hiring process to team-building activities.

Emphasizing diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are no longer a nice-to-have but a business imperative. Studies show that more diverse companies have better business results: 25% better when we look at gender equality and 36% better when it comes to ethnic diversity.

Most leaders agree that DEI initiatives are critical for building a healthy workplace, but many managers don’t have the required knowledge and competencies to execute them. Global hiring is a good first step for companies because it facilitates ethnic diversity, but DEI is much more than building a distributed team and requires conscious effort and strategic thinking.

People teams can organize leadership development training that includes educating executive management on the importance of nurturing diversity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging. Then, managers can lead by example and help DEI tactics become adopted company-wide.

Providing flex spaces to employees in different locations, aligned with employees’ needs

Many companies have turned to location-agnostic hiring with the rise of remote and distributed work. While this is a great way to get the best talent anywhere and everywhere, it is also a workplace strategy that has HR teams thinking about providing workspaces in multiple locations.

In a remote-first company, not all employees have the same office space needs. However, to be inclusive, it’s necessary to ensure access to a suitable workspace for everyone, like working parents who need an office outside their homes.

When talking about hybrid workplace management, HR experts emphasize the need to provide different workspace options, configurations, and usage scenarios for different roles and departments.

Managing and monitoring workspace usage

Speaking with HR and People Operations experts, we found that providing employees with different workspace configurations, various levels of privileges and scenarios, and keeping the experience consistent across locations is the most complex challenge when managing a hybrid workplace.

Providing flexible workspace options can’t be uniform for many reasons:

  • You don’t have the same number of workers in every location where a workspace is required
  • Different teams and roles will require different flex spaces (hot desking vs. conference rooms, for example)
  • The employees’ needs for a co-working space may depend on their workload and project types

These factors call for careful workspace planning and tailoring the experience to each team and location while making the processes scalable and applicable to a growing workforce.

Automating workplace management and streamlining workplace operations

Thanks to rapid advancements in technology, it’s possible to automate and speed up many HR processes that used to take a lot of time and effort.

One of the most pressing issues of People Operations professionals is ensuring workplace management is automated, streamlined, and doesn’t burden their workflow.

HR teams need to research and evaluate different workforce management systems options to build a reliable HR tech stack, as this doesn’t only allow them to focus on strategy and people rather than on admin but also provides an enhanced employee experience for their distributed teams.

Measuring and analyzing the hybrid workplace

HR professionals tell us that measuring and analyzing the hybrid workplace is at the top of their priorities list. Getting insights into key workplace metrics and making informed decisions is critical for HR operations.

Once the KPIs have been determined, a new challenge emerges: where will these KPIs be tracked, and how can they be connected with other relevant performance management and high-level business KPIs?

Learn how Gable enables you to track your workspace budget in a user-friendly dashboard with simplified reporting features.

Helping workers manage burnout and improve mental health

Even though remote work has many benefits both for workers and employers, research shows that remote employees often work more hours than their in-office peers since the pandemic. This makes the line between work and personal life more blurry and makes remote workers prone to burnout.

Deloitte’s survey found that burnout has been one of the main reasons why younger generations left their jobs over the past few years. High employee turnover is one of the top HR issues to address in 2023, so People Ops managers will certainly focus on finding the best employee wellbeing strategies and implementing benefits like flexible working hours and inclusive wellness activities.

Learn how you can help your team overcome and avoid burnout.

Providing the best employee experience to employees in all locations

The overarching goal of every HR department is to provide a world-class employee experience across all levels of the organization. In a hybrid world, top-notch experience for employees covers all touchpoints from the home office to a company workspace, from communication to socialization.

The main challenge in distributed teams is related to the implementation of strategies that ensure an equitable employee experience regardless of an employee’s location. Everyone in the company has access to the same employee benefits, like healthcare, upskilling and mentoring opportunities, or access to flexible workspaces, no matter where they live.

These benefits packages also need to align with what today’s workforce wants. For example, it’s well-known that millennials want steady jobs in which they’ll feel engaged and employers that take care of employees’ well-being. On the other hand, Gen Z workers require career development opportunities and the employer’s commitment to DEIB initiatives.

Keeping up with the changing world of work

Building successful teams is so much more than just staffing the company and filling in vacant positions. HR teams have a great responsibility, but also a privilege, to participate in creating powerful, productive, engaged, and diverse workforces worldwide.

One of the key enablers of teams that work well together and achieve outstanding results is an opportunity to meet up and connect face-to-face in the world of remote work. Learn how Gable can help your team maximize the time they spend together in flexible workspaces.

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Andrea Rajic