Seven HR trends to embrace in the year ahead



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10 mins


From wellbeing to employee experience, diversity, and inclusion, upskilling your workforce, these are set to be the top HR trends in the year ahead

While it’s almost impossible to predict with absolute certainty what the next 12 months have in store for organisations, there are several common themes and challenges that are set to shape the HR arena in the year ahead. For an organisation to successfully embrace – or tackle – upcoming HR trends, it’ll need a firm foundation in the form of intuitive, integrated HR software that provides comprehensive insight into key people metrics. Read on to discover the seven HR trends that organisations will need to embrace.


1. Employee wellbeing aids talent retention

The modern workplace has seen an alarming spike in stress levels affecting both employees and their productivity; around 80% of UK adults report feeling stressed at least once a month. After an intense three years – since 2020, workers have faced the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, economic slowdown, and cost-of-living crisis, among other concerns – many are feeling overwhelmed, undervalued, and unsupported, leading to drained morale, low motivation, and rising resignations. Companies must address this growing trend with effective solutions or face the consequences of a diminishing workforce; MetLife UK, for example, reported in 2022 that nearly half (44%) of UK adults have called in sick for work because of burnout.

Organisations need to prioritise employee wellbeing and safety to retain and attract top talent. This means embracing a ‘people-first’ culture that champions individuals by treating them as whole people, not just contributors to the corporate machine. Taking such proactive measures can ensure success at every level of your organisation.

HR teams have a big opportunity to nurture the wellbeing and engagement of their employees. By taking steps towards meeting mental, physical, and financial needs with appropriate resources or interventions, as well as fostering an environment dedicated to trust and communication, they’ll help employees to be happier, healthier, and more engaged at work.


2. Financial wellbeing during a cost-of-living crisis

Physical and mental wellbeing have been on employers’ agenda for years, but we’re set to see financial wellbeing growing in importance. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has sparked discussions about how employers can support their people beyond the basics of wages or salaries, and benefits such as pensions, to offer more financial security during these uncertain times. There is growing evidence that financial strain is affecting employees’ performance at work; in a December 2022 survey by the CMI, three-quarters (71%) of managers and team leaders said the cost-of-living crisis was causing increased stress and anxiety for their teams. Of these, nearly all (93%) said that this was negatively affecting workers’ productivity, with many also reporting that employees were less focused, taking more sick leave, and were more reluctant to take on extra work.

Employers need to take proactive steps to help boost their employees’ financial health. Financial wellness programmes offer an effective solution; combining educational opportunities and community support with tangible resources geared towards achieving long-term goals such as debt repayment or savings. Not only does this benefit individuals through enhanced peace of mind, but it also can aid staff retention rates.

Claire Williams, chief people officer at Ciphr, says: “On one hand, failing to recognise and respond to the impact the increasing cost of living is having on employees – whether it be through increased pay or bonuses, financial wellbeing support, development opportunities, creative benefits, or other means – could result in employers seeing their staff turnover increase as employees seek work elsewhere for more money.

“On the other hand, employers are also in a position where they are seeing their costs increase and possibly a downturn in revenue as customers become more cautious, therefore they will also be considering how best to protect their organisations’ financial health and, importantly, their employees’ jobs.”


3. Remote and hybrid working is here to stay

Many organisations who have tried to encourage their people to return to the pre-pandemic schedule of five office days a week have struggled, with many workers reluctant to give up the flexibility of remote and hybrid working patters. A study published by Gallup in August 2022, of US workers, found that only two in 10 remote-capable employees are currently working full-time on site. Around half have hybrid arrangements (work part of their week at home, and part on site). The proportion of on-site workers who want to work remotely has actually doubled since October 2021, the study also found.

And there are good reasons for employers to embrace hybrid and remote work: staff morale and productivity rises when employees get the opportunity to clock-in from the comfort of their own home. Organisations that offer attractive flexible working conditions will be best-placed for success this coming year as they’ll not only gain a competitive edge but also lure talent into their ranks. Offering flexible working options is particularly critical for enabling those with caring responsibility (whether that’s child care or elder care) to remain in work.

Organisations that use people data to understand their employees will help to create a more effective working environment for their remote and hybrid workers. HR software like Ciphr HR that integrates with other applications – such as employee sentiment platforms – gives a holistic visibility of employee performance and engagement, shaping their experiences at work more effectively.


4. Maintaining a healthy and engaging employee experience

Businesses must focus on employee experience more than ever if they want to be successful. Employee experience is a relatively new term that is all about understanding how each employee feels in and about their job, taking into consideration every interaction during their career at a single organisation. It goes beyond looking at job satisfaction and engagement, instead taking into account employees’ physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing, how they interact with managers, colleagues, and peers, and if they have the right skills and equipment to carry out their role successfully. In today’s labour market, there is a greater emphasis than ever before on developing an environment that fosters trust, respect and collaboration between employers and employees. Organisations need to ensure their workplace culture is positive and productive so they can attract and retain the best talent available. The rise of digital tools has enabled employers to engage with their workforce in new ways, creating a more dynamic way of working which can have a positive impact on employee experience.

Measuring employee experience requires gathering data from multiple sources such as feedback surveys, interviews with employees or organisational performance metrics. Technology has an important role to play here – there are numerous solutions that help employers measure, tweak and design the employee experience.


5. Upskilling the workforce

Upskilling your workforce, at every level, is a perennial challenge for all HR and L&D teams, but it’s set to become particularly pressing.

As the workplace evolves, so too does HR’s responsibility for developing well-rounded leaders. Employers must prioritise investment in leadership development initiatives to ensure their team of high performers possess not only technical proficiency but also critical soft skills that positively influence their immediate team and the wider organisation. By equipping employees with both sets of expertise they can remain competitive while maximising productivity potential at every level.

When it comes to recruitment and retention, employers can get ahead of the competition by providing employees with comprehensive learning opportunities. Through training programmes, skills sessions and interactive leadership development experiences, HR has an opportunity to create a workplace focused on collaboration, productivity and above all performance excellence. Mentorship pathways are also invaluable in helping foster positive interpersonal dynamics within teams as well as career growth for individuals.

With a learning management system (LMS) like Ciphr LMS, HR and L&D teams can produce effective upskilling strategies by developing personalised learning content based on their learning preferences. Our integrated HR and LMS gives managers better visibility of employees’ development needs and completed training activities, thanks to its sophisticated reporting and analytics functionality. If you’re putting together a case for linking your HR and LMS software, don’t miss our four reasons to integrate your HR and LMS platforms.


6. Purpose-driven organisations

It’s becoming increasingly clear that organisations that prioritise sustainability are reaping the rewards of attracting and retaining talented employees. According to an ESG report by recruiter Robert Walters, a third (34%) of white-collar professionals in the UK would turn down a job offer if a company’s environmental or sustainability values do not align with their own. HR teams should consider taking an active role in developing and promoting a sustainability-focused organisational vision to both new recruits as well as existing staff, while also offering guidance on how best to address social and environmental responsibilities. By taking this multifaceted approach businesses can ensure everyone is aiming towards shared objectives that benefit all stakeholders: successfully integrating relevant values into each process creates greater engagement across the entire organisation.

With the ever-escalating influence of social media, employers are recognising how vital it is to demonstrate their presence and brand on this evolving platform. HR leaders can use social media to share their organisation’s vision and goals, build meaningful connections with current stakeholders, and lay the foundation for potential new relationships.

HR will be more integral than ever in helping shape an organisation’s ethos. By connecting the organisation’s purpose with environmental and social initiatives, HR can ensure that their employer brand attracts top-tier talent while creating a positive impact on the world. Leveraging this upcoming trend not only gives employers access to a broader talent pool, but also allows them to offer employees meaningful jobs with a higher sense of purpose.


7. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

HR professionals and leaders are responsible for creating working environments where diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) are actively embraced. Organisations should strive to put DEIB front-and-centre, and commit to making the creation of more inclusive workplaces a top priority.

Companies are recognising the importance of maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce throughout every step in an employee’s life cycle. DEIB initiatives provide opportunities for promoting equity across all stages, from onboarding to development and promotion – creating workplaces where everyone feels included. Furthermore, organisations can link their purpose with these efforts – this not only has tangible benefits but is also ethically important. Lastly, there’s been increased emphasis on training HR staff so they can adopt diversity-oriented practices into their work processes.


Stay ahead of the curve with Ciphr

As organisations and individuals grapple with uncertainty, employees are now looking for meaningful connections more than ever before.

Ciphr’s cloud HR software helps organisations stay connected and work efficiently when they need to most – even when operating remotely. Book a demo with us today to see how our systems provide thousands of HR professionals with the tools and insights they need to deliver their strategy from a single, easy-to-use platform.