Important Considerations Regarding 2023 Workplace Trends
Today, the Spraggs Law team discusses 2023 workplace trends and what employers need to know about how each trend will shape their business’s operational strategies.
#1 Skill and Talent Acquisition and Retention
Employers will increasingly compete to capture and retain top talent, resulting in hirees having the upper hand in negotiating better pay, benefits and working conditions, with work/life flexibility and mental well-being at the forefront. This also includes the growing trend of “quiet hiring,” a term used to describe the process of “adding new skills and filling gaps without actually hiring full-time employees.” Quiet hiring and talent retention also require that employers provide employees with continued opportunities to expand new skills and grow their positions. The shift from focusing primarily on customer acquisition and retention to skilled employee acquisition and retention is a significant workplace trend that Visier forecasts will continue over the next 25 years.
#2 Effectiveness over Efficiency
Efficiency and productivity have long been the focus of organizations seeking to optimize profit, measurability and output. Still, a shift is taking place that puts the big picture (or end result) at the forefront. While efficiency will always be a critical component to measure, more organizations will shift their priorities from primarily tracking workers’ time and costs required to deliver a result to, first and foremost, assessing the quality and effectiveness of the outcome.
#3 Ultimate Flexibility
Increased workplace flexibility is one of the most significant 2023 workplace trends. Flexible working hours and workweeks are no longer the exclusive domain of freelancers and contract workers. Ultimate flexibility is forecasted to include rethinking the conventional 9-5 approach to adopt more flexible hours and workweeks that allow employees to fit parenting, schooling and other responsibilities around their work shifts. In addition, as more workplaces are becoming open to adopting 4-day workweek policies and trials, it’s a trend that’s expanding to include frontline workers.
#4 Hybrid Working Conditions
2023 will continue to see an increase in industries and workplaces adopting distributed, remote and hybrid teams consisting of either an entirely remote or subcontracted workforce or, more commonly, a combination of salaried and subcontracted staff.
Even smaller business are restructuring their workforce to include:
- a mixture of staff that work in the office and a portion that works remotely; or
- a varied schedule, whereby staff divide their workdays between the office and working remotely.
The goal of balancing workers’ expectations around flexibility and privacy also raises the need for better security measures, including clearly defined contracts that outline expectations and property rights.
Remote and hybrid teams also benefit from staying connected and collaborating via tools such as Slack that make workers feel less isolated while promoting team culture. In addition, some workplaces are taking a proactive approach to ensure team cohesion by appointing chief remote officers to help establish team culture and collaboration.
#5 Employee Data and Surveillance
With the growth of remote and hybrid teams comes the onslaught of electronic surveillance and monitoring software. While British Columbia has yet to clarify laws around what measures employers can legally use to monitor their staff, employees still have a right to privacy in the workplace. Therefore, employers would be wise to consider what type of surveillance is necessary and how to balance their needs with their employees’ rights to privacy. Considerations might include notifying employees of the monitoring tools being used. For example, Ontario recently introduced a new legislature that requires employers to inform their employees about the type and extent of surveillance measures being used. It also requires companies with 25 or more employees to outline surveillance measures in a written policy. While such laws have yet to be formalized in British Columbia, employers should expect new regulations to come into place as electronic monitoring becomes more widely utilized.
#6 Employee Wellness
Workplaces in 2022 saw an accelerated trend of burnout resulting in more workers coming to terms with their unhappiness at work. While some workers actually resigned, others resigned themselves to do the absolute minimum required — an act coined as “quiet quitting.” While critics consider it a passive-aggressive move, others consider it an employee’s right to refuse to go above and beyond their job requirements and, in doing so, protect their mental health and prevent burnout. Along the same lines is a more recent trend coined “career cushioning,” used to describe the act of searching for new jobs while still employed. Quiet quitting and career cushioning are two significant barriers to skilled employee acquisition and retention, forcing workplaces to reexamine their employee wellness programs and improve policies that support and protect employees’ mental health and happiness at work.
#7 Pay Transparency
Pay transparency if on the 2023 workplace trends influencing how North American businesses advertise open positions. New laws are coming into effect in the USA, requiring employers to state salary rates for open position postings. While not in effect in Canada yet, it could become a requirement in the near future. Either way, pay transparency supports the forecasted trend of employee-centric hiring practices that attract skilled workers.
#8 Purpose-Driven Organizations
The expanding influence of ESG factors and a growing Gen Z workforce are shaping the 2023 workplace trend of purpose-driven organizations. The trend is motivating more large and mid-sized organizations to step up and lead from a place of value, principle and purpose. Companies can do this in several ways, from incorporating charitable giving and establishing more sustainable and eco-friendly operations to ensuring more equitable hiring practices and so on. For example, earlier this year, our employment lawyer, Jay Spiro, published an article about what your employment contracts say about your company’s brand. The article details how companies can improve their hiring practices by outlining their company’s culture, values, mission, and purpose (and how they relate to the relationship between the employer and employee) in their employment contracts.
#9 Inflation Affecting Business Strategy
The influence of inflation is among the 2023 workplace trends that are most concerning to Canadian small businesses. Canada’s growing inflation continues to cause supply chain issues and costs that cut companies’ profit margins. The ongoing effects are forcing businesses to develop new strategies to protect profits, which may include reducing staff, cutting back on employees’ hours, increasing prices, and streamlining operations and offerings.
#10) HR-Driven Approach
What all of the previous nine 2023 workplace trends have in common is the need for an HR-driven approach to how each change is defined, established, implemented, measured, adjusted and maintained throughout the entire employer and employee lifecycle. In 2023, HR will become pivotal in navigating and implementing changes — especially concerning employee acquisition, retention and well-being. Companies without formal HR departments can benefit from contracting the services of an HR professional to consult with as needed.
Have Questions About Employment Law or HR Related Matters in Your Workplace? Spraggs Law Can Help!
Spraggs Law offers comprehensive employment law and HR support to workers and employers in BC. Call us at 604-359-1627 to discuss how we can provide personalized assistance based on your unique situation and needs.
Please note: This article does not contain legal advice. If you would like advice on your specific situation, please contact Spraggs Law.