Jan 19, 2023
3 Trends All HR Professionals Should Watch in 2023
a photo of a HR person interviewing a potential candidate

This is a truly transformational time to be a human resources (HR) professional. COVID-19 and the resulting Great Resignation have changed people’s perspective on the role that work should play in our lives, and it’s the job of an organization’s HR function to figure out how to meet the changing needs of today’s workforce in order to retain existing employees, and attract new talent.

As Doug Conant, former Fortune 500 CEO (Nabisco, Campbell Soup, Avon), famously said: “To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.” And so we will see a continued push from organizations big and small in 2023 to improve the end-to end-employee experience, starting from hiring all the way through to when employees move on from an organization. A holistic employee wellness strategy can be a growth plan for employers. Gallup research shows that when employee well-being is thriving an organization directly benefits. Employees take fewer sick days, deliver higher performance and productivity, and have lower rates of burnout and turnover. Let’s take a look at some of the trends we can expect in 2023, which all HR professionals should keep their eye on.

A Greater Focus on Fostering Career Development

It’s no secret that engaged employees are more productive and more likely to stay at their jobs. Recent research found that 51% of employees are disengaged in the workplace, and another 13% are “actively disengaged.” Employers can set the stage for a more engaged workforce by offering opportunities for employees to learn new skills and gain new experiences. In fact, studies find that career development opportunities are one of the top drivers of employee engagement.

Career development could mean anything from offering learning and development opportunities and tuition reimbursements for certifications or degrees to structured job rotations. Some companies have created mentorship programs, pairing executives with individuals just starting their careers. At Cigna, we leverage early career job rotation programs focused on providing diverse experiences and offer all employees access to a learning platform that includes courses beyond what is required to perform their jobs, including resources focused on professional development, leadership skills, and more. These courses can help employees improve their job skills or learn about broader industry and business topics.

A Bigger Push Toward Data-Driven Employee Experiences

Understanding employees is key to meeting their needs, driving employee engagement and fostering a culture of well-being. In 2023, we’ll see companies get really creative in how they slice and dice their employee data to ensure they are creating programming and experiences that meet their people’s needs. HR analytics, a.k.a. people analytics, will be more important than ever in engaging the workforce.

At Cigna, HR analytics allow us to take a data-informed approach. Data gives us insight into where the bright spots are and our areas of opportunity, helping us to hone in and prioritize what’s most important. For example, HR analytics data showed that some Cigna employee demographics were hit harder from a health and well-being standpoint due to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. This insight allowed us to put an intentional focus on certain programs, to help our people feel better and be more informed about the programs and benefits that were already available to them, because not every data point is going to need a new program launch. Oftentimes it’s about driving awareness among certain employee demographics on the resources that are already available to them.

Additionally, Cigna has seen much success in looking at markets and employee demographics with higher turnover or attrition and launching programs to engage these locations and employee groups.

A Multidimensional Approach to Employee Well-being: Your New Growth Plan

There’s no doubt that the body and mind are intrinsically connected, but health and well-being are comprised of more than just physical and mental health. Recent research from Cigna identifies eight dimensions of health and well-being. Physical, emotional, environmental, social, spiritual, occupational, financial, and intellectual well-being are all essential for people to achieve and maintain vibrant health and vitality. The research finds that workers with high vitality – those who are able to live life with strength, health and energy – are healthier, have higher occupational confidence, feel supported at work, and are more likely to stay with their employer.

 

In 2023, we’ll see a continued push from companies trying to foster a culture of health and well-being, with benefits and programming across these various dimensions. With our current economic climate, I predict an increased focus on employee financial well-being in particular.

Building a culture of health means that policies, procedures, behaviors, and expectations all support employee vitality. This kind of culture builds a strong, resilient, and healthy workforce and business. A recent study found that employee health and well-being programs would result in a 47% return on investment (ROI) in 2022 and a 52% ROI by 2026.

Furthermore, investing in the development of leadership capability so that people leaders are well-equipped to foster well-being among their teams has never been more important. A company’s ability to build and maintain an engaged, healthy workforce rests its laurels on exceptional leaders.

The Year Ahead

The world of work has changed dramatically over the last few years, and it will continue to change in 2023. Today’s workforce prioritizes their well-being and values employee experiences that help them thrive. Employers must be more intentional in building wellness initiatives that support a culture of workplace health; one where wellness becomes systemic.

Businesses certainly have their work cut out for them in 2023. But the work put in will have a handsome reward: More engaged, productive, and loyal employees to help you drive your business forward. The key to success will be taking a people-centric, data-driven approach, which meets employee needs across a vast array of dimensions that make up an individual’s health and well-being. Win the workforce, and you will win in business.

A woman meditating at work reducing stress and increasing her vitality

Employee Health is Your New Growth Plan

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