Predictions for 2023: Redefining Work, The Workforce, And HR

Every year for 25 years I’ve tried to write Predictions for the year ahead. And this year, like none before, I think it’s time for something big. As you will read about in this newest report, we are entering a year which may redefine almost everything. Not to be dramatic, but when was the last time you witnessed an economic downturn, an unprecedented demand for talent, and industry disruption caused by war, global warming, new energy policy, and economic inequity all at once?

This year, coming out of the pandemic with a vengeance, we see enormous new opportunity in the business community. And Human Resources leaders, for the first time in my career, are going to be asked to take the lead.

As you’ll read about in the report, we face some epic changes in the demographics and commitment of workers. Industries are merging and morphing into something new and different. And the pressure on CEOs and CFOs to improve productivity means companies must focus on organization design, upskilling, and new models of pay, performance management, and rewards.

All these things are core to our role as HR leaders. So 2023, building on what we did during the pandemic, throws new responsibilities at HR. And these are pretty interesting challenges.

For example, how will you “hire and layoff” at the same time as one part of your business contracts and another continues to grow? Are you ready to invest heavily in internal mobility, career pathways, and capability academies as solutions? I don’t think you’ll have any choice, to be honest.

Or how will you redesign your job architecture, find adjacent job roles, and fix and improve your models for succession as your company becomes more dispersed, flattened, and changed by industry disruption? As we like to say, no company can “hire their way” into a new market, nor can you just “assign the typical leaders” to transform your business in some traditional way. A new focus on younger leaders, emerging talent, and growth through innovation will challenge your succession and leadership model.

What role will Talent Intelligence, AI-driven Chatbots, and Employee Experience (no-code) Platforms play in your company? I suggest it’s more significant than you think – so are you ready to use these new solutions? In 2023 all will become important, challenging your HR Tech stack and many of your incumbent HR centers of excellence.

And perhaps biggest of all, how will you efficiently stitch together your HR organization into a “systemic operation” that works together in concert? It may be time to embrace our 4-R model (Recruit, Retain, Reskill, Redesign) and make sure all the pieces are working together, as your company plans its new footing in the changing economy.

We are experiencing four disruptors at once: (1) a changed workforce demographic and new set of cultural issues, (2) a redefinition of industries as healthcare, energy, electrification, and consumerization takes off, (3) a desperate need to grow revenue at lower cost, while reskilling and redeploying people into high potential projects, and (4) the ultimate redefinition of the organization, as we operate in hybrid work, with cross-functional teams, and new models of youthful leadership.

In many ways we are going to have to live the themes of my new book, Irresistible: The Seven Secrets Of The World’s Most Enduring Organizations. We will go back to our basic mission, rethink what we sell and produce, and re-invigorate our tired and over-worked employees to help them thrive, grow, and ultimately perform.

It’s all covered in this report. (Read the News Release here.)

I welcome you to read it, use it for planning, and send us your comments and new ideas!

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