Often at this time of year, HR professionals reflect on the year that has past and turn their attention to the year that will come.
I recently completed my latest snap shot and the timing of this edition is always insightful. The interviews that I conduct at this time of year offer a sneak peak into the likely areas of focus for HR Leaders in the year that will follow.
I had picked up a sense of collective hope in snap shot interviews through 2021 and early 2022. Hope that a period after the pandemic would be relatively calm. A period after a once in a lifetime event would, surely, give HR professionals a collective break and a sense of normality and stability.
In the last round of snap shot interviews (discussion held through November 2022), I have to report that there was an element of disappointment and fatigue. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone I interviewed was optimistic, positive and up for a challenge. However, it is fair to say that the world has not settled into normal times (indeed, is there such a thing?) and there was a collective sense of further expected challenge for 2023.
It was noticeable that there is a lot of dilemma around key policies. Usually, snap shot interviews result in decisive action points and clear decision patterns that I can summarise for readers. In this edition, as we enter 2023, things were different. HR leaders and SLT’s are grappling with tough decisions concerning pay and reward, investment, working patterns and much more.
We face extreme challenges around inflation and the cost of living crisis, driven by not only the war in Ukraine, but other factors like the great re-think and of course the fall out from Brexit.
Inevitably and unsurprisingly, most HR leaders expect change in their organisations in 2023.
However, many HR leaders that I spoke to did highlight one area of particular concern and likely focus for 2023. That was management development, management training and management support.
HR leaders seem very mindful of the toll that uncertainty had taken on their workforce. Some mentioned the term “change fatigue”, whilst others mentioned “uncertainty fatigue”. Many were keen to stress that they were increasingly aware of the pressure and demands that this in turn was placing on modern day managers. Particularly managers who were new to managing people. Yes, HR leaders are worried about their workforces as a whole, in particular, they are very worried about the pressures that modern managers face today – constant change, more ER issues, mental health awareness etc etc.
Many were taking active steps to ensure that more work was being done in their management development and leadership development programmes. HR leaders are looking at ways they can assist managers. The aim is to give them the knowledge and tools that they need to be a manager in the modern world. A world which is different after a pandemic and remains uncertain and volatile.
So, the only thing that seems certain, is that nothing is certain! Change and all of the associated workload that comes with that will inevitably follow. HR leaders are gearing up to support their managers as much as they can.
HR in 2023 is certainly not for the faint hearted! We all deserve some down time over the festive period to re charge and get ready for the year ahead.
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