HR/L&D Trend Survey Identifies Top Issues for 2023
“Hiring, retention, and employee experience will be the top issues for HR professionals heading into the new year,” say Jay Campbell and David Witt after looking at the early results from The Ken Blanchard Companies® recent trend survey. More than 700 leadership, learning, and talent development professionals took part in this year’s annual survey, entitled Enhancing the Employee Experience in a Hybrid World.
“Some 76% of respondents believe hiring will be more difficult in 2023 than it was in 2022,” says Campbell. “And 79% of respondents report that employee retention will be even more of a challenge next year.”
Employee experience will be the focus area in the battle for engagement next year, adds Witt.
“Both HR and L&D professionals see the overall employee experience as the key to creating an engaging work environment that attracts top candidates, encourages them to join the organisation, and then helps them grow and develop to maintain high levels of retention.”
In analysing an open-ended response section of the survey, Campbell identifies the biggest challenges HR/L&D executives will be facing in 2023.
“Along with the expected challenges of retaining talented employees and reducing turnover, another top challenge for companies in 2023 will be improving the employee experience across the organisation. HR/L&D people are worried about not only their employees’ mounting workload but also the thinning of organisational culture due to remote and hybrid work patterns.” Respondents were concerned about attracting new talented employees to their firms as well. “Employee morale has reached a new level of attention as organisations fight for talent and unemployment remains relatively low,” says Campbell.
In reviewing some of the ways the HR/L&D respondents anticipate creating an engaging work environment, Witt shares a few of the top focus areas respondents will be addressing.
“Building trust between managers and direct reports was clearly the top area of focus. That’s a great place to start. It also matches up well with earlier Blanchard research, which highlights the importance of the manager/direct report relationship when it comes to people’s intentions to stay with the organisation, perform at a high level, and endorse the organisation to others.
“Connecting work to purpose and promoting teamwork and collaboration were also identified as top focus areas among this year’s respondents.”
“Somewhat surprising on the surface was the choice of ‘setting clear performance expectations,’” says Witt. “At first glance, this focus area can seem a little more directive and less supportive than some of the other elements of creating an engaging work environment, but I think this area bubbled to the top because of the fragmented nature of work experienced by many people in the hybrid work environment these days.”
Campbell agrees. “It’s likely a response to the workload balance and burnout issues that many organisations are dealing with. Our survey earlier this year on manager challenges found that two-thirds of managers—and 75% of middle managers—had experienced symptoms of burnout in the previous 12 months. One of their top requests to address the situation was help with prioritising their work in what they’ve experienced as a very fragmented environment.”
The good news in the survey data is the trend in favor of increased budgeting for leadership development. “Our respondents are expecting budget increases averaging 10 to 30% for development initiatives,” says Campbell.
Here are several of the top skills needed to succeed over the next three to five years, as shared by participants:
Engaging and developing talent
Leading and supporting change
Establishing goals and priorities
Building employee resilience
Creating a sense of inclusion and belonging
“It’s an ambitious set of goals, but respondents are forming plans to address these goals—and they’re expecting the funding increases to make them happen,” says Witt. “When we asked respondents how they plan to implement training initiatives against these goals, they shared several different strategies and modalities for reaching their leadership audience with more than half planning to use learning journeys spread out over time. They also shared reinforcement approaches they’ll be using. We are still compiling that data and we’ll be sharing it in a webinar coming up in two weeks.”
About the author:
Vicki Stanford is a marketing director for The Ken Blanchard Companies.