In the past two years, employers have had to create new HR policies and procedures to stay compliant with legislation enacted to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
In October 2022, Canada’s inflation rate was 6.9% higher than in the same period last year. In a market hit by a labour shortage, high inflation only makes recruiting and retaining skilled workers tougher for small business owners. Coupled with the emergence of the “quiet quitting” phenomenon in 2022, as employers enter the new year, improving staff retention has never been more critical.
The need for greater employee wellness and mental health support has been bolstered by recent legislation, with the Canadian government recently announcing that Employment Insurance sickness benefits will be increasing from 15 weeks to 26 weeks.
This emphasis on employee wellness and mental health, and the need for a work-life balance will continue in the new year. Here are 5 HR trends we expect to see in 2023.
Continuation of hybrid and remote work
Due to pandemic-related restrictions, nearly a third of Canadian employees began working from home in 2020, according to Statistics Canada. Two years later, 9.4% of workers reported having a hybrid work arrangement in November 2022, a considerable increase from 3.6% in January 2022.
With many leaders realizing that a one-size-fits-all approach may no longer be suitable, trusting employees to get their work done with more flexibility around location and schedule is likely to be a growing trend moving forward. Despite going against tradition, not only can this new approach increase productivity, but it can also foster wellness and improve employee retention.
The rise of hybrid settings has allowed many employees to discover they’re happier or more productive working at home than in a traditional nine-to-five office environment. Accordingly, employers should expect the remote work trend to continue well into 2023, with a rise in the preference for flexibility of on-site, hybrid, and remote work options to be offered to employees.
In addition to flexibility with remote work schedules, interviewing new employees will also likely continue to be done via online portals and cloud-based systems as HR managers adapt to a workforce that may not be physically present in the office.
Focus on retention
Quiet quitting and burnout are both concerning factors leading to a high prevalence of turnover. Having low staff retention has numerous negative impacts on employers. Reports have found that the cost of losing an entry-level hire is, on average, 50% of an employee’s salary.
Although Canada has been immune to The Great Resignation that swept the US, unemployment is still a concerning issue for the Canadian workforce. In August 2022, Statistics Canada found that nearly 12% of Canadian workers said they were planning to leave their job at some point over the next year. Accordingly, staff retention will be a priority for small businesses across Canada in 2023. Employers will need to gain insight into what motivates employees and how they can nurture and promote talent within their organizations.
Employers are at risk of impacting more than just their bottom line when they have high turnover. Low retention can also lower the morale of your company and be harmful to your reputation, presenting as a red flag for potential new hires. To improve employee retention, employers should strive to prevent quiet quitting and burnout, and focus on building a workplace culture where employees feel motivated to come to work and do their best within their stipulated work hours.
Prioritizing learning and development
Since the pandemic, many companies have seen a rapid increase in digitization across processes. With the rapid adoption of new technology and software, employee education and training should be a key focus for employers going into 2023.
Workplaces should offer training and learning management systems to help employees navigate the increase in digitization. To increase education in the workplace, employers should also consider hosting workshops, providing training, and introducing flexible work hours (to make part-time studies possible), to encourage employees to update their skills.
Promotion of social connection among colleagues
The increase in hybrid working environments seen over the last two years has been beneficial for many factors, however, working in isolation can also be a stress factor for those, especially who live alone. Those who work for long periods of time without interacting physically with co-workers can lead to feelings of disengagement at the workplace.
A survey found that even as pandemic restrictions eased in 2022, nearly one in five of remote and on-site employees regularly felt isolated as a result of their jobs.
As hybrid work seems to be a mainstay in the forecast for 2023, employers should think of ways to remedy this problem, by implementing social initiatives and promoting employee social connection. In a Canadian survey, company-organized social activities were found to be an effective way to create connections between colleagues by 75% of respondents.
Developing strategies around diversity, equity, and inclusion
While progress has certainly been made in recent years, there is still a long way to go in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Promoting and providing education around these strategies is a critical factor in a company’s ability to drive success, yet many companies still lack clear, relevant strategies.
Employees need to feel comfortable trusting their teams and sharing their true identities. By focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizations can transform how their employees work with and relate to each other. Developing and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices can allow employers can create an inclusive culture for employees of all backgrounds, and a feeling of emotional safety.
Do you need help preparing your workplace for 2023?
In 2022, our HR and health and safety experts guided over 5,000 Canadian small businesses through the workplace challenges created by the pandemic. Let us help you make your business a success in 2023.
Our experts can help you with company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety or employee management issues that may arise. To learn more about how our services can help your business, call an expert today at 1 (833) 312-6707.