Survey just about any business publication these days, and you’re likely to find an abundant number of articles that are quick to dictate all the ways that global business will never again be the same– in light of the pandemic, the argument almost always goes.
As costly and disruptive as the pandemic proved to be, the cynic might be forgiven for wondering whether many of these changes are in fact necessary byproducts of the pandemic, or whether they more possibly represent various entrenched commercial or constituency interests who see in the pandemic a convenient opportunity. But whether there is a proper basis for cynicism, or whether the workplace really has fundamentally changed in ways that require a whole new assessment and new approaches, there is no denying that change is the name of the game as we prepare to enter 2023.
Look for five major changes, this Fast Company article argues.
#1 Employees are remaining in the driver’s seat
First, while multiple large companies are pro-actively downsizing in anticipation of a prolonged recession, the labor market remains very tight—and that places employees in the driver’s seat on compensation and benefits in the year to come.
Glassdoor chief economist Aaron Terrazas makes the compelling point that, while the announced layoffs at some of the world’s highest profile technology companies have garnered lots of media attention, these layoffs actually comprise “…a tiny fraction of the 160 million jobs nationwide.”
#2 Remote work is to stay
Second, employees and employers had a lengthy trial experiment with remote work during the pandemic, and it appears there is no going back. Especially given the tight labor market and the fact that employees came to appreciate many of the benefits of working remotely, employees are likely to use their leverage in the workplace to keep the remote work trend going.
Terrazas argues that employers who offer remote work options will gain competitive advantage in the search for employees in 2023’s tight labor market—and, implicitly, those employers who don’t will struggle to find the quality employees they seek and need.
#3 Benefits are important recruiting tools
Third, as a product of the tight labor market, employers will face pressure in the year to come to expand their benefit packages in ways that meet employee expectations. Especially for jobs on the lower end of the pay scale, these benefits prove a crucially important recruiting tool.
Benefits likely to become increasingly available include child care, food preparation and service, expanded paid time off, and mental healthcare.
#4 Happiness factor as a KPI
Fourth, the human dynamics of work will continue to be a priority to employees, who have grown to expect that their work will inspire happiness. The problem: Ninety percent of employees believe how work makes them feel matters, according to polling by Glassdoor and Indeed. But a mere 49 percent report that their companies are even measuring this happiness factor. Expect greater measurements and focus on employee satisfaction in the year to come.
#5 Diversity, equity and inclusion are work in progress
Finally, the ongoing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is likely to remain an important priority in the year to come. But like the measurement of happiness, DEI initiatives also represent complexities and challenges, the most prominent of which is that there is a clear generational divide between the largely younger workers who highly value these initiatives and older generations who place considerably less value on them.