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HR A Year in Review 2023
We once again start the year by reviewing the hot topics that presented key challenges and opportunities for HR in 2023.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There were lots of discussions in 2023 in the workplace about AI and its impact on work and the future of work. This was particularly expedited by the release of ChatGPT, BARD, ChatSonic, Bing AI chat etc. A recent research shows that the net impact of integrating AI into the workplace is positive. Another research shows that two in five workers expect their roles to significantly change with AI. Evidence shows that businesses are embracing and adopting AI and other technologies to gain competitive edge. The AI Summit 2023 highlighted some of the risks associated with using AI and the need to take precautionary measures. HR and People professionals can work closely with business leaders to drive the transformation changes and provide the necessary support workers may need to upskill, in order to take full advantage of the opportunities that AI presents and to ensure the safety and appropriate use in the workplace.
With the ongoing cost of living crisis, with wages rising but not quite overtaking inflation, a lot of employers and HR and People professionals placed emphasis on providing support for employees through Financial Wellbeing programmes. The impact of financial stress on employees can directly affect their wellbeing, and consequently their productivity and absence at work. Supporting your workforce to become more financially savvy through awareness programmes and signposting them to useful resources and services.
Four Day Working Week
A pilot study involving 61 companies and 2,900 in 2022 showed that employee wellbeing, reduction in absence, low staff turnover and increase in productivity. With 56 companies choosing to extend the pilot. Other organisations are trialling their own schemes. But not every organisation is keen on the four day working week. The UK government issued a non-statutory guidance to local authorities, discouraging them from adopting a four day working week. Some organisations find the four day working week too complex to implement. Whilst the four day working week is attractive and can be key to attracting talent and retaining staff, it might not be for every organisation. HR and people professionals must work closely with employers and the workforce to ensure that adoption and implementation of the four day working week is successful.
More employers are asking their workforce to go back to the office. A study showed that 83% of UK CEOs are likely to reward employees who come into the office. However, most employees see hybrid working as a right. Hybrid working is certainly here to stay. The pandemic proved that most roles can be performed remotely. It also forced most organisations to put facilities in place to facilitate remote working. There are many benefits to employees being able to work this way. It includes better work-life balance, financial savings and increase in productivity. Organisations not offering hybrid working may lose out on great talent. There is no one size fit all solution. Employers and HR and People professionals must engage with the workforce to come up with hybrid working strategies that work operationally to the benefit of all stakeholders.
Author: Mary Asante