Top 5 Trending HR Topics for October 2023
The world of HR doesn’t stand still for long. In fact, it’s constantly evolving, and it's important for HR professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices. This month, we're taking a look at the top five trending HR topics for the spookiest time of the year, October. After all, there’s nothing scarier than being out of the loop, so shut the curtains, grab your candy, and let’s dive in.
The employee experience
The UK job market is incredibly tight at the moment. Wages are at historic highs, and unemployment is incredibly low, yet firms just cannot seem to find the staff. 73% of companies have said they had trouble recruiting since July, and this shows little sign of improving in the near future.
That’s why the human, or employee, experience will continue to be a top trend this year. Employees are looking for jobs that offer them a sense of purpose, flexibility, and growth, and companies that fail to offer these simply won’t attract new hires or might even lose current staff to forward-thinking competitors.
HR professionals can elevate the employee experience in their companies in a number of ways, such as creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace, offering more flexibility and work-life balance, and providing opportunities for growth and development. Upskilling, in particular, is a great way to promote your brand’s employee experience by boosting professional growth and allowing for career progression, which is an absolute must in such a tight market. The world of work is changing rapidly, and employees need to be able to adapt to new skills and technologies, both for their benefit and their company.
Going hand-in-hand with the employee experience, mental health and employee wellbeing continue to be other top trends in HR. Despite the pandemic being well and truly behind us, UK workers still have to contend with the cost-of-living crisis and the energy crisis, and you can imagine the toll this is taking.
Recent figures suggest that a massive 64% of the UK workforce rates their overall wellbeing as low, with the key stresses being personal finances and job challenges. It isn’t too surprising then that 83% of UK employers have reported a rise in employees requesting more wellbeing benefits in the workplace.
It’s a safe bet that wellbeing in the workplace will be a top trend in HR for the foreseeable future, probably forever. Many are taking this seriously, with 7 in 10 employers having already introduced a head of wellbeing role or equivalent. If your company is lagging behind, your employee retention is sure to sag. Start by offering access to mental health resources, such as employee assistance programmes, wellness programmes, and mental health days.
Return to office
It looked like the office debate had been settled, with remote and hybrid work now a permanent fact of working life.
But the return to the office topic has reared its head once again, with one study even suggesting that 90% of companies will have returned to the office by 2024. It definitely seems that employers are aiming for it, with the majority of CEOs saying that they will reward employees who come into the office with pay rises, promotions, and favourable assignments.
What is causing this drive of leaders to get everyone back to the office? Despite all the evidence to the contrary, it seems many still believe that working from home just isn’t as productive, collaborative, or creative. They should be cautious, however, as many would rather quit than give up their hybrid schedule. When you add in childcare costs as high as £600 per month, returning to the office seems like a rather pointless endeavour for many.
It’s a nuanced topic, and HR must do their research before making any hasty decisions.
VR and the metaverse
HR is constantly on the lookout for bigger and better tools to get work done more efficiently, and VR is finally at the stage now where we’re starting to see real-world applications.
With many still working from home and leaders still seemingly desperate to have everyone in the same location, VR could be the perfect solution for all. With the latest headsets coming down in price, it is now much cheaper for businesses to kit out remote staff and have them all hop into the same cyberspace. This shared virtual world isn’t just perfect for collaboration but also for recruiting, onboarding, and training as well.
The metaverse is aiming to be a world leader in this technology, and with companies already onboarding staff in the metaverse, we might be seeing the start of a hot new HR trend.
This wouldn’t be an HR trend list without the biggest topic of the year — automation.
What else can be said about artificial intelligence that hasn’t been said already? Many HR professionals are already using this game-changing technology to automate tasks, such as payroll, onboarding, and performance reviews. This frees up HR professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as generative AI is being employed to draft inclusive recruitment campaigns, match new hires with mentors, and even upskill talent.
And with the UK setting its sights at being a world leader in artificial intelligence, it’s safe to assume that automation will be at the top of every company’s agenda for years to come.
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