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Two HR Trends to Watch This Year

Two HR Trends to Watch This Year

March 2023

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Human resources is a field that is constantly changing.

In recent years, the CHRO has become increasingly important. Previously marginalized areas like DEI are getting more attention. HR representatives are grappling with how to adapt to a remote and hybrid work world.

It’s no surprise that HR trends change so quickly. We’re working with humans, after all, and while people have many excellent attributes, predictability is not one of them.

This unpredictable nature of the human experience makes it important for leadership to keep up with the latest HR trends. It also presents challenges at times when those trends appear to contradict each other, as is the case with the current concepts of flexible work schedules and the need to reignite professional networking.

Networking and Asynchronous Work

A recent Forbes article outlined the top 10 HR Trends to look out for in 2023. Some of these were unsurprising, such as the growing emphasis on avoiding burnout and facilitating employee well-being. Two items that stuck out though, particularly due to their dissonant nature, were the integral role that flexibility would play in the future of work and the desire to bring the “off-site” vibe “on-site”.

Regarding the former, flexibility is poised to become a central selling point in talent recruitment and retention moving forward — and not just in the traditional sense. Yes, employees still want the flexibility to work from home or at the coffee shop. But the time that they work is also a factor.

Some workers, both of the knowledge and frontline varieties, are opting for flexibility to work fewer, longer days. Others want to work at times of the day that facilitate their unique rhythms and creativity. They want their bosses to trust them to be productive outside of the traditional 9–5 schedule.

In other words, they want to fully embrace asynchronous work. This relay race form of independent work, which requires specific expectations and collaboration guidelines to implement properly, can be less stressful and very productive.

At the same time, another HR trend is the desire to bring the off-site vibe on-site. This comes from the fact that while primary professional relationships thrive in a remote setting, secondary networks are struggling.

Workers may be closely connected with their co-workers through email, video chats, and apps like Slack. However, they aren’t expanding their connections in the same way they used to in the past. Sites like LinkedIn can help, but LinkedIn only serves to make acquaintances, not cultivate relationships. This is pushing more and more HR representatives to look for ways to keep everyone connected and collaborating together.

Leaders Will Need to Solve the Asynchronous Networking Conundrum

Asynchronous flexibility and the need to network are two trends that are on a collision course. At the moment, a growing number of leaders are utilizing in-person offices to facilitate “off-site” style gatherings that are “on-site”. These are replete with coffee shops, training areas, and other collaboration-friendly spaces.

But is that enough? What about the fully remote workers who can’t attend in-person gatherings on a regular basis? What about the early birds or those who prefer to work later in the day or in the wee hours of the morning?

As the world adjusts to the desire for employees to work wherever and whenever they’d like, the struggle to network will grow. Moving forward, the responsibility will fall on leaders to maintain the collaborative coherence of their teams. They must find solutions in the form of new policies, tools, and innovative strategies that can keep their employees happy, connected, and ultimately productive, no matter what their daily work looks like.

“Moving forward, the responsibility will fall on leaders to maintain the collaborative coherence of their teams.”

This once again underlines the importance of a C-suite that is able to adapt to its circumstances. It’s an element that factors into every candidate that our team at Stanton Chase places.

Yes, you want leaders who are good in the present, have relevant experience, understand their fields, and can manage well. But you can’t stop there. No matter what position you’re looking to hire or what industry you’re in, you also need creative, resourceful leaders who are able to look ahead, see issues, and find ways to proactively address them before they become a problem.

About the Author

William Brewer, CCP, is a Director at Stanton Chase Los Angeles. He is also Stanton Chase’s Global Human Resources Practice Leader. Prior to moving into executive search, Bill had 25 years of experience in corporate human resources. In addition to his executive search career, Bill is an adjunct Professor at the University of Redlands. Bill also serves as a mentor for the MBA program at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and has been a mentor with the School of Business at the University of Redlands.

Executive Search
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Talent Management and Employee Well-Being

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