Reacting to the changes – thinking about your HR in 2023

Business 9th January 2023

With Christmas out of the way and a new year on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to think about whether your human resources processes, strategies and documents are hitting the mark for 2023

2022 was a year of changes

There is always a list of things to think about in any business at this time of year. Going into 2023 though I think we are all very aware of the ongoing impact from the events of the last 12 months. The hope this time last year was that 2022 would be a nice, stable, quiet year so we could get ourselves back to normal. That wasn’t to be though, and it turned out to be exactly the opposite for many businesses.

Right now, most directors and managers will be thinking about sales and marketing drives, financial changes, and resilience in the face of a potential recession and rising costs. That is just as it should be of course, but can we suggest you make sure you don’t forget to look at your HR? When you are facing uncertain times, it is easy to forget that without the right human resources in place you are potentially undermining all your efforts in other areas. When it comes right down to it, every business is dependent on a good team, and HR is there to make sure that team is in place and supported.

Key areas to consider going into a new year.

It’s worth remembering that we are currently reacting to some of the most fundamental changes in how we think of ‘employment’ since the industrial revolution. As well as procedural and contractual changes such as the increase in remote working, there has been an attitude change in employees and employers in areas such as work life balance and well-being. Things have changed and are still changing.

Here are just a few suggestions for areas to consider for the coming year.

  • Do you need to revise your contracts and support materials?

It’s good practice to review and revise your employment contracts as well as your other documentation and processes on a regular basis. It is particularly important going into next year. Many businesses have been reacting on the fly to unexpected developments like the pandemic, remote working and 4-day weeks for nearly 3 years. That means there could be inaccuracies or unamended elements in your current contracts and employee information. A stray, forgotten, clause in a contract can be a nightmare if there is a problem somewhere down the line. Worse still, they could potentially be inaccurate and possibly a legal liability.

  • Are you promoting your employer brand enough and is your offer, right?

The crisis in candidate availability is not going away and workers have choices. Is it time to do a salary and benefits review for existing and future employees? Going into an uncertain year, the last thing you need is for your current talent to be tempted away because their package is not at the right level. It goes without saying that you should ensure your employment package is competitive, both in your sector and locally.

  • Have you dealt with any outstanding HR/people issues?

The run up to Christmas and New Year can be a sort of null time where things go on hold because of the coming break. As a result, if you had any unresolved issues in mid-December, they can unintentionally end up not being addressed again until the second week of January. While this is understandable, it means they have been in limbo for 4 weeks. Address any outstanding or potential HR issues as soon as possible or they will only be exacerbated by the delay.

  • Mental wellbeing and employee care are going to be important

Over the last couple of years, we have advanced more in awareness of mental wellness and employee wellbeing than we have in decades. Now comes the hard work of providing the support needed to continue to implement that awareness through initiatives in the workplace.

  • Deal with your potential employment needs early

Again, we can’t stress enough that the lack of overseas migrant workers, the issues surrounding cost of living rises, the great resignation, the continuing fallout from Brexit, the high demands from potential employees, and many other factors, are causing challenges with finding the right talent. The best method of dealing with this is to map out and plan for your employment needs in the coming year. It’s worth running some scenarios. What if a key person left and it took a long time to replace them? Can you look to a strategy of internal upskilling? Is there a possibility of redundancies? and so on. The more you prepare for a range of scenarios the better. Having resilience plans and employment strategies in place is a must in a difficult marketplace.

  • Objective setting will tie it all together

All the above will come together easier if you set a series of objectives to aim for. You can still be flexible and agile of course, but a strategic plan with clear goals will continually return you to the right lane.

As of writing it looks like 2023 is going to be tough for many businesses but, hopefully, it will at least be a little more stable than its predecessor. Whether it is or not, getting your HR ‘ducks in a row’ will probably save you a lot of work and potentially money, in the coming months… and all the indications are that they may be two things that will be in short supply.

Call us on 01604 763494 or drop us an email and let’s chat about getting your HR strategy right for 2023

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