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HR focus areas for 2023

How to ensure that you are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering on HR strategies and resources

Christyn Balagus

The first few months of a new year are a great time to not only reflect on the year that has passed, but to look forward at the focus areas for the upcoming year.

2022 gave us some relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t mean HR professionals had an easy time in 2022. From the Great Resignation to Quiet Quitting, to employees’ greater desire for flexibility, HR pros had their hands full in 2022.

If there was one thing these last two years have shown, it’s that HR plays a critical role in the success of an organization, and at many organizations, HR has shifted from an administrative role to a strategic one. These strategic initiatives are only going to continue as we take a look at what will likely be a few of the focus areas for HR in 2023.

A look forward into 2023

Focus on recruitment

Recruitment is going to continue to be a focus area for many HR teams this year, despite an upcoming recession. HR teams need to continue to focus on their employer brand, ensuring their organizations are marketed towards their ideal candidates.

In order to attract modern job seekers, providing information on culture, flexible work options, well-being, and training development will be critical for recruitment teams.

A big impact that we predict the upcoming recession to have in 2023 is recruitment budgets, with many organizations likely having less resources and adding fewer people to their teams. This will make the quality of new hires crucial, ensuring that those who are added to the team have the skills and abilities to contribute to the organization in a broader way.

HR teams will need to ensure their recruitment and selection processes are finely tuned to consistently hire the right person for each open role.

Reskilling and upskilling

Many industries struggled with recruitment and retention in the latter half of 2022 and will likely see those struggles continue into the early months of 2023.

Because of this, organizations are expected to place a greater focus on management skills and abilities, “reskilling,” and “upskilling” their current teams to ensure the organization has equipped their leaders with the skills and abilities needed for them to be successful in their roles and provide the support they need to their teams.

HR professionals and recruiters are still having challenges filling roles with qualified candidates. One solution to this is developing the skills they need within the talent they already have. This strategy has the additional bonuses of providing challenges to current employees, keeping them engaged and interested in their roles, and attracting outside talent with a desire to find a role with career growth opportunities.

Employee wellness

With workplace stress on the rise, the full cycle of employee wellness will likely be a focus area for numerous organizations for this upcoming year. When we look at employee wellness, we’ll look at the whole package including physical wellness, mental wellness, emotional wellness, and financial wellness.

While organizations may look towards offering their employees more counselling to support their mental health, financial education for employees, or healthier food options in the cafeteria and break room, it’s important to take a step back and look at the overall culture of an organization to put in place larger, systemic changes and practices that will result in lasting change.

Remote and hybrid work

Remote and hybrid work are not new phenomena in 2023, however many organizations will likely be reviewing their remote work policies and practices as companies continue learning to adapt to the changing nature of work.

2023 will be a great year to review these policies as we’ve all had a couple of years now of experience with remote and hybrid work and can now tweak those practices to better fit distinct teams.

It will be critical for organizations to take into account their employees’ desire for more flexibility in order to maintain competitiveness in the job market. A survey conducted by Gusto, a payroll and benefits platform, found that of workers who declined a recent job offer, 45 per cent said they declined due to the lack of flexibility or work/life balance.

HR burnout

LinkedIn data found that the profession with the highest level of turnover in 2022 was HR professionals, with 15 per cent average turnover in HR teams globally, while the average turnover rate for all roles was 11 per cent.

These high levels of turnover in the HR profession are likely due, in part, to HR’s greater responsibility in organizations, and their shift into being more strategic roles. This same LinkedIn article speculates that another reason for the spike in turnover in HR departments could be due to HR’s insider knowledge on how the organization is run and how employees are treated.

It’s important for organizations to ensure their HR teams have the resources, tools, and processes in place to allow them to do their best work and support employees.

If any of the topics mentioned throughout this article are focus areas for your organization, reach out to Stratford People and Culture to see how we can help.

About Christyn Balagus, CPHR Candidate 

A consultant for the People & Culture team at Stratford Group, Christyn started her HR career as a sole HR practitioner, building HR processes and policies from the ground up. She has worked in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces, in industries including retail, construction, and financial services. This experience helps her provide solid generalist expertise to her clients. 

Her previous experience includes streamlining policies and procedures, modernizing recruitment processes, bargaining, and interpreting collective agreements, investigating policy breaches, administering health and safety programs, and implementing employee engagement initiatives.  

For more information about Christyn, connect with her on LinkedIn: