By:  Kim Adamson


Employers are recognizing that employees want more flexibility and that trusting employees to decide where, when, and how the work gets done is the trend moving forward for increasing productivity and fostering wellness and employee retention.  A recent Gartner study revealed that 39% of employees want more flexibility and would quit if they were forced to return to a traditional 100% in-office setting, and 55% of employees say their ability to work flexibly will impact whether or not they stay with their employer.[1]  Employers are realizing that a more human-centric approach to design, rather than location, and creating a more flexible workforce is not a loss of control but rather an empowerment of their workforce that encourages high levels of innovation, collaboration, and an increase in productivity.  Employers are creating a great place for their staff to work and are embracing a fully distributed model of remote, in-person, and hybrid options.  Employees are three times more likely to be high performers when given flexibility over where, when, and how they work.[2]  Employers are prioritizing providing tools and technology to improve the workplace and assist with better communication, connection, and belonging among staff, teams, and the company.  In 2023, employers need to embrace a “people first” mindset and focus on improving working conditions such as flexibility and work-life balance, which includes everything from recognition, performance management, career development, and promoting overall well-being, mental health, and self-care.


Employees are looking to employers for better mental health offerings.  An American Psychological Association survey found that 8 in 10 employees seek workplaces offering mental health support, which affects attracting and retaining staff.[3]  Employee mental health continues to cause employees to leave their jobs due to issues relating to anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout.  The reasons vary from issues relating to the continuing pandemic to inflation and financial uncertainty to global social concerns (climate crisis, war, racial injustice, and politics).  Return-to-work policies have also taken a toll on employees’ mental health.  Gallup and Thrivemyway’s studies state that 50-60% of employees are burned out due to unreasonable time constraints and expectations of 24/7 availability and ineffective managers dealing with the “new normal” of remote staff (many of whom are also overwhelmed and burned out).[4]  Employers are reviewing their benefits offerings and stepping up programs like employee assistance programs (EAPs) and mental health and physical activity/exercise apps that incorporate wellness practices into daily routines, such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and exercise.  Although 70% of organizations have made additional investments in well-being the since the pandemic, most employees are still not taking advantage of these offerings.. Employers need to explore better ways to market, promote, and encourage employee participation in the mental, emotional, physical, social, and financial programs they offer.


Human Resources departments face a talent dilemma in recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff.  In 2022, 92% of C-level business leaders said their organization would not be able to meet goals without the right talent. When leaders were asked if hiring or retaining talent would be the more significant HR challenge this year, the responses were somewhat split, with 56% saying hiring would be the most challenging and 44% stating retaining talent is of utmost concern.[5]  In today’s job market, it’s not enough to post a job and hope that suitable candidates apply. Employers must be proactive in recruiting efforts and build talent pipelines full of qualified candidates.

Many employers need help finding qualified staff with the desired skills. Now in a time when talent is in short supply, many organizations are facing a more considerable mismatch between available talent available and the jobs to fill.  Hiring for transferrable skills and looking within your organization may be a way to help bridge this gap. In 2023, employers will need to improve workforce planning to anticipate better the skillset required.  This skills gap, combined with the need to fill positions briskly, may explain why a third of organizations indicate skillset requirements are areas they are flexible in, compared to education (24%), years of experience (24%), and work location (19%) requirements.[6]  A report by McKinsey, “Defining the Skills Citizens Will Need in the Future World of Work,” suggests investing in skillsets that include: cognitive skills (mental flexibility), interpersonal skills (inclusiveness and conflict resolution), digital skills (programming and data analysis), self-leadership skills (self-motivation, grit, and persistence), project-based skills, as well as “human skills” such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation, emotional intelligence and social influence, conflict resolution.[7]  Employers and HR may need to be more creative with job skillset requirements and recruiting strategies.

Many HR leaders are prioritizing retention over talent acquisition.  HR staff and employers are focusing on long-term incentives to attract and retain great talent and improve the overall employee experience, such as increased salaries, creative PTO options, flexible workplace policies, benefit programs for improved mental, physical, and financial well-being, career training for staff, and manager and leadership development.


Learning and Development programs have taken a big hit since the pandemic. They have become a top priority for many companies as they refocus on employee training and career development.  Employees choose employers based on learning and development opportunities. Employers must make talent strategy a key priority and take steps now to educate, train, and upskill their existing workforce.  Employers need to focus on offering training and career development programs and mentorship opportunities to improve the employee experience and promote an environment focused on positive interpersonal relationships, developing soft skills, and improving productivity and performance.

Since the start of the pandemic and during the “Great Resignation,” many high performers were promoted to managerial positions in an attempt to retain them.  Many organizations also hired less experienced candidates for managerial positions due to the talent shortage.  These efforts have left many companies with the dilemma of needing to train and develop leaders and managers to ensure they manage, lead, and coach their teams to be successful.  Developing the next generation of leaders is a top challenge for 55% of CEOs. However, only 11% of companies have a strong leadership bench.[8]  It is critical in 2023 for employers to provide training for leaders and managers to create value in the organization and help with employee satisfaction and retention.


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) have received more visibility. All Fortune 100 companies have their DEI initiatives outlined on their websites, and 49% have a dedicated DEI initiatives leader. In addition, industry data shows that companies with highly diverse workforces are more productive, with up to 19% higher revenues than less diverse companies.[9] Many companies focus mainly on recruitment; however, in 2023, employers should be refocusing diversity initiatives to increase inclusion in the entire employee life cycle and create a more inclusive workplace where people feel like they belong.  Alignment of people and organizational strategies will enhance DEIB.


Climate change continues to worsen, and it is key for companies to focus on sustainability initiatives; according to Harvard Business Review, over 700 of the 2,000 largest publicly traded companies—including 52 of the FTSE 100— have stated their intentions to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.[10]  Notably, nearly half (49%) of Gen Z (born from 1997-2012) express that their personal ethics and beliefs play a role in their career choices and press their employers to tackle climate change, particularly when it comes to efforts they can get directly involved in.[11] In 2023, employers should consider how they can reduce their environmental footprint (i.e.,  switching to renewable energy sources, reducing waste, tightening up supply chains, or allowing staff to work remotely more often.)




[4] Employee Wellbeing Starts at Work (; Important Burnout Stats, Trends and Facts 2022 (







[11] PowerPoint Presentation (