ET Insights exclusive: Analytics, employee experience and upskilling high on agenda of HR leaders

Our study reveals key HR priorities and action steps that will be in focus for 2023

Key findings:
—People analytics, employee experience, employee upskilling and well-being are the top strategic priorities for HR leaders in 2023
—58% of HR executives state that a hybrid work model will stay
—HR analytics, automation and data security emerge as key technology priorities

Like any other business function, HR leaders were put to the test like never before.

Over the last three years, they found themselves challenged on all fronts as they witnessed a sudden shift from remote work to hybrid work models, mass resignations and layoffs, ongoing economic instability, and geopolitical upheaval.

In such turbulent times, ET Insights deep dived to find out the top HR priorities and trends that will shape their function in 2023.

We asked HR executives to list their top five strategic priorities for 2023.

People Data and Analytics emerged as the topmost strategic priority for HR leaders for 2023, as per the ET Insights survey. This was followed by improving Employee Experience, Upskilling of Employees and taking care of Employee Health and Well-being.

What’s driving these priorities?

Gleaning HR data
People analytics can be used to attract the right talent, improve company’s performance, and provide employees with more opportunities for career growth. It will also enable HR teams to have answers and take informed decisions to some key questions around diversity and inclusion (DEI) to geolocation and workforce planning. Through People Analytics, HR leaders can unlock huge value and opportunity hidden in the people data.

Fostering talent, building value
The move to remote and then to hybrid mode of work has put a stress on traditional employee experience models. Irrespective of the situation, the success of any business continues to be driven by its workforce, and it is essential that employees are happy and motivated. HR leaders want to focus on delivering the best experience starting right from improving the internal customer service. They also want to focus on measuring employee experience with productivity. This can help HR teams to find the relationship between employees and the business outcomes they deliver.

Swiftly upskilling and reskilling employees will be another effective strategy for bridging the skill gaps, and ensuring employees are well-equipped to contribute to a company’s growth. Investing in learning and development of employees will also aid in creating better experience.

Well-being focus to continue
Considering the events over the last three years, employees will look for companies that take a holistic approach to mental, physical, and emotional health. HR teams want to focus on creating a more proactive strategy for employee resilience and well-being. For companies this translates towards focusing on employees’ emotional, physiological, and monetary health. Many organisations have started to appoint a chief well-being officer to address the employee burnout challenge.

Hybrid working to stay
Flexible work will continue to stay. Our survey found that more than half of the respondents (58%) will continue embrace the hybrid way of work in 2023.

However, around 29% of the respondents want their employees to back in the office completely, while 13% of the respondents stated that they will a remote-only work strategy for 2023.

What is clear is that no one is returning to the same workplace that they left. HR leaders understand that employees want the flexibility to choose how they work, remotely and partly in the office.

Instinct, intuition gives way to data
We asked HR leaders to share their top 2 technology focus areas in 2023. Our survey found that HR analytics emerged as the topmost tech priority for the HR function.

This did not spring a surprise considering that people and data analytics (as stated above) emerged as a strategic priority in the survey.

With the emergence of HR analytics as a tech priority, HR leaders now want to be at the centre of decision-making with data and insights.

HR analytics will help to create a strategy that optimises investments in talent and at the same time provides the ability to monitor recruitment, employee engagement, productivity, accountability, retention, and such workplace initiatives like employee well-being.

Many global research findings have revealed that HR managers spend more than half of their time on tedious administrative tasks.

The ET Insights survey found that Automation is the second topmost priority for HR functions that can help them to improve the quality of HR processes, automate manual tasks and minimise errors, bring in transparency, streamline the onboarding process, free up employee time and so on.

Protecting data is another key area of focus for HR executives, the survey reveals. They want to leverage automation and Cyber Security best practices to create a fast and secure workplace.

About the HR Leaders Survey 2023
The HR Leaders Survey 2023 was conducted by ET Insights between 1st December to 22nd December 2022. A total of 96 HR leaders across sectors participated in the survey. The primary focus of the survey was to gauge the emerging trends in the HR space, find their priority areas and understand the technologies that will shape and redefine the HR function in 2023.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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