Research group, McLean & Company surveyed more than 1,000 human resources (HR) professionals in a variety of roles, across industries and across different working models, and found several key workplace trends in place – results the firm publishes in its HR Trends Report 2023.

They say HR’s role as strategic partner is stronger than ever, with many being relied on to make critical business function decisions. “Now more than ever, organizations need to prioritize employee development, wellbeing, and the employee experience, because the alternative appears to be lost productivity, poor performance and high rates of turnover,” says McLean & Company director of HR research and advisory services, William Howard.

The research found that HR priorities have remained mostly static this year. In both 2022 and 2023 reports on priorities, the firm found that recruiting, providing a great employee experience, developing leaders and controlling labour costs all remain as top priorities in both years. In the list of 2023 priorities, however, diversity, equity and inclusion drops from fifth place to sixth place in firm’s priorities, behind learning and development.

They add that 2023 is the year for organizations to move from focusing on where work gets done to improve on how the work gets done. “Whether a team is remote, onsite, or hybrid is less important than curating the employee experience beyond the physical boundaries of work,” they write. 

Finally, they say firms must stop reacting to short-term skills shortages and labour market challenges, and instead focus on developing a long-term mindset regarding skills. “The most pressing skill gap to address in 2023 is that of first-time leaders who can lack the critical leadership and strategic competencies to be successful in their new roles. HR must prioritize their development and provide them with opportunities to develop key leadership skills required to effectively lead teams.”