Xref events

Key HR and Recruitment Trends for February 2023

min read
Top 5 HR trends February 2023

Recruit, retain and remember your people

Simplify your talent journey and make confident people-focused decisions with Xref. Find out why the organisations you trust, choose Xref.

Learn more

Remember top talent with an Exit Survey

Reduce attrition, improve retention, build corporate memory to improve organisational metrics with an Xref Exit Survey.

Find out more

Retain and engage your talent for positive change

Give your people a voice with a tailored Xref Engage survey.

Learn more

Retain your people and make meaningful change

Increase retention and reduce turnover with quick employee feedback from an Xref Pulse Survey.

Learn more

Try Xref Reference for free today

Get started with referencing in Xref today for free. No credit card required.

Get started for free

The trending HR topics of February 2023 indicate that employers and employees are adapting to the changes to work caused by the pandemic. Employers are also looking at ways to foster a culture of inclusivity and engagement in the workplace, and employees are pushing for more pay transparency.

With remote and hybrid work becoming a permanent part of many organisations, employers are trying to brand their hybrid work policies to indicate the company culture and work policy. Employees are also grappling with remote and hybrid work by finding ways to create real or virtual distance between home and work.  

Read on to discover more about the top five HR and recruitment trends of February 2023.

Inclusive leadership

#1 Inclusive leadership

Inclusivity is not a new concept in leadership or human resources (HR), but recognising the importance of inclusive leadership is definitely on the rise. 

A recent survey by Heidrick & Struggles shows that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are more important to their organisation now than ever. 93% of surveyed executives said inclusion is vital to their workplace.

Inclusive leadership emphasises creating an environment where all individuals feel valued, respected, and supported, regardless of their backgrounds, identities, or perspectives. 

Inclusive leaders recognise and appreciate the unique contributions that each person brings to the table, and they actively work to create a sense of belonging for everyone in the workplace.

There are many different attributes and abilities that leaders can cultivate to improve inclusivity in the workplace, including:

  1. Self-awareness and a willingness to learn and grow.
  2. Ability to recognise and challenge unconscious biases.
  3. Active listening and open communication with team members.
  4. Empathy and understanding of diverse perspectives.
  5. An understanding of psychological safety.
  6. Ability to effectively manage conflict and facilitate difficult conversations.
  7. Willingness to acknowledge and learn from mistakes.
  8. Flexibility and adaptability to meet the needs of all team members.
  9. Ability to provide constructive feedback and coaching to team members.
  10. Support for work-life balance and a commitment to employee well-being.

This list of attributes is far from exhaustive, but it can serve as a good starting point to understand what it means to be an inclusive leader. 

So why is inclusive leadership so important? Creating and fostering an inclusive workplace can create a sense of belonging among employees. When everyone feels included, they are more likely to feel connected to their colleagues, work, and organisation. This connection can lead to higher engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace are more than just theoretical. Research by Fundera shows that making diverse, inclusive teams can improve performance by 35% and the chance to penetrate new markets by 70%. 

By actively seeking out and valuing diversity, HR leaders can create a more attractive workplace for people of different backgrounds, cultures, and identities. 

The Glassdoor D&I survey shows the importance of diversity and inclusion for American workers. 76% of respondents said diversity and inclusion were important factors when considering a position. The importance of diversity and inclusivity increases to around 80% for Black, Hispanic and LGBTQIA+ respondents.

With inclusive leadership, HR professionals can help build a workplace culture of trust and respect. Employees who feel their perspectives and experiences are valued are more likely to trust their colleagues and leaders. Feeling valued can lead to a more collaborative and supportive work environment and reduced employee turnover.

Xref is a proudly diverse and inclusive workplace with a multicultural team. Our team, from new staff to upper management, comprises people from many different backgrounds and ethnicities, and all are valuable and vital to the organisation's success.    

Inclusive leaders are committed to creating a safe and respectful environment for all team members to thrive. They understand that diverse perspectives can lead to more innovative and effective outcomes. They also recognise that everyone has something to contribute, and they work to create opportunities for all individuals to succeed.

It's important to note that becoming an inclusive leader is an ongoing process that requires continuous learning, reflection, and growth.

Rebranding hybrid work

#2 Rebranding hybrid work

With many organisations offering hybrid work options, how an organisation approaches work flexibility can become a factor in securing talent. It has become clear that employees worldwide want a hybrid approach to work. A recent study of 10,000 office workers in the US, UK, France and Australia showed that over 50% of employees in every country preferred a hybrid model.

Although some employers demand a full-time return to the office, hybrid and remote work is here to stay. With organisations embracing hybrid working, another challenge has arisen. A recent trend in many organisations has been renaming their flexible working options to represent the business's brand and culture. 

With many seeing hybrid work as a legacy of Covid-19, some organisations may be rebranding their hybrid work policy to make it seem like an incredible new perk rather than a carryover from a difficult time.

Rebranding hybrid work can be useful for making a company stand out from other organisations offering similar schemes. 

There are no hard and fast rules for rebranding a hybrid work policy, but there are two critical factors to consider.

  • What is the intention? - Is the policy remote first or fully flexible? Are there mandatory office days? The style of hybrid work should, in some way, inform the brand name. Salesforce has a fully flexible work policy encompassing office, office flexible and work from home. The title of the Salesforce hybrid policy, “Success from Anywhere”, clearly illustrates this.
  • Is it an extension of the company? - Finding a phrase that fits company branding and illustrates the work policy may be difficult. A variation of a company slogan may be an option. Airbnb uses the slogan “belong anywhere”. The Airbnb hybrid work policy, “Live and work anywhere”, builds on this base slogan.  

As the examples below show, rebranding can indicate an organisation’s approach to hybrid work.

Some organisations have taken a broad approach to their hybrid work rebranding. These companies are using the name as a work ideal rather than outright branding. Car manufacturers General Motors and Stellantis have named their hybrid work policies “Work Appropriately” and “New Era of Agility”, respectively.

Xref is a remote-first workplace that offers flexible working arrangements. We also allow employees to work from anywhere in the world for up to two weeks so long as they work in the same time zone as they are usually located.

Some organisations have more obvious branding elements than others. American Express has titled their hybrid work policy the extremely on-brand “Amex Flex”. Airbnb is more subtle with its branding but “Live and work anywhere” is still very indicative of brand identity. 

Many organisations that offer hybrid work have informal or ad-hoc hybrid work policies. A recent survey by Fishbowl found that nearly half of the employees did not understand their organisation’s hybrid work policy. 

Approaches to naming conventions in line with brand personality may differ, but the organisations that have renamed hybrid work have one thing in common. They have instituted a detailed hybrid work policy that managers and employees can understand. 

Hybrid work policies typically fall into two categories; employee-driven or formalised hybrid working. The branding may reflect this distinction. 

KPMG's “Flex with Purpose” and “Flexibility with Intentionality” from Dutch recruitment firm Randstad illustrate a formalised approach to hybrid work. Both companies emphasise that there must be a good reason to work remotely other than not wanting to come into the office. 

“Work Appropriately” from General Motors, “Work Your Way” from 3M and Spotify’s “My Work Mode” illustrate an employee-driven approach to hybrid work. All three names indicate that the employee chooses how they wish to work and from where. 

A clearly defined and named hybrid working policy can indicate to talent that you offer flexibility. The branding can also show your organisation's approach to flexibility and even give a glimpse of company culture. 

Pay transparency

#3 Pay transparency - Attracting talent and closing the gender pay gap

In early February, the Australian government announced legislation intended to increase pay transparency and gender equality in the workplace. The legislation will require organisations with over 100 employees to publish gender pay gaps on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) website.

Pay transparency refers to openly sharing details about compensation, including salaries, bonuses and benefits, with employees and the general public. Approaches to pay transparency can include salary in job postings, during the interview process and allowing employees to discuss their wages with each other without fear of repercussions.

A recent LinkedIn survey of US workers showed that including salary ranges was a critical factor for attracting talent. 91% of the US-based workers surveyed said that pay ranges in job postings affected their decision to apply for the position. Respondents noted that position responsibilities were the most important information in job descriptions, followed closely by salary range.

Pay transparency has the potential to aid recruitment and HR professionals in several areas, such as:

  • Trust - Trust can be a significant deciding factor for candidates when considering a new position. Pay transparency, or lack thereof, can foster or destroy trust.
    Many candidates distrust organisations that do not reveal pay details in a job listing and may avoid applying. Going through rounds of interviews only to find out the pay is less than what they are currently earning could be incredibly frustrating. This frustration is especially true for people who already have a job and are looking to move.
  • Increased applications - Organisations that offer pay transparency show demonstrable recruitment benefits. After implementing pay transparency, one in six US employers saw the number of job applications increase. A recent survey showed that a third of job seekers wouldn’t attend an interview without knowing the position's salary. 
  • Employee retention - Transparency is also a valuable tool to aid employee retention. Sharing potential pay increases or bonuses can help employees see the value of staying in an organisation. Similarly, a clear promotion or career advancement plan showing any associated pay bumps could aid retention.
  • Gender pay equality - Pay transparency is a powerful tool to push for gender equality in the workplace. Research shows that pay transparency closes the wage gap across most job levels and occupations.

According to the WGEA, the gender pay gap in Australia currently sits at around 22.8%, and women earn an average of $26,600 less than their male counterparts. The gender wage gap has been steadily closing but stalled in 2022. The new legislation is intended to hasten the gap closing and make it easier for employees to report pay gaps to government bodies.

Australia is not the first country to institute pay transparency laws, and it won’t be the last. The UK has had legislation necessitating that pay gaps be published since 2017. Denmark and Sweden have had pay transparency laws since the early 2000s. Many US states have also implemented transparency legislation, with New York being the most recent.

The European Union reached an agreement at the end of 2022 for pay transparency laws that would affect all member nations. These new laws cover several critical elements regarding pay transparency. These elements include the gender pay gap, transparency for job seekers, and the right to pay information for employees.

Job seekers are increasingly looking for three things regarding salary: equal pay for equal work, fair rates and pay ranges shown in job listings. Of course, pay is only one factor contributing to employee acquisition and retention, but it must be considered in any hiring and retention plan.

Virtual commuting

#4 Virtual commuting

Commuting to work five days a week was common before the pandemic, but things have changed. The need for a commute has diminished with the rise of remote and hybrid work. A recent conceptual study suggests that commutes act as a liminal space for employees, giving them time to prepare for or recover from work.

The need for distance between home and work has long been understood. Numerous studies have been conducted into how boundaries, like commutes, can act as “role transitions''. These transitions give people a chance to switch roles appropriately. The new study theorises how the lack of a “role transition” may affect people working from home. 

The literal distance between a workplace and home can help workers metaphorically distance their home life from their work life. Employees may need help separating their work and home life when working from home. This difficulty can lead to stress and burnout. Commuting may be a thing of the past for many workers, but the need for a commute remains, even if it is virtual.

Creating a separation between work and home is vital for maintaining a healthy work-life balance when working remotely. How employers and employees can help foster this gap can differ depending on the employee’s situation.

Xref is a remote-first workplace. While we maintain office spaces as ‘hubs’ in multiple cities around the world so employees can get together in-person, our employees also have devised ways of creating a virtual commute to separate work from home.

For some Xref employees, it’s as simple as walking a dog at the end of the work day, making taking a stroll with a furry friend a commute from work mode to relaxation mode. Others do yoga, pilates or other exercise classes to put distance between work and home. Some separate work and home by hiding their work laptop at the end of the day, so it’s no longer in line of sight 

Creating a home office or workspace in a dedicated room can go a long way toward separating work and home life. Shutting the door to an office at the end of the day can act as a clean break from work.

Even without a dedicated office space, there are other things employees can do to create a virtual commute to and from work, including:

  • Keep a set routine - Getting up at the same time every morning and having time between waking and work can give employees time to prepare for work. Likewise, finishing work at the same time every day allows them to set defined boundaries for their work day.
  • Dress for work - Even if you work from home, getting dressed for work gives separation from work and home. Dressing as you would in the office can add a separation between work and home. The act of dressing for work can also serve as mental preparation for a workday.
  • Set expectations on your working hours - Clearly communicating working hours to co-workers and managers can help create a healthy work-life balance when working from home. At Xref, examples of communicating work hours include setting do not disturb or outside of work hours notifications in emails and other instant messaging services.  

Managers and supervisors can help employees create virtual commutes and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Managers can help by reinforcing employee routines and habits, such as not contacting them outside of defined work hours. 

Internal recruitment

#5 Internal recruitment

In August 2022, we wrote about the trend of organisations encouraging a culture of internal mobility to help reduce the impact of talent shortages. This month, a related trend emerged- internal recruitment for employee engagement and retention.

When a new position is created within an organisation or an employee leaves, recruiters and hiring managers can look for external talent or recruit internally. Hiring externally may seem like the obvious route for filling vacant positions, but employers are beginning to understand the value of fostering a culture of internal recruiting.

Internal recruiting is the process of filling job vacancies within an organisation by identifying and considering current employees for an open role. Moving employees between different positions or departments within an organisation is becoming increasingly crucial for employee engagement and retention. 

At Xref, we endeavour to fill open roles internally before advertising for external talent. Our internal recruitment culture has seen many employees progress through multiple positions. Internal recruitment has led to Xref having strong employee retention.

Hiring internally to fill open roles can benefit a company in many ways, including:

  • Employee retention
  • Knowledge sharing, collaboration and cross-skilling
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Reduced hiring costs
  • Fostering diversity and inclusion
  • Attracting new talent
Employee retention

When employees see a clear path for growth and development within an organisation, they will likely stay with it long-term. Providing opportunities for internal recruitment can reduce turnover and increase retention, as employees are less likely to feel stuck or stagnant in their careers.

Research shows that employees stay 41% longer in organisations with high internal recruitment rates than those without.

Knowledge sharing, collaboration and cross-skilling

When employees move between departments or teams, they bring their unique perspectives and experiences with them, leading to better collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving within the organisation. It can also help break down silos and promote a learning and knowledge-sharing culture.

A continuous learning and development culture can lead to a more innovative and adaptable workforce better equipped to respond to changing business needs.

Improved employee engagement

When employees feel they are part of a dynamic and evolving organisation that values their contributions, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. Internal recruitment can provide a sense of purpose and meaning to employees, as they can see opportunities for progression or a career change within the organisation.

Reduced hiring costs

Hiring from within can be more cost-effective than hiring external candidates, as internal candidates often require less training and onboarding. According to Gallup, replacing an employee can cost up to one and a half to two times the employee’s annual salary.

Fostering diversity and inclusion

Internally promoting can not only help to retain talent, but it can also help to foster diversity and inclusion. Cross-skilling, mentorship and knowledge sharing can help organisations foster a culture of diversity and inclusivity as it gives all team members, on all levels, the opportunity to contribute and progress.

Attracting new talent

Existing staff members can fill not all positions. Some positions may require specific qualifications or training, while others may require backfilling when an employee moves internally. If a position needs to be filled by an external hire, having a robust internal recruitment culture can help make an organisation attractive to new talent. 

Organisations can create a more dynamic, engaged workforce committed to success by promoting internal recruitment.

Internal recruitment is becoming vital to any employee engagement and retention plan for 2023 and beyond. Providing employees with career growth and development opportunities, knowledge sharing, and collaboration is a proven way to make them feel valued and engaged. 

Final thoughts

Pressures due to the new nature of work and the economy play a prominent role in the dominant HR and recruiting trends of February 2023. Organisations embracing hybrid working are rethinking how to brand their hybrid work policy to help attract new talent while also investigating methods to recruit internally and retain existing employees. Similarly, employees are searching for ways to separate home and work while working from home.

Pay transparency has become a hot topic for employers as new legislation in Australia, the EU and other places requires organisations to post pay gaps online. Employers are also demanding more transparency in salary in job listings.

How organisations approach pay transparency, internal recruitment, inclusive management, and hybrid work policy will significantly affect recruitment and retention in 2023.  

To learn more about the HR and recruitment trends of 2023, check out the Key HR and recruitment trends for January 2023.

You may also be interested in

  1. Recruit and Retain Top Talent in 2023
  2. The power of mentors in the workplace
  3. How to bring your employer brand to life

Recent articles

View all