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Top 10 HR trends of 2023

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2023 was a challenging landscape for recruiters and HR teams. We present a special edition that revisits the popular trends that have shaped HR discussions in 2023.  

The selection of trending topics below reveals the need for workplace practices to be consistently reviewed to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the workforce. 

Xref branded green graphic with text that says Quiet hiring

Trend #1 Quiet hiring

In our HR trends blog published in January, we talked about quiet hiring. Quiet hiring is the exact opposite of quiet quitting. Quiet quitting saw employees doing the bare minimum to complete their tasks. Quiet hiring sees employers identifying those employees that go above and beyond.

Indicated by Gartner as a top trend, quiet hiring, is a technique an organisation can use to overcome talent shortages without a change in headcount. 

Quiet hiring offers a way for organisations to achieve objectives without hiring new talent. Identifying employees willing to shoulder extra responsibilities and internally promoting them can foster a culture of internal mobility and aid employee retention. 

For internal mobility to work well, managers need to clearly articulate the position's importance to the overall business goals. They should also state how additional responsibilities will help in career progression or advancement in their permanent role.  

Xref branded green graphic with text that says Inclusive leadership

Trend #2 Inclusive leadership

Our HR trends blog in February highlighted the importance of Inclusive leadership. Inclusive leadership is all about ensuring everyone feels valued, respected, and supported, regardless of where they come from or their personal choices and beliefs.

A survey by Heidrick & Struggles found most executives think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are highly important in the workplace—93% said inclusivity is a must.

Inclusive leaders appreciate what each person brings to the team and ensure everyone feels like they belong. Studies show having diverse and inclusive teams can boost performance by 35% and increase the chance of success in new markets by 70%.

HR leaders can make their workplace more attractive to people from different backgrounds by actively seeking diversity. According to the Glassdoor D&I survey, 76% of Americans believe diversity and inclusion are important when choosing a job. For Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQIA+ folks, it's even higher—around 80%.

Becoming an inclusive leader is an ongoing journey that involves learning, thinking, and growing. It's worth it to make sure everyone on the team feels they belong and are valued.

Xref branded green graphic with text that says Coaching in the workplace

Trend #3 Coaching in the workplace

We wrote a blog about coaching in the workplace back in March this year. An article from HR Leader talks about how coaching is important for HR professionals, but the good news is it can help everyone in any role.

Coaching in the workplace is a bit like mentorship, but more laid-back than a formal mentor/mentee setup. For HR professionals, coaching comes in handy when dealing with tough conversations. With coaching, HR pros can handle these tasks more effectively.

Experts from HR Executive vouch for how important coaching is, given the way we work has changed (thanks to hybrid working.) Unlike in the past, when managers used coaching to fix problems, now it's all about helping and engaging workers. A coaching culture can make people more productive, provide better customer service, and improve performance.

If you want to create a coaching culture at work, Forbes has some good tips:

1. Have regular one-on-one chats: Create a "safe space" where the person being coached can talk openly with their coach.

2. Focus on building relationships first: Before jumping into skills, build trust by listening and asking questions.

3. Use coaching skills in every chat: Active listening, asking open questions, showing empathy, recognising contributions, and giving feedback can make your workplace better over time.

A big part of successful coaching is emotional intelligence. If the person getting coached is distracted or not in the right headspace, the coaching process may not be effective. So it's crucial to remember timing matters!

Xref branded green graphic with text that says Aligning organisational values with younger generations

Trend #4 Aligning organisational values with younger generations

In our blog published in April 2023, we talked about how Generation Z (born in the late 1990s to early 2010s) and Millennials (born in the early 1980s to late 1990s)—are making a big impact on how companies are run. 

According to PwC, these cohorts make up 38% of the global workforce, and it's forecasted to jump to 58% by 2030.

Expectations of workers have changed, especially for Gen Z, who have different values compared to older generations. Companies that don't get on board with these values might struggle to find the right talent.

Research from Talent Board showed that when Gen Z look for jobs, they care a lot about finding a company with values that match their own. So, what exactly do younger generations want from an employer?

Gallup's research, titled '4 Things Gen Z and Millennials Expect from Their Workplace,' found they want to work for a company that:

1. Cares about their well-being, both physically and emotionally.

2. Is ethical and has a positive impact on people and the planet.

3. Supports diversity and inclusion.

To attract, keep, and inspire younger workers, companies need to make sure their recruiters and talent acquisition teams don't just talk about things like employee wellbeing, transparency, diversity, and ethical leadership—they need to live and breathe it. 

Changing company values starts from the top, with leaders showing the values younger workers care about and then managers and recruitment teams living those values every day.

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Trend #5 Using technology to improve the candidate experience 

77% of Australian talent leaders see digitising talent acquisition, retention, and upskilling as a significant challenge in 2023, according to research conducted by KPMG. 61% anticipate it will remain a challenge for the next three to five years.

In May, we saw increased discussion around how technology plays a key role in facilitating a smooth and engaging candidate experience.

According to the ANZ Hiring Trends report from SmartRecruiters, things can easily go wrong when checking and interviewing candidates, leading to the possibility candidates will lose interest quickly. 

Findings from Talent Board suggest candidates get frustrated when the hiring process drags on for more than two to three weeks. More than half (55%) won't wait longer than a week after their final interview for a job offer and will look elsewhere.

Talent acquisition (TA) teams need to speed up the hiring process to snag the best talent. Technology can help by automating tasks that take up a lot of time, like scheduling interviews, giving updates on applications, providing a central place for TA to find candidate info, and handling contracts.

If you want to attract top talent, using the right technology to accelerate the hiring process and get employees on board as quickly is highly beneficial. 

Xref branded green graphic with text that says The benefits of builidng an eco-friendly office space

Trend #6 The multi-beneficial impact of building an eco-friendly office space

In June, we celebrated World Environment Day and shared why offices need to be more eco-friendly, along with some actionable tips.

There are perks to having eco-friendly offices. First, it helps reduce carbon emissions, which is great for our climate-conscious world. Plus, creating green workspaces makes people more likely to return to the office. 

A People Matters article showed that eco-friendly spaces cater to employees' needs, leading to higher job satisfaction, better engagement, and increased productivity. It even mentions people working in 'green' buildings sleep better, get sick less often, and think more clearly.

Going 'green' doesn't just help the environment—it benefits employers and employees too. When organisations, big or small, make changes to be more sustainable, they often see improved engagement and performance.

Xref branded green graphic with text that says Retirees an untapped resource

Trend #7 Retirees, an untapped resource

Our HR trends blog in July, delved into the challenges of talent shortage

In the U.S., industries including healthcare, professional services, retail, education, and manufacturing are keen to hire senior employees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Employers are attracted to hiring retirees as they have special skills (60%), contribute quickly (57%), have good business know-how (51%), and can mentor others (49%).

Research from Robert Half found 58% of Australian employers have hired retirees in the past year. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says there's been a big increase in workers aged 65 and over, with 40,600 more employed in February compared to the previous year. Retirees are returning to work to supplement their income due to the rising cost of living.

Retired workers bring important benefits to companies: 

  1. They have a lot of business knowledge and know how to improve processes.
  2. They bring different perspectives useful for planning and solving problems. 
  3. Hiring retired talent can be a smart move for companies dealing with a talent shortage.
Xref branded green graphic with text that says AI enhancing HR and recruitment processes

Trend #8 AI enhancing HR and recruitment processes

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a big topic for a while now and was one of our hot trending topics for August. We see it in the utilisation of chatbots as well as many and varied uses of ChatGPT, often making work more efficient. For instance, AI can help with hiring by using keyword scanning to find the right skills.

We see AI come into action in other areas too, such as payroll. More and more companies are employing staff globally. Dealing with a workforce spread across geographies has many complexities, as each country or state has its rules and compliance regulations. Keeping up with this is a challenge that technology can simplify. 

The right technology cuts down on tedious, manual-intensive tasks. Using AI in payroll can help HR teams operate well in a remote set-up, especially where payroll teams are small and the workforce is large. 

AI can speed up the hiring process, especially in screening candidates. With a shortage of talent, talent acquisition managers need to grab the best people fast while still ensuring they hire the best possible candidate for the role.

There are different ways to use AI in hiring, like checking cover letters for the right skills or using chatbots to set up interviews. AI is changing the game in how we find and hire the right people for our teams.

Xref branded green graphic with text that says The power of microbreaks

Trend#9 The power of microbreaks 

Professionals have been discussing the importance of breaks when it comes to work-life balance and employee wellbeing. 

In the spotlight for an HR trending topic in September was the power of microbreaks. Microbreaks are short breaks of about 10 minutes that employees can take throughout the workday. 

A study from the journal PLOS ONE, as mentioned by Peoplematters, found that these quick 10-minute breaks make workers less tired and more positive. 

Microbreaks are especially helpful for facing routine tasks, although they might not make really mentally challenging tasks easier—they do give a little energy boost.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) experts talk about the dangers of working too much, They suggest microbreaks as one way to stop the stress cycle. According to HBR, people who don't take time to rest and recharge are more likely to feel super tired, perform poorly, and lose motivation.

While taking longer breaks is good, experts say that even tiny micro breaks during the workday—like stretching, doing some deep breathing, or going outside for a bit—can help stop stress and bring you back to feeling normal.

Xref branded green graphic with text that says Creating psychologically safer workplaces

Trend #10 Creating psychologically safer workplaces

Psychosocial hazards are becoming an increasingly important topic in workplaces.  

HR and recruiting circles are focussing on providing employees with more support and psychological safety at work. While there is a positive increase in awareness of mental health issues, there's been a step back in openly discussing these concerns. 

Recent research in Australia shows that 68% of employees prefer to keep their mental health status hidden from employers, with 60% fearing discrimination.

A similar trend is noted in the US, where employees are more aware of mental health issues but are less motivated to discuss them with employers. Comfort in talking about mental health with senior leaders dropped from 37% in 2021 to 19% in 2023, according to a study by Mind Share Partners.

To create psychologically safer work environments, HR leaders can follow tips featured in BW People, Human Resources OnlineThe Harvard Business Review and HR Magazine. Some highlights are mentioned below:

1. Focus on safety and community, as 78% of employees believe a healthy work culture is crucial for mental health.

2. Ensure empathetic HR practices, balancing the physical, emotional, and professional aspects of employees' lives.

3. Adopt a multi-part strategy, incorporating training, open communication, employee assistance programs, and flexible work arrangements.

4. Encourage employees to use available mental health services, assessing usage and finding ways to increase participation.

By fostering psychologically safe work environments, employees are more likely to open up about their wellbeing and utilise available mental wellness resources.


From insights on employee wellbeing, use of technology and AI in HR, inclusive leadership and coaching, this curated list of HR trends from 2023 reveals the evolving nature of HR. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this year-end wrap-up of HR topics that got leaders and HR influencers talking. As we bid farewell to the year 2023, let's carry forward the invaluable lessons gained.

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