Most of us are well and truly ready for the New Year to begin, to close the 2022 chapter and embrace the new year with fresh optimism and energy. Last year there was a lot going on, employers had a variety of challenges to focus on and constant change. Whilst it should have been a recovery year, it was anything but.
I hope that you’re having some time to rest, recover and relax a little over the Christmas period, recharge your batteries and fill your cup for the year ahead.
Commentary is telling us that 2023 will not be an easy year. Many of my clients have been asking my thoughts on where the market will head over the next 12 months, and while I don’t have a crystal ball, I will share some loose assumptions, along with where employment and HR trends are heading for the coming year.
The economy seems to be changing at a quicker pace than was initially expected, with consumers and businesses exercising caution, and already we are feeling the flow on from that, particularly through the construction and real estate sectors.
In the short to medium term at least, even with a recession, we will still experience skill shortages, particularly in technical roles. The employment crisis we currently have in New Zealand isn’t going to simply disappear. While we are beginning to see a few more immigrants come into the regions, it’s possible that we may also lose some of our much-needed talent to the lure of more attractive opportunities off-shore, off-setting the positive impact of immigration.
As the economy tightens, we are likely to see less employee turnover as people decide to stay with their employers, opting for safe options employment-wise.
So, what will the employment and human resource landscape look like, and what trends will we see this coming year? As businesses we are still going to have to be creative in finding ways to do more with less. What does this mean?
There are three key factors that I think will shape human resources this year: Training and development, outsourcing and the smart use of technology.
Firstly, workforce planning and a skills analysis to identify what skills you currently have within your workforce, the skills you need and if targeted training and development of existing employees will meet the needs of the business, for both now and the future. What do you have, what do you need and how can you get there?
Secondly, can gaps in the workforce be filled by contractors? Can you outsource or automate these functions?
In the past couple of years, it has been noticeable how many sole operators, freelancers, VA’s and small businesses are out there offering fantastic cost-effective solutions to businesses. This potentially provides a cost-effective way of plugging gaps within your organisation, without the overheads of employing someone on a permanent basis.
Finally, the smart use of technology. With a shortage of labour, how can we streamline systems and processes and or functions within the business? Are there parts of the business which could be automated, saving valuable hours? I’ve said in previous articles that I feel the HR sector in particular is on the cusp of some really exciting change in this area. In an employee-led, fast-paced market, there is real opportunity to look at some of the time-consuming and somewhat archaic processes we use to employ people.
To summarise, use the talent you have wisely – train, develop and retain.
Contract-out key project or areas where there are gaps – you’ll be surprised at how easy this is and the depth of expertise out there to assist your business.
Finally, ask how can you do things better – what can you automate or streamline within your business?