The Key Hr Challenges For 2023

Issue 86

HR professionals and senior leaders alike have faced some unique people challenges in recent years. As 2022 draws to a close, organisations continue to grapple with a range of issues, from skills shortages and recruitment challenges to hybrid working models and the current cost of living crisis.

At Northumbria University, we’ve gathered expert input from business leaders, policy experts and academics to help tackle some of the key HR challenges for 2023…

1. Competition for people and skills

Nicola Inge, Employment & Skills Director at Business in the Community, said: “Vacancies remain at a record high and the number of unemployed people remains low – 1.2 million people (ONS, 2022). This is a real challenge, but it is also an opportunity to reach a diverse, untapped talent pool. However, to reach those who face disadvantage in the labour market, businesses need to change the way they recruit.”

Tips for attracting and retaining staff include, focusing on organisational culture; highlighting the total rewards package; going beyond the salary to include other perks like flexible working, volunteering opportunities or childcare vouchers; and finally, bringing attention to training opportunities. There needs to be a paradigm shift towards visible career development and progression routes as the benefits in staff retention will far outweigh the additional costs.

2. Cost of living

Marianne O’Sullivan, Policy Manager, North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “With many businesses currently looking at how they can help staff to cope with rising inflation, some businesses are offering cost of living payments and others are looking at general pay rises which, as well as easing current pressures, can help to support retention.”

As well as financial concerns, managers and HR practitioners need to take account of the resultant mental health ramifications. Anxious and stressed employees are not as productive – recent figures suggest that 36% of millennials find their performance is impacted by money worries (CMI, 2022), so there is certainly a business case for offering financial advice and support.

3. Wellbeing

Josh Jackman, Operations Director, ART Health Solutions, commented: “Quality of life and wellbeing have become the top priorities for office workers, even above salary, which is now in third place. To attract and retain top talent, businesses must be seen as somewhere that supports employee health and wellbeing.”

Don’t be tempted to look at competitors and try to mirror their wellbeing policy, instead tailor policies and practices to the unique needs and characteristics of your organisation and people. Additionally, a robust internal communications strategy, that helps establish trust in challenging times, will increase the likelihood of staff seeking help when needed.

4. Hybrid working

Dr Emma Thirkell, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Human Resource Management at Northumbria University, said: “The pandemic saw a seismic shift in how organisations view and implement hybrid working, given that only around 5% of the workforce worked from home pre-Covid-19 (CIPD, 2022). For hybrid working to be truly effective, there must be a significant cultural shift, with organisations establishing appropriate policies and practices.”

To ensure that hybrid working is mutually beneficial, parameters should be clearly defined, managers need to be trained to enable them to support and share feedback on hybrid models, and organisations must be dynamic enough to respond to associated challenges, such as advancements in technology. Maintaining social relationships and cohesion is also key.

Supporting your HR and People teams to tackle these challenges

Northumbria University has developed its innovative Senior People Professional Higher Apprenticeship Course to support HR professionals with the knowledge and skills to tackle current workplace challenges such as these.

Find out more at:

Sign-up to our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.