Before we start, I implore you, dear reader, to take a look at SHRM’s full State of the Workplace 2022-23 report – its insight, data, and trend predictions are invaluable to human resource leaders trying to get a leg up.

It’s an annual report by the Society for Human Resource Management that surveys thousands of HR professionals, HR executives, and general employees to get a comprehensive picture of where company cultures and budgets lie. Some of the trends within were just what we expected heading into the new year, but some were huge surprises.

Here are the seven statistics that we feel are the most important for HR leaders to take note of this year:

An Evaluation of Evaluations

In 2022, 27% of HR professionals said that facilitating fair and effective performance evaluations would be a top priority for the year. Here at the beginning of 2023, that number has rocketed to 42%.

This is one of the biggest shifts in SHRM’s report; mastering performance reviews is now one of human resources’ biggest targets. This could be a sign that HR departments and employees felt that the previous year’s evaluations fell short in some way, and that this year’s cycle needs an overhaul. Even if you’re satisfied with your reviews, signs show that companies are taking a second look at their own.

The Real World

HR professionals are 17% more concerned about inflation than last year, and 45% less concerned about COVID-19.

It’s extremely satisfying to see a statistic that reflects our (sort of) defeat of the COVID-19 pandemic. After several years of discussing health & safety protocols and the “return to the office”, we can finally pivot and focus on work the way we’re supposed to.

The bad news is that inflation’s now the thorn in everyone’s side this year, becoming just as tough a problem to solve. Employee-wide raises have gone from a bonus to a necessity, and companies around the country are struggling to keep up. This, in turn, led to a couple more interesting stats from SHRM…

Building the Budget

Almost half of HR professionals believe that a lack of budget will be their department’s biggest barrier to success in 2023, a concern that’s risen 21% since last year.

Human resources experts can talk about culture building, employee rewards, and continued education all they want, but no organization can make strides without budgeting for those specific goals. The problem, of course, is that inflation and the post-COVID economy have put constraints on many businesses’ finances, resulting in budgets that don’t allow for much wiggle room.

That said, you HAVE to set money aside for HR, so what are leaders looking to do with it?

What Matters

HR pros believe their department’s #1 priority is to maintain employee morale and engagement, while general employees believe their #1 priority should be finding and recruiting skilled talent.

This one surprised us – many workers are primarily relying on their HR crew to find the best teammates out there, which isn’t often folks’ first thought when they think of HR. The industry is still committed to building cultures for their respective companies, but that’s not always what everyone else wants.

SHRM also found that organizations have sided with the employees in this regard, as 45% of companies are increasing their 2023 recruitment budget, compared to only 26% increasing it for culture. We’d like to remind them that culture can be the biggest key to recruitment in itself!

Losing the Wage Race

48% of HR professionals named “uncompetitive compensation” as a significant recruitment challenge, which is up from 2022’s 41%. 

Hiring is another victim of inflation; new talent is looking for higher pay, and not every organization can offer it. Offering higher pay is always worth an attempt, as oftentimes you’ll save money on recruitment in the long run. However, sometimes your budget simply hits a wall, and that makes hiring rather difficult.

The only challenge more commonly reported in SHRM’s study is a “lack of good applicants”, which is quite the subjective issue. There are good applicants everywhere – it’s up to you to attract them!

Is This Thing On?

HR pros rated their organizations 29% less effective at implementing new workforce tech.

This statistic surprised us because, well… it’s surprising! After a couple years of adjusting to new programs and platforms while the pandemic split workforces up, it would seem like most companies would be well-versed in updating their processes and working with new technology.

However, from 2022-23 organizations have evidently been struggling to adapt to the same sort of tech that’s brought workplaces into the 2020s. It’s either a sign that work-from-home programs are getting too complex, or that everyone just needs an extra day of training. It’s probably the latter.

The Waters Keep Churning

About a quarter of HR pros intend to pursue a new job in 2023.

Just as so many HR departments try to battle low retention, the turnover is often coming from within. We get it – burnout is a real issue and inflation has made higher pay elsewhere a much tastier bait. There’s also the element of “turnover culture”, which is younger generations’ dissatisfaction with staying in one place for too long, especially when better options arise.

Whether or not this will be a trend going forward in the human resources industry, we can’t deny that it’s tough to be an HR professional right now.

Once again, check out SHRM’s full State of the Workplace 2022-23 report to get so many more statistics about HR’s priorities and trends – you’ll be glad you did!

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