Top 4 HR Trends for 2023 by the father of Modern HR, Dave Ulrich

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Top 4 HR Trends for 2023 by the father of Modern HR, Dave Ulrich
Any internal HR activities can and should be connected to external stakeholders. Think of any HR activity (e.g., DEI, agile teams, employee experience) and put the trigger “so that” behind it.  So that turns the internal action into external value.  

Top 4 HR Trends for 2023 by the father of Modern HR, Dave Ulrich

Without a doubt, the context of business (physical pandemic to emotional endemic, technological disruptions, political toxicity, social justice, shareholder intangibles) have made “human capability” (talent + leadership + organization + HR) material for all stakeholders.

In this context, we have identified  65 “trends” that HR should attend to.  Many of these “trends” are timely (e.g. hybrid work, quiet quitting, work task management, etc.).  However, I believe there are some timeless trends that will affect 2023 and beyond, including

Connecting Inside to Outside

Any internal HR activities can and should be connected to external stakeholders. Think of any HR activity (e.g., DEI, agile teams, employee experience) and put the trigger “so that” behind it.  So that turns the internal action into external value.  

Any of the HR practices can be linked to customer, investor, and community value. This outside/in logic ensures that HR is not about HR, but about creating value in the marketplace and that the best thing an HR or business leader can give an employee is a company that succeeds in the marketplace. 

With success in the marketplace, employee meaning, learning, and community will not happen.

Harnessing Uncertainty

In the quest for stability, many declare a “new normal” that will permeate work.  More likely, uncertainties will persist … economic inflation or deflation, recession or growth; political conservative or liberal regime; environmental turbulence and disasters; technology and social disruptions.  Finding opportunity in uncertainty is less about predicting what might happen and more about recognizing personal and organizational certainty. 

Regardless of what happens (inevitable uncertainty), how will you personally (or leaders you coach) likely respond?  What do you know about yourself that will continue?  A leader pondering this question said she knew with certainty that she would be resilient and continue to learn, regardless of what might happen.

Likewise, regardless of what happens, how is your organization likely to respond? An organization shared with their customers that regardless of the changing circumstances, they would be committed to doing whatever they had to do to meet customer needs.   They could not predict the future, but they could be certain about their commitment to customers. 

Navigating Paradox

Paradox exists with there are two competing agendas or poles that appear opposite, but can be navigated to make progress (long vs. short term; top-down vs. bottom-up; inside/out vs. outside/in; efficiency vs. innovation; operational vs. strategic; individual vs. team; etc.). 

By recognizing and navigating (not managing) paradoxes, leaders and organizations make progress. Navigating paradox means recognizing the duality and each pole, engaging in conversation about the pros and cons of the poles; discovering options to connect the poles. 

Leaders and organizations who navigate paradox shift thinking “from … to” to “and … also”.  How can an organization be both short AND long-term; efficient AND innovative; care for people AND be competitive?

Personalization 

Organizations have created flexible policies:  flex-time, flex-dress code, flex-benefits, flex-work location, flex-job (job sharing), etc.  Organizations have also worked to categorize employees by generation, demographics, roles, and lifestyle (often characterized by employee resource groups) to manage diversity, equity, and inclusion.  The evolution of flex and categories is personalization. 

Personalization means that each employee may create a tailored relationship with where, how, and what work is done.  Companies can personalize the employee value proposition by ensuring that as long as an employee delivers value, the employee will personalize work.  

Customization has become popular in dealing with customers (e.g., Google, Amazon, and others tailor ads and services to specific customer needs). Organizations will likely personalize employee work relationships based on employee preference and organization requirements.  

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