The last few years have seen unprecedented disruptions in how, when and even why we work. As we look to 2023, Korn Ferry talent acquisition experts offer their thoughts on what the coming year will bring to the job market.
1. Moving around – but not out. Thanks to an uncertain job market, professionals are no longer thinking of career growth in the traditional terms. Instead, they are ditching the ladder for the lattice, making moves to other areas within their current organization, signaling a growing internal mobility trend. In many cases, companies will use talent analytics and workforce planning to determine which new roles are needed to futureproof the business and which employees might be a good fit for those roles. Going forward, employers should focus more on developing their current workforce, offering regular trainings and certification programs to reskill or upskill internal candidates. Increasingly, companies will use artificial intelligence (AI) platforms that use predictive analytics to shortlist promising internal candidates, provide tailored career development content, and develop personalized career paths based on goals and interest areas. Investing in internal mobility, experts say, will not only help organizations to attract top talent and develop more diverse pipelines, but also to fill open roles and critical skill gaps amid stalled hiring.
2. From “it’s complicated” to “in a long-term relationship.” It doesn’t pay to make a great hire if that person doesn’t stick around for very long. That’s why, going forward, talent acquisition and talent management teams should work together more closely, from the start of the hiring process through career development and succession. By partnering together, recruiters and talent managers can better identify career paths for professionals, then provide the right training and development to move them along their career journey successfully. Employers can strengthen the interconnectivity between their teams by investing in cloud-based talent platforms that allow recruiters and talent managers to share, capture, and leverage talent data to not only deliver a progressive employee experience, but to also help the business grow for internal mobility. This helps new hires feel valued and respected, and signals that their employer is invested in their success.
3. Executives and professionals for (short-term) hire. Instead of relying only on full-time employee (FTE) hires, companies will increasingly look to interim executives and professionals to meet scaling workforce needs. And there are several benefits to employing an interim employee approach. People who choose interim or contract work are often highly skilled, mission-oriented and project-based individuals who assimilate quickly into new environments. They can bring unique skill sets and experiences needed for finite projects, during mergers and acquisitions, or to temporarily fill roles during a leave of absence or while the company searches for a permanent employee. In 2023, we will see an increase in people seeking flexible opportunities. In turn, talent acquisition professionals will put more focus on nurturing relationships with candidates seeking interim or contract roles and work with clients to determine the most effective scenarios for filling positions. In such a dynamic landscape, experts recommend companies maintain a 70/30 FTE-to-interim worker mix.
4. Productivity? Check. Now, what about culture? The past three years have proven that workers can be just as, if not more, productive working from home. The problem is, how can organizations maintain—or even improve—their culture if everyone is still working at their kitchen table? In 2023, companies will get the best of both worlds by making hybrid workplaces the norm. Experts say hybrid work models will allow employees to enjoy the freedom of remote work while reaping the benefits of being in the office (think better access to training and development or impromptu brainstorming sessions). This, of course, is not one size fits all: the hybrid environment will depend on an organization’s needs, roles, and people, and should be based on data, employee sentiment, and individual cases. Some may need teams to meet in person on the same day each week, while others may ask employees to be in the office only a few times a month. But next year, talent acquisition professionals can expect many more companies to offer hybrid work arrangements to attract top talent, with some requiring remote-first candidates to live within a certain radius to visit the office when needed. And as working models change, experts say companies will continue to maintain highly productive outcomes.
5. We’re moving from work-life balance to work-life integration. The concept of work-life balance has long been a goal for millions of professionals. But the last few years of remote work have made it even more difficult to tune out the daily demands of the job when off the clock. Many employees have started taking a new approach, foregoing the traditional 9-to-5 in favor of a more fluid schedule. In 2023, more candidates will look for companies that promote work-life integration: being able to put in hours when it’s most convenient to take care of personal responsibilities when needed (think working a few hours in the morning, taking an afternoon break for an appointment or to pick up kids, then back to work in the evening). Watching the clock will become less important, as managers assess success by the output of employees, and not the timeframe of their workday.
6. Bouncing back: boomerang employees inbound. It sounded like a good idea at the time. When business was booming and nest eggs were growing, many professionals decided to retire early. Others took the big leap to switch jobs—or even professions. Now, with an uncertain economy and shrinking retirement accounts, many retirees are knocking at their former employer’s door, as are professionals who realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. This can actually be a bonus for companies as they welcome back former workers who have institutional knowledge and proven skill sets. In 2023, organizations will start to put more effort into the offboarding process, maintaining professional relationships with employees who leave and making sure those employees know the door is open if they choose to return. And by investing in digital workforce performance technology, talent acquisition professionals can keep track of former workers to discover who may have the right skills and experiences to fill high-demand roles.
7. Workforce planning is getting smarter. If your workforce plans worked last year, there’s no guarantee the same plans will succeed next year, especially in such a dynamic economy. Going forward, talent acquisition professionals will need to be more deliberate in their demand planning, removing silos and collaborating with business leaders across functions to truly understand their needs for the coming year. The use of AI and predictive analytics will become more prolific in forecasting to help identify the right roles, skills and geographies to focus on the changing business. Recruiters can also expect a slowdown in hiring as employers start to make more calculated decisions that have lasting impact, rather than knee-jerk hires to fill seats. And if the market does in fact downturn in 2023, companies will need to take a much more measured approach to right sizing their workforce. Talent acquisition professionals should conduct scenario-based workforce planning to prepare for the worst, average and best-case economic conditions. In each case, it will be critical to focus not only on the downturn, but also on the recovery, so organizations can bounce back quickly and dynamically.