Aftershocks from the pandemic continued to rattle the workplace in 2022, as terms like “quiet quitting” joined “Great Resignation” in the new vocabulary.
GOBankingRates spoke with a variety of experts who expect 2023 to be no less consequential. As the modern workplace continues to evolve into something that today’s retirees wouldn’t have recognized when they landed their first jobs, both employees and employers should be ready for even more changes moving into the new year.
Remote-Hybrid Is Working — Don’t Expect Offices to Fill Back Up
Necessity forced the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work during the pandemic, but the trend is not receding with COVID-19.
“Surveys done in 2022 have seen employees express their happiness, and there has been a notable increase in productivity from remote and hybrid working,” said Adrienne Couch, human resources analyst at LLC.services.
Tracking Happiness, for example, surveyed more than 12,000 employees worldwide and found that working from home increased happiness levels by as much as 20% — and happy workers are productive workers.
Data from Ergotron, the National Bureau of Economic Research, Future Forum and Nitro shows that remote workers report less stress and a healthier work-life balance despite working longer hours. None of this is lost on employers moving into the new year.
“As such, companies are more open to continuing to encourage this working arrangement as opposed to having workers return back to the office,” said Couch.
In 2022, there was an apparent trend of unsatisfied employees registered their discontent passive-aggressively by doing only their minimum job description and refusing to put in any extra effort that was likely to go unnoticed.
In 2023, companies will gear their hiring strategies toward weeding out these so-called quiet quitters.
“The trend of quiet quitting fundamentally changed what employers are looking for in their teams,” said career and management coach Lindsay Broder, CEO of Occupreneur. “To decrease turnover, they’re going to be looking for more of a commitment from employees to their companies and their cultures. They will likely hire fewer people but entrust them with far more responsibility. If candidates show that they’re entrepreneurial and innovative, and want to own their careers as if they owned the business, they not only have a better chance of getting a meaningful position, but they will likely have a much better career trajectory.”
Bosses Will Turn the Tables With ‘Quiet Hiring’
In 2022, Google made waves with a unique solution to the quiet quitting conundrum. Instead of blasting out open positions to career sites and job boards, it engaged in what the company termed “quiet hiring,” which valued internal recommendations and employee referrals over experience, education and qualifications.
Google designed the strategy to filter out likely quiet quitters from ever receiving an offer — and in 2023, the trend will spread beyond the biggest name in search.
“Quiet hiring will be noticeable through increased upskilling opportunities for existing employees, promoting internal talent mobility and making use of alumni networks to hire talent when needed,” said Couch.
Employers Will Ramp Up Surveillance — and Should Expect Staff Pushback
The meteoric rise of remote work triggered a phenomenon that industry analysts termed “productivity paranoia.” In other words, how could employers keep tabs on workers scattered across the region or country working from home in their PJs, far from the boss’s watchful eye?
“With companies embracing remote and hybrid working arrangements, management is also concerned with keeping an eye on employees to ensure they are doing what they should during logged working hours,” said Couch.
According to a study from Digital.com, at least 60% of companies with remote workers monitor them with so-called “bossware” or “tattleware” — and another 17% are considering it.
“So, there is expected to be workplace surveillance in 2023 through employee tracking software, which will keep employees from slacking off,” said Couch. “This software will also ensure employees are following healthy practices like regularly moving around and taking breaks, as more companies understand and appreciate the importance of employees’ mental health.”
Even if their intentions are noble, bosses should beware. According to Forbes, the Financial Post and several major research studies, employee tracking software isn’t particularly effective and it often causes the kind of resentment and mistrust that can lead to mutiny.
Policies of surveillance, therefore, are likely to backfire and might just create the coming year’s version of quiet quitting or the Great Resignation.
Artificial Intelligence Will Give HR a Helping Hand
Finally, employees can expect to be more hands-on with their company benefits and PTO as AI and other technologies free up the humans in human resources.
“One place, in particular, I think we’ll see this in 2023 is in employee management portals,” said Jon Hill, chairman and CEO of energy industry recruiting firm The Energists. “Giving employees self-serve platforms for seeing and using their benefits, putting in time-off requests or accessing and signing up for professional development has multiple benefits. It gives employees more control and agency, first of all, which can benefit employee satisfaction and well-being. It also takes some tasks off of HR’s plate, making the department more efficient and able to use their time for more valuable things. In short, it’s a win-win when implemented correctly and there are more options to do so than ever before, which I believe makes this something we’ll see even more companies adopting in 2023.”
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