Top 3 Trends Driving HR Strategy in 2023

by Pranav Ramesh
February 07, 2023

To all the hiring managers and HR professionals out there… we see you.  

It’s been a rough few years. And if your organization is in a better position now than it was in early 2020, you are largely to thank for that.  

You saw the highs – a booming job market, competitive talent pools, and the expansion of big tech. 

And you saw the lows – global economic uncertainty, pullbacks, and most recently a growing wave of layoffs.  

While HR’s importance within its parent organization has finally gotten some recognition – 89% of CEOs now believe HR’s role is critical to the mission – less than half of organizations believe they have given their departments the necessary resources for success.  

However, through it, all you’ve persevered, endured and helped the US labor force transition into new work paradigms, culture, and evolving relationship dynamics between an employee and their team. And though you may not get the full credit you’re due, how you’ve handled the last few years is a large reason for optimism going into 2023 

But good HR managers know how to look ahead and are already preparing for what the next year ahead has in store. Read on to learn about three trends HR departments should watch as 2023 progresses. 

Trend 1: Leadership is Key for Managing Change 

Whether it’s an evolution in tech, the implementation of new regulations, or a global crisis with the power to disrupt macroeconomics; if there is anything that history teaches us is that change is inevitable. The most successful teams are not those that simply react to these changes, but those that effectively manage them. That is only possible with strong leadership at all levels of an organization.  

The vast majority of organizations, 83%, believe leadership development is important at all levels. But it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves recently due to other pressing issues. Only 5% of businesses have implemented a leadership development plan. This is despite the fact HR leaders think leadership effectiveness is the #1 priority, according to Gartner. Yet less than a quarter of those same HR leaders believe their current approach is sufficient moving forward.  

This should be the year for an increased focus on not only acquiring good leaders from without but a renewed emphasis on developing leadership qualities from within. Building a successful leadership development program also promotes a good company culture.  

Trend 2: It’s all about Skills 

According to McKinsey, 87% of organizations are experiencing a skills gap or expect to have one within a few years. Yet, until recently, hiring managers when looking for the right candidate focused primarily on two criteria – does the candidate have the right degree and/or relevant and direct experience in the field? In this role-based hiring model, a candidate’s skills were secondary.  

Not so much anymore. In a tight and competitive job market, HR managers are not necessarily looking at degrees or direct experience – they are looking at a candidate and asking, “does this person have the skills to get the job done.” More than 40% of companies on LinkedIn rely on skills to search for and identify prospective candidates. And they have found success doing so, with a 60% higher likelihood of finding a successful hire than those not relying on skills.  

But focusing on skills shouldn’t just be for candidates. Those wanting to build a positive work culture, which should be in every organization, would do well to help current employees upskill and reskill. Indeed, workers consider opportunities to learn and grow within a company as the number one driver of culture. 

Trend 3: The Future of Work 

Hybrid and remote work was more of a fringe idea before the pandemic. At the beginning of 2019, less than 6% of workers were fully remote, a number that had barely climbed over the decade prior. However, as of June 2022, nearly 80% of workers were hybrid or remote, and an AT&T study found that is only expected to continue to grow into the near future. Not only that, but workers prefer remote and hybrid work, with 87% saying it improves their work-life balance. 

But the “future of work” consists of more than just where employees are working. It’s anticipating and preparing for future talent needs, shifting and emerging skill trends, and a flexible roadmap for an organization’s future initiatives. Yet, while 42% of HR leaders think having a “future of work” strategy is a top priority, nearly the same number say they do not have one in place.  

Artificial intelligence will continue to play a significant role in the future of work. Within HR, AI is increasingly being used to automate repetitive tasks, improve decision-making, and enhance the overall employee experience. Whether it’s using AI to write a job description or designing policies and procedures, AI can and should be leveraged by HR departments bot 

While each organization’s needs and goals will determine what their “future of work” strategy will look like, Gartner on how to build a successful system for their organization specifically.  


As leadership begins to fully understand the crucial role HR plays in its company’s success, hiring managers and HR professionals need to be ready to lead their organizations into the future with agility and confidence. Fully understanding trends like leadership development, upskilling and the future of work will help HR leaders do just that. After all, as Steve Wynne said, “Human Resources isn’t a thing we do; it’s the thing that runs our business.” 


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