Predicting the future based on past or current trends is risky and often wrong, especially during this period of exceptional disruption. The pandemic has changed our sense of ourselves, our organizations, and how we learn and work together. HR and Training are not the same as they were just two years ago.
We must be cautious about the trends that are a result of artificial intelligence (AI) modeling since this is biased on the past, not the future. Who would have predicted Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion? Chances are good that what we expect to happen will be proven wrong over time. With these precautions, here are some HR and Training trends to watch for in 2023:
1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)
DE&I unfortunately will lose its momentum as a strategic initiative in organizations. The heightened interest in this topic resulting from the response to the public murder of George Floyd and others has resulted in many new initiatives and mission statements. The reduced emphasis on DE&I is largely due to the unmet expectations and aspirations of many well-intentioned individuals (including myself).
Companies have made great progress in hiring for diversity; they have been less successful at inclusion, the managing and developing of diverse talent resulting in promotions to higher positions. The major stumbling block for DE&I will be creating an equitable workplace.
Equity in the workplace refers to fair and impartial processes and outcomes for each individual in the company. There are unseen structural barriers arising from inequalities in our society that organizations alone cannot fix. That does not mean organizations should not try to make educational opportunities, housing, and healthcare more equitable, but it will take time, effort, dedication, and resources. Equal opportunity still has a long way to go, and those pushing for a meritocracy may unknowingly undermine initiatives toward equity.
We must remember that not everyone starts at the same level, and creating a fair workplace depends on one’s perspective.
Research by LinkedIn released last year found the number of people with the title, “head of diversity,” has more than doubled, while the “director of diversity” title rose 75 percent, and “chief diversity officer” (CDO) was up 68 percent. These numbers are misleading since these positions often do not come with the budget, independence, and access to senior leadership required to make significant change to an organization’s culture.
The average tenure of a CDO is less than three years. Unfortunately, in the rush to respond to the need for diversity leaders, there were far too few people who had the expertise and/or the business savvy to lead a major culture change effort tied to business success. We are in a better place now, but it remains to be seen if the business climate will continue to support significant DE&I initiatives.
The last decade has seen a significant reduction in the processes that unite humanity through commerce. There has been little global expansion and more protectionism and nationalism during this last decade. This was occurring well before the pandemic put an end to global business travel, international student exchanges, and expatriate assignments. There are now opportunities for agile organizations to take advantage of global business. Chinese organizations are creating U.S.-based independent subsidiaries to help overcome the fear of the Chinese taking advantage of U.S. intellectual property. Don’t be surprised if new opportunities arise with Russia, China, and Iran should these regimes change or alter their myopic self-defeating nationalistic focus.
Here are some terms that will continue to be important in 2023:
- Quiet Quitting
- Augmented Reality
- Artificial Intelligence
- ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance)
It will be interesting to see what new words and concepts we will have by next year. Remember, the rate of change today is slower than it will ever be again in your lives.