Taking the Cue from Employees

For 2023, businesses are aiming to create a more flexible, cohesive company culture that puts employees and their opportunities for advancement, their work-life balance, and their well-being center stage.

Most experts agree that the shift in working culture that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic will continue in 2023. Employee expectations for increased pay, a healthy work-life balance, and more development opportunities continue to rachet up—and they aren’t afraid to head for the exit if those expectations aren’t met. In fact, Moneyzine.com research found that within three months of starting a job, 52 percent of employees are already looking for another job; that number jumps to 59 percent after six months.

“The mass exodus of employees from their workplaces that we’ve been witness to since the pandemic signals a clear shift in priorities,” says Luke Eales, CEO of Moneyzine.com. “Businesses are shifting their focus to align with this change in attitudes, aiming to create a more flexible, cohesive company culture that puts employees and their well-being center stage.”

Adds Laura Dunn Nelson, an executive from Intertek Alchemy, which provides food safety solutions for 7,500 plants and more than 1 million front-line workers worldwide: “We now know it takes more than pay and bonuses to retain employees. It takes a combination of factors, such as a feeling of importance and opportunity for advancement, work-life balance, employee well-being, and healthy relationships with management.”

Paths for Advancement

Walmart Academy, for example, is helping associates see a clear path to advancement and build confidence in their jobs, ensuring there’s a career path for everyone. The academy has several non-linear programs in place to deliver opportunities to individuals and fill massive talent gaps:

  • The Live Better U Program offers to pay off 100 percent of college tuition and books for all Walmart associates. As stated byAP, more than 89,000 workers have participated in this program with just over 15,000 graduates.
  • The College2Career Program gives young professionals the opportunity to kickstart their careers by helping to run a multi-million-dollar business—a Walmart store.
  • The Home Office Pathway Experience Program connects front-line associates currently pursuing a college degree with in-demand roles, in areas such as cybersecurity or merchandising, at Walmart campus offices.
  • Walmart’s Private Fleet Development Program trains supply-chain employees through a 12-week program that offers participants the chance to earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become full-time Walmart drivers.

Group-Based Training Returns

Intertek Alchemy executive Holly Mockus also predicts that group-based training will make a comeback in 2023. “We’re discovering that while eLearning helped us get the job done during a difficult period, many in-person training benefits were sacrificed. There’s no replacing the experience of group-based training, where employees can ask questions to a live presenter and share feedback with other employees,” she says. “There’s also the benefit of live facilitators being able to gauge whether or not an employee actually understands the training material. Group-based training returns the personal touch of the one-on-one learning experience and inspires group discussions. Many companies are realizing the value of bringing people together again for training.”

The Game Is Changing

Our January online-only issue is chock full of other potential learning and development (L&D) and HR trends to keep an eye on for 2023. It includes a round-up article that looks at themes such as employee well-being; empathy building; diversity, equity, and inclusion; hybrid working; and HR data analytics. Plus, it offers a host of feature articles that look at the role of executive education in organizations, building resiliency, attracting talent, creating virtual offices, upskilling via the metaverse, going green, the future of the learning management system (LMS), maximizing the L&D budget, and more.

As research from meQUILIBRIUM concluded: “To achieve organizational growth, businesses will look for ways to ensure that their people are engaged, empowered, and aligned. Skills that build trust and engagement—such as empathy, positivity, and well-being—will be the new must-haves. The game is changing. People want different things from work, and this is moving businesses to look carefully at their benefits. Employers must go way beyond health protection and prevention and move toward helping their employees be prepared to adapt and rise to the changes and challenges in the new paradigm of work.”

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.