Thinkers360 2023 Predictions are member-sourced from our opt-in B2B thought leader and influencer community with 100M+ followers on social media combined. The 2023 Predictions are part of a series to provide actionable insights for business and technology executives.
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We asked a selection of our Thinkers360 global thought leaders and influencers about their predictions for the Future of Work in 2023. Here’s what they told us…
What are your predictions for the Future of Work in 2023?
As we move headlong into an extended period of economic uncertainty, the labor market will soften a bit, but the skills gap will remain. Amidst the extremely tight labor market we have been experiencing, employers have focused much more on employee experience, and organizations shouldn’t lose that focus in 2023. With employee burnout and mental health challenges at an all-time high, with more and more workers (particularly young people) trying their hand at the gig economy, and with a growing gap between what workers want (remote and flexible work) versus what organizations want (people back in the office), it is still going to be challenging for organizations to find top talent, especially in technical fields. Focus on the holistic employee experience, make sure your people feel truly needed, wanted, and valued, with the opportunity for continued professional growth and to contribute in meaningful ways each and every day, and you and your team will be strategically situated to attract, retain, and engage talent that will drive continued innovation and bring value to the market.
– Jonathan H. Westover, Managing Partner and Principal at Human Capital Innovations, LLC.
Is there a future of work? It’s a strange 19th and 20th Century term when we think about what we have all experienced globally over the last three plus years. Work without a purpose, work just to earn money will increasingly feel like an outlier for us, in and out of the office. The real question for 2023 is how we question the very principles that have driven the industrial; and capitalist ages of the last two hundred plus year. Think of three questions we are all asking ourselves now. Do we need to be in the office to do work? How do we do our best work as individuals and as teams? What should the office feel like and where should it be? If we can answer these three questions for each of us in 2023 then maybe, we stop looking to old world norms (200 years of them) and co-create something that makes sense for now and the near future.
– Michael Gale, CMO, Snr VP at Wind River.
2023 will bring a renewed focus on cost savings, reprioritization of tech/IT budgets, and greater emphasis on collaborative and client-facing tools and resources for the hybrid workforce. Core tech trends will revolve around AI/machine learning, Edge Computing & Analytics, Hyperscalers, Workplace Automation, and workforce technology focused on improved at-home work productivity and immersive workplace experiences. Machine/Human Interface (HMI) and automation will drive tech spending due to lack of skilled workforce and growing employment gap. Due to economic uncertainty and recessionary markets, we will see consolidation of technology vendors who do not have a balanced portfolio or are not diversifying their solutions to meet changing enterprise and SMB needs. Tech companies who hyperfocus on core business challenges will fair well, especially those who are working to solve complex business issues or provide relevant value propositions to businesses.
– Stephanie Atkinson, CEO and Founder at Compass Intelligence, LLC.
Business leaders will need to understand and constantly review the issues that matter most to different stakeholders. This will be necessary because, as trust and faith in elected officials continues to diminish, many are looking to business leaders for leadership on social issues. Indeed, businesses are already being called upon to fill the gaps. While most business leaders are comfortable sharing succinct mission and value statements, I encourage and help leaders develop more extensive vison stories (not statements) about their corporate vision as a means to preempt conflict. This includes crafting a vision for a company’s culture that accommodates a wide range of people with differing points of view. That said, look for an uptick in “big tent” vision stories being shared by top business leaders in 2023.
– James Kerr, Principal at Indispensable Consulting.
A Perfect Labor Storm Fuels Prolonged Labor Shortages
My hands down prediction for 2023 is that next year at this time we’ll still be talking about labor shortages. In fact, you can reserve my spot on predictions for the next decade and use the same prediction. While slower economic growth will undoubtedly fuel an increase in unemployment and slowdown in hiring, industries like healthcare, education, warehousing, transportation, and trades are so far under water in staffing key roles that job openings, wage growth, and above average quit rates will persist. You can thank shifting demographics, lower participation rates, and a collapse in the growth of our working age population for the “Perfect Labor Storm.”
– Ira Wolfe, Chief Googlization Officer, President at Poised for the Future Company.
An increased integration of AI in many aspects of work and also in everyday life will release employees and associates from mind load and will shift emphasis to more empathetic behaviors required from them. This will change the requirements in the full employee life cycle (recruitment, development etc.), in conjunction with a need for altering the management processes. Organization will need to redesign themselves to appeal not only to these needs but also respond to a new external context of operation: the external conditions will be demanding increased corporate social responsibility and controlled operational efficiency. Revisiting the way corporations are designed and operate will be the core emphasis during this year.
– Anna Mamalaki, Organizational Effectiveness-Org Design and Development- Director Consultant for Org. Transformation at Business the Human Aspect LLC.
The Rise of Augmented Coaching
Quiet quitting became common vernacular in 2022 and it’s my belief that this is hugely driven by overwhelmed managers with not enough time. Managers over the past few years have been required to take on many new roles, none more so that the role of a coach. However effective coaching requires time and insight. In addition to all the other requirements of a manager, they are also required to interrogate data for skill gaps and build coaching to help close the gaps. Unfortunately, many managers just don’t have the time which is why Augmented Coaching will be the next big trend. AI will provide managers not only insights as to who to coach and when but also recommend the next best action. AI will do the heavy lifting with the tactical aspects of coaching which will free managers to put their best foot forward when it comes to those high-value moments such as one-on-one conversations. This augmented coaching experience will assist managers in being more actively engaged in the coaching experience and give greater insight into employee churn (including quiet quitting) and coaching effectiveness.
– Luke Jamieson, Global Content Director at Centrical.
The conflict between Traditional (based upon Taylorism) and more Agile ways of working will continue in 2023. This is fundamentally about control or rather command and control. If workers are able to be productive without the tight oversight by management overseeing their activities then what is the purpose of middle management? Further if workers are responsive to the ebb and flow of work in the flexible manner exhibited during Covid-19 then much of the MI and BI that is created is now worthless. In 2023 we can expect forward and adaptive organizations to embrace distributed working as the norm. In fact some will also start to hire from the world moving the dial from geographic recruitment to best skills modeling. These will become the organizations that people will want to work in. Like the Second World War economies where many women had experienced being valued outside the home for the first time our culture has evolved and everyone is resetting their work life balance. While some organizations are stuck in the past having strong leaders telling people what to do, it is no longer part of western business culture to respond. During the pandemic we did not have good access to their insights and rather depended of colleagues and team members. If anything we can regard the new norm to be distributed work with constant digital communications with colleagues.
– Karl A L Smith, Co-Founder at Agile World.
2023 will be the year of the employee experience. Employers that win on experience will attract, recruit, retain and engage the best talent. Winning on employee experience will mean that employers position workers to thrive on their terms as they harmonize work, life and other competing priorities. In that context, employers will ramp up and leverage employee monitoring systems that support productivity, performance, collaboration and engagement for remote and hybrid workers. In 2023, more employers will rationalize the role of the metaverse in driving outcomes in recruitment, learning and development and remote work experiences and begin integrating a metaverse approach into the trajectory of their future of work strategies.
– Dr. Terri Horton, Founder/CEO at FuturePath LLC.
Changing Workforce Invites Automation
Fewer young workers, pandemic-motivated early retirements, inspired searches for a better quality of life, and higher paying available jobs are all motivating businesses in the service industry to accelerate automation.
– Kevin Benedict, Partner, Futurist at Tata Consultancy Services
The labor market is incredibly tight right now. Historically there would be 0.7 job openings for every unemployed person, but today this figure sits at 1.85. This means the labor market is extremely competitive and a wide range of industries are reporting skills shortages. This means that companies have to work really hard on employee experience to ensure not only that they can attract the talent they need but also to retain it. It’s also important to note that this skills shortage remains a very human thing, as there isn’t a huge likelihood that employers will respond by automating a vast number of jobs. Instead, the reality for AI remains a case of augmenting the humans already in the workforce than replacing them.
– Adi Gaskell,
An increasing number of us are questioning everything and major shifts are taking place as we understand that no one is coming to save us. Leadership is not outside ourselves and this is a time of conscious leadership. Is it time to begin focusing on the realities of the future of work and life proactively? Simply have in mind how we would like our relationship with work and life to be and hold that vision. When we choose to do so, it becomes easier to manifest new beginnings and let go of the past. Many people—from employees to managers and executives—are questioning the future of work. Sure, there is the reality of paying bills and this world reminds us all the time of our connection with money. But there is an undercurrent taking place that will not stop when it comes to living meaningful lives. With continued staffing issues in front line jobs, the people in charge are starting to feel worn out. Organizations have been slow to create thriving cultures that respect people and the cracks are showing up everywhere. Being on the defensive and offering solutions will not stop the bleeding that is going on right now. This is a time to see opportunities and create healthy ways of working and living. And it’s in our own hands to be architects of the future, not its victims.
– Ayelet Baron, Forbes Top 50 Global Female Futurist at ayeletbaron.com.
2023: The Year the Future of Work Stands Still (For Most…)
The likely deep recession along with the economic uncertainty leading up to it will drive many companies to retrench: Literally, in terms of spending, hiring and (as we’re already seeing) reductions in force. And figuratively, in terms of the “future of work.” Many organizations, feeling they’ve regained the upper hand will cut back on investments in employee experience, scale back remote and hybrid work policies, and de-emphasize programs that prioritize culture and employee wellness. But from the standpoint (and viewpoint) of the workforce, there’s no putting the post-pandemic genie back in the bottle. Even though faced with economic uncertainty, employees will continue to demand more from employers, adhere to new workstyle and workplace expectations, expect human-centered employee experiences, and steer clear of companies that prioritize the ‘past of work’ over its future. Ironically — and as a result — even after layoffs, many companies will continue to struggle to attract and retain top quality talent.
– Greg Verdino, Co-Creator at The Adapt Manifesto.
As we move into the distributed work from anywhere era, we will see businesses leveraging technologies like Metaverse to drive employee engagement and business initiatives. Cybersecurity will continue to be top of mind for organizations and treating data as a product will become critical for the success of the organizations. But most importantly, how we lead is going to evolve- keeping people in the center of every strategic initiative, leading with empathy and designing a culture that allows people to bring their whole self to work will define the future of the organizations. We will see diversity and culture become a key CEO initiative.
– Rashim Mogha, GM at Skillsoft and Founder at eWOW.
The focus on wellbeing will evolve to be about “resilient agility” Wellbeing and burnout are hot topics and many companies are introducing programmes and apps to help individuals, but they’re not enough to deal with the root causes. In the next year, the conversation about wellbeing will evolve into one that’s focused on “resilient agility” instead. For leaders, this means embracing change positively and strengthening the social connections between people. From an organisational perspective, it involves re-thinking how work gets done, by whom or what, when, and where. Putting resilience and agility together is a mindset shift for many leaders. It requires leaders to respond constructively to change and to sustain the level of energy of those around them.
– Nick Lynn, Principal at WTW.
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