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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Whited

The Evolving Role of HR in 2023: How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

The role of Human Resources (HR) has undergone a significant evolution in recent years, and this is expected to continue in 2023. As businesses navigate an increasingly dynamic environment, the HR function is becoming an increasingly strategic and valuable part of the organization. As we move into 2023, this shift towards a more strategic role for HR will be shaped by a few key components including enhanced CHRO leadership, continued talent and culture development, managing workforce ecosystems, and a fresh approach to the exhausted “work-life balance” conversation. But what does this mean for organizations and their HR departments?


The CHRO role has become the face of an organization’s culture. CHROs are no longer just responsible for overseeing a team of glorified administrators, but instead, are taking on a more prominent role in shaping the overall direction of the organization. CHROs are playing a key role in areas such as talent acquisition, development, and retention, leading the charge in creating a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and psychological safety, driving employee engagement and change, all while collecting and interpreting data to support the organization’s objectives.

This shift towards a more strategic role for CHROs is driven by the growing recognition that human capital is a key driver of organizational performance, and that effective human resources management is critical to achieving business objectives. Every future-fit organization will need a CHRO with business acumen that will put the employee experience first while finding that delicate balance with business objectives.

With the needs on this front being ignored or placed on the back burner for so long, it’s time for board members and executive teams to support these HR missions more than ever before.

Managing Talent and Culture

Talent management, and more specifically upskilling, is an area that has steadily increased in importance. This has historically been driven by the need for a higher skilled front-line workforce. More recently, it has seen increased attention as a result of poor leadership driving attrition. With the war for talent remaining fierce, organizations are recognizing the importance of investing in their people in order to attract and better retain top talent. This has given rise to the need for the HR function to develop and implement new talent management strategies, identify and develop high-potential employees, and create a culture of continuous learning and development. This is driven by the growing recognition that a strong talent management strategy is critical to building a sustainable competitive advantage in today’s employment market.

The spotlight on organizational culture extends from there. DEI has been the major pillar of the culture conversation in recent years and will continue to be going forward. HR will continue to be the prominent driver in shaping and maintaining the culture of the organization and will need to double down on this front. We’ve seen countless organizations jumping on the DEI train (or at least they say they are), but it’s going to take a lot more than a few employee resources groups (ERP’s) and the creation of a DEI manager position to truly move the needle.

It’s time to move past tokenism and drive real, tangible change in organizational culture and employee engagement.

A Redesigned Workforce

The days of simple full-time and part-time employee management are well on their way out the door. As organizations navigate an increasingly complex and rapidly changing business landscape, the need for specialized skill sets has never been higher. Effectively managing a workforce ecosystem comprised of contractors, vendors, freelance/gig workers, professional service providers, application developers, crowdsourced contributors, and others is becoming an increasingly important part of the HR role.

This includes things like developing and implementing policies and procedures, creating and supporting virtual teams, and developing strategies for managing these varying worker relationships. HR must also align all workforce management practices with the organization's strategic goals and ensure consistency with its values. However, many traditional systems and management practices are still based on an outdated view of the workforce as a group of employees working along linear career paths to create value for the organization. This approach is quite obviously no longer sufficient in today's dynamic business environment.

This trend will continue to be driven by the growing decentralization of the modern workforce, and that organizations need to be able to manage a diverse and dispersed workforce in order to be successful.

It’s time to be creative, innovate, and upgrade your workforce practices.

Work-Life Balance, But Take It Seriously

Whether you call it work-life balance, integration, or any other variation, the goal is the same. Many organizations are recognizing the importance of creating a healthier work-life balance for their employees in the post-pandemic era. However, too few are taking the necessary action to make a real impact. Ego is even driving some leaders such as Elon Musk, in a more archaic direction reminiscent of a caste system. This will not bode well in the long run of course and should be condemned. The good news is, it’s not too late to enact meaningful change.

HR must make huge strides on this front in 2023 to remain competitive in the employment market. The question should immediately shift from “why” should we do [insert anything that benefits an employee here] to “how” can we make our employees lives easier? This includes flexible work arrangements, remote/hybrid work, expanded employee wellness programs, expanded PTO options, asynchronous communication, and better workload management just to name a few. The growing recognition that work-life balance is CRITICAL to employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, and that organizations need to be able to adapt to the changing expectations and needs of the modern workforce to be successful.

It’s time to let go of outdated standards and embrace people’s new appreciation for what life offers outside of work.

The Time is Now

In order to stay ahead of the curve, organizations must take a strategic approach to HR management. This means investing in CHRO leadership, focusing on culture development, and implementing effective talent management strategies. It also means managing a diverse and dispersed workforce and creating true work-life balance for employees.

Don't get left behind, start thinking about how your organization can adapt to these changes and stay competitive in the future. Consider how you can enhance your HR leadership and team unity, focus on culture development, implement effective talent management strategies, manage a diverse and dispersed workforce, and create a work-life balance for employees. The longevity of your organization depends on it!

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