Workplace trends have shown no sign of slowing down in 2023. In January, the long-awaited government response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s menopause in the workplace report was released, highlights Danni Rush.

It sparked conversation around the importance of businesses creating supportive cultures to help women feel they can continue their careers whilst experiencing menopause symptoms.   

It relates to a topic set to continue to be a challenge for businesses over the next year: recruiting and retaining talent. A poll by Gartner identified recruitment as a top priority for 46 percent of HR leaders this year and 95 percent of those surveyed by WTW say they are worried about retention in 2023. 

So, what does the start of 2023 tell us about HR trends for the rest of the year? 

More businesses will consider creating menopause policies 

Menopause has already been at the top of the agenda for HR teams this year following the government’s response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s first menopause in the workplace report. Despite the rejection of a menopause leave trial and for menopause to become a protected characteristic, HR teams will be looking at how they can retain talent by creating a more supportive culture for those experiencing symptoms.  

Back in 2019, a poll found that just one in 10 employers had a framework in place to support those going through this transition. In 2022, that number had grown to three in 10. Whilst this is an increase by threefold, further progress is needed.  

Creating a culture where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential will be a key priority. Training and education is likely to be rolled out at various organisations and we’ll hopefully see greater encouragement for open conversations to grow further awareness. Businesses will also be looking at how they can support women practically, to ensure they’re more comfortable. 

Flexible working will continue 

Legislation allowing employees to request flexible working from day one came into force in December 2022.  While many businesses have already adopted flexible working approaches, this legislation will encourage greater flexibility, especially as work-life balance continues to be a priority for employees. 

Almost half of employees (46%) say work-life balance was the reason for choosing their current role, compared to 36 percent who said it was pay. A report by Indeed and Glassdoor finds the number of jobs offering hybrid and flexible working has increased by 274 percent since before the start of the pandemic while searches for remote working has soared by 674 percent.  

The pandemic has also had a lasting impact on people’s priorities. Health, happiness, and families are now being placed above jobs. Employees are also keen for there to be better integration of these needs with their work. With talent acquisition a concern for businesses, flexibility is a benefit that could help them win talent.  

Long service awards will be redesigned for today’s workforce 

Long service awards are being revamped to recognise the changing world of work. On average, employees now stay with an employer for 4.5 years.  

Thinking about how to reward and motivate employees will be a priority for many business and HR leaders. Rewarding and recognising people’s hard work can help reduce employee turnover and keep your best talented people sticking around. 

When done right, rewarding people for staying at the same company for several years can make people feel valued and that their contribution has been recognised, leading to increased employee happiness, a better company culture, and helping retain talent. Key work anniversaries are a cause for celebration and indicate to both new recruits and clients that you support your employees during their careers and are genuinely invested in their individual development.  

To be effective, it is important not to take a one-size fits all approach. Long service awards should be tailored to reflect length of time an employee has spent with the business, their personality, interests and hobbies. This will demonstrate to employees that the business cares about the whole person, both professionally and personally, by offering them a unique gift that’s perfectly matched to their interests, such as a weekend away, dining experience or even flying lessons. 

Businesses will listen more to their people with employee feedback tools 

Happy people tend to stay in their jobs longer and employee retention rates improve if people have positive associations with their workplace. Adopting a bottom up listening approach is a great way employers can hear what people want from their work.   

Feedback tools offer insight into the mood of an organisation, helping HR teams and business leaders to understand what’s making or breaking its workforce.  There are lots of different tools out there, offering a variety of insights and data touchpoints, from a temperature check to a full health MOT of an organisation’s employee base. 

Findings can be incorporated into new HR policies and the company’s wider culture and inform the broader business and your people strategy. Whether it’s progression opportunities, more regular check-ins or certain types of rewards and benefit packages employees are after, data driven decisions that deliver solid ROI can be created.  

These tools can also support the nurturing of an open and transparent company culture that encourages everyone to share their thoughts with managers and make constructive suggestions. This can improve the employee experience, with colleagues feeling listened to, valued, and appreciated.  

Those organisations that don’t truly ‘get’ the issues impacting their employees or what matters most to them, risk investing efforts in the wrong areas. HR initiatives may be less effective and not move the needle in the right direction. As 55 percent of survey respondents say that managing employees’ expectations is a key concern for the coming year, making data-driven decisions will help businesses prioritise what matters most and improve employee feedback and overall ROI of activities. 


Danni Rush is Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Incentives, Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts.





Danni is the COO of Virgin Incentives, Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts.