Wellbeing, flexibility, and employee experience are expected to be high on the HR agenda in 2023.

Here, HRreview explores the major HR trends we are expecting to see in 2023.

  1. Flexibility

Just as flexibility played a major part in HR discussions throughout 2022, it is expected to be a main focus in 2023.

In i4cp’s Priorities & Predictions report, they stress that “flexibility is not a concession – it’s a strategy.” They write that employees now want a “more palatable work-life blend versus balance, and many achieved this during the pandemic. Organisations that have ignored data preferences of senior leaders will be challenged to appeal to talent.”

The rise of flexible working has already been demonstrated this year, with the implementation of The Flexible Working Bill. It was announced on the 5th December 2022 that  “millions of employees will be able to request flexible working from day one of their employment, under new government plans to make flexible working the default.”

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, introduced as a Private Member’s Bill, will reform employees’ right to request flexible working, making it easier for employees to make an application. Under this new legislation, employees will no longer have to wait the required 26 weeks before they can request flexible working.

The aim is that the Bill will help to address some of the barriers preventing women, carers, older people and disabled people from accessing and staying in employment.

“One of the biggest things to consider this year is changes in working arrangements and priorities. The Flexible Working Bill is making its way through Parliament which would give employees the right to request flexible working from day 1 of employment. It’s likely that this will become law, so employers should start preparing now,” says Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR.

Mr Price also suggests employers have a look “at having flexible benefits packages, where employees can select the benefits they want or need, for example not everyone will want or need a season ticket loan or gym membership and may prefer dental/optician coverage. Don’t ignore the emotional and financial wellbeing of your employees. The cost-of-living crisis means lots of people are feeling the pressure, so put effective support measures in place. This could include offering an EAP in your benefits package.

  1. Salary transparency

A recent survey by beqom found that 89 percent of UK respondents said they were more likely to apply to jobs that included salary range, that’s compared just 81 percent in the US.

“Salary transparency in job ads and through clear salary structures should also be high on the agenda for HR teams. This can help to reduce a company’s gender pay gap, as well as making it clear to both new and existing employees that you are serious about equality and fairness in pay. This is particularly important given the current cost of living crisis and ongoing strike action across various sectors over pay,” says Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR.

“We’re expecting a lot of changes to employment law this year with the EU Review and Reform Bill, so it’s important for HR to stay up to date on all the changes. Talk to your teams and make sure that they know what changes are coming, effective change management training and support will be vital for many businesses.  This is also a good time to consider the mental health and wellbeing of employees. It is a challenging economic time for many, businesses and employees alike, so keep this in mind and ensure that clear support is in place,” adds Mr Price.

  1. Industrial action is expected to continue

The TUC has accused the government of attempting to “steamroller” through new draconian legislation which attacks the fundamental right to strike without proper consultation or scrutiny.

The minimum service levels bill is back in parliament today (Monday) for its second reading and would give ministers sweeping new powers that restrict the right to strike.

If passed, it will mean that when workers democratically and lawfully vote to strike in health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning, they can be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.

“Pay and industrial action are also expected to continue dominating both the headlines and HR’s focus in the year ahead. It’s more important than ever for businesses to stay up to date, and for HR teams to update policies, procedures and technology regularly to reflect the very latest changes across many areas of employment law and ensure they can track and identify any issues before they arise,” says Mr Price.

  1. It’s all about wellbeing

Westfield Health published a report on the wellbeing trends of 2023, which states that “after another year defined by instability and constant change, we’re witnessing a level of anxiety around health and wellbeing not experienced for decades.”

Perhaps coming as no surprise admist the cost-of-living crisis, financial wellbeing is set to be a hot topic this year.

The cost-of-living crisis is now a key area of concern for the UK public having a significant impact on both mental and physical health. 2021’s wellbeing trends report included ONS data showing a cost of living increase for 62 percent of UK adults – it rose to 93 percent in 2022.

Research from the BACP found that two-thirds (66%) of therapists say cost-of-living concerns are causing a decline in people’s mental health.

Also, 61 percent of therapists say their clients are anxious about whether they can afford to pay their household bills.

Prioritising peace of mind

With the aftermath of the pandemic comes an increased worry about how we can support our future health. Google searches for ‘NHS waiting times’ continue to rise, fuelling anxiety around access to healthcare in the UK.

This lack of trust in the NHS is now driving people to put their own preventative measures in place.

Searches for private medical insurance have almost doubled since 2020, as people look for peace of mind in the face of uncertainty. In fact, the average age of new health insurance policyholders has decreased by 24 percent in the past five years, suggesting that we’re increasingly concerned about preventing poor health before it becomes a reality.

i4cp’s report stresses the importance of organisational wellbeing: “As we emerge from the impact of the pandemic, companies are bracing for economic uncertainty that will further impact the well-being of the workforce. Our board members (and presumably most strategic HR executives) understand that no matter what lens we view this through, the success of the organization relies on the holistic well-being of our people…and the culture.”

Simon Bocca, Founder and CEO of PayCaptain, on workplace trends:

“2023 at work will be a year that’s all about redrawing boundaries and finding balance. The aftermath of Covid, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis and pressure on earnings, have prompted most of us to think more deeply about what we really want from life.

“Flexible hours and remote working are great in some ways, but employer-employee relationships have arguably become too transactional. Within many companies in 2023, challenging the ‘work-from-home’ assumptions among the post-pandemic workforce is becoming a real area of tension. It’s an inevitable realignment of expectations that will take some time to resolve. The well-documented phenomenon of ‘quiet quitting’ (and its ‘noisy’ sibling) is evidence of this.

“If employers are insisting on a return to the office, the flipside will have to be a real commitment to the sorts of softer benefits that genuinely enhance employee experience. So it’s not about foosball tables or beer on Fridays, but about helping people in meaningful ways – like helping them to get more out of their pay through smart financial management tools, or offering corporate incentives to save. The ‘relationship capital’ that accrues from people genuinely feeling part of the companies they work for is increasingly understood. It’s no accident that these sorts of ideas are core to what we do at PayCaptain.

“Transparency over earnings is a vexed issue, but right now it’s a hot topic in pretty much every industry, and across both public and private sectors. Historically, employers have been resistant to openness over pay and employees contractually forbidden from discussing salaries. But the climate is changing. I strongly believe that it’s healthier to be open on pay, and that ‘sunlight really is the best disinfectant’ when it comes to addressing anomalies. Society will be fairer and happier if we’re more honest about what we’re paid. Expect more openness from companies that want to be seen as positive change-makers in 2023.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.