Think 2022 was challenging for HR? Get ready for next year

From record turnover to record inflation, the macro trends happening in the country this past year put HR squarely in the driver’s seat when it came to pursuing business success. As the nation continues to grapple with inflation and businesses everywhere work to redefine their organizations for a post-pandemic world, these transformative challenges will certainly continue into 2023 and beyond.

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To see what could be coming down the pike for HR leaders next year, HRE recently checked in with three CHROs, who represent a range of industries—banking, healthcare, automotive—yet who agreed that the external factors reshaping the world of work will continue to set HR up for both obstacles and opportunities in 2023.

Laura Andress

Arvest Bank, Chief People Officer

Arvest Bank Chief People Officer Laura Andress
Laura Andress

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of employees at Arvest Bank—Arkansas’ second-largest bank—worked on-site. Now, more than 60% are either hybrid or fully remote.

While the organization has seen that shift “really work,” says Andress, next year will continue to challenge those employers like Arvest that are offering remote and flexible options to define the new environments for the long-term.

“Some companies are not [offering flexibility] and they’re seeing a lot of pushback—but for those of us that are, the challenge will be finding ways to intentionally connect with our teams,” she says. “Staying in touch with associates as they navigate the challenges of remote work has to be a focus for HR leaders.”

Those that do this work well, she says, will find themselves ahead of the game when it comes to 2022 trends like the Great Resignation and quiet quitting, which are likely to continue into next year.

“It’s all about how we keep engaged with associates so they feel connected as a company,” Andress says. “I can’t stress enough that we need to be mindful of mental health and what we can be doing to help people cope—because sometimes working from home can be stressful, in and of itself.”

Learn how HR and benefits leaders are meeting the challenges of 2023 at the upcoming Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, May 3-5 in Las Vegas. Click here for more information or to register.

Ola Snow

Cardinal Health, CHRO

Ola Snow. Cardinal Health CHRO
Ola Snow

In the last several years, HR leaders have been challenged like never before to become more agile to respond to changing conditions—and 2023 looks to be no different, says Snow, CHRO of the healthcare organization, which employs 46,500 people.

From keeping workers engaged—and finding new ways to listen to them—amid new work environments to weathering the tight labor market, these shifts will continue to shape HR’s challenges next year.

“How do you look at your work models—whether that’s more in-person work or hybrid—and consistently transform them? We’re also going to be talking about the new skills we need—for today but also for five years from now,” she says.

The latter focus must involve reskilling the organization in a “really methodical way,” Snow says, and leveraging data to understand what the future workforce needs to look like.

“How can we bring together a workforce that can delight customers as well as other stakeholders—and what are their skills, their capabilities, their needs?” Snow says. “We can’t just go and buy talent. We have to transform our workforce to meet the needs of tomorrow.”

Natalie Rothman

Advance Auto Parts, Executive Vice President, CHRO

With inflation at a record high, many American workers are confronting new financial challenges—and, in turn, HR leaders are going to need to step up to support their workers in 2023.

Natalie Rothman, Advance Auto Parts, Executive Vice President, CHRO
Natalie Rothman

Rothman, who oversees the people function for the 68,000-person workforce, says the macro-economic issues impacting the country are making it hard for workers to buy everything from gas to groceries—and the impact is bound to bleed into the workplace.

“We’re making a lot of investments in our total wellness offerings—both healthcare and financial wellness—because finances are going to continue to be a challenge for people,” Rothman says. “It’s heavy on our team members’ minds—how are they going to pay rent, deal with the inflationary pressures?”

At the same time, HR is also going to be tasked next year with enhancing the employee experience to drive retention—and to contend with trends like increased employee organizing, Rothman says.

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At Advance Auto Parts, Rothman says, one aspect of its EX work involves new career pathing tools to strengthen internal mobility.

“We want to give people different opportunities to grow their careers in the company,” she says. “We need to make sure we’re providing a great place to work—addressing the challenges our team members are having, and working to stay ahead of them.”

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.

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