RESEARCH from the Laya healthcare Wellbeing Index – one of the largest workplace well-being surveys of its kind in Ireland – highlights the top five HR trends that will shape 2023 and beyond. These trends are as follows:
This year saw a huge shift from Covid concerns to money worries. The cost-of-living crisis infiltrated the workplace, with a staggering 85% of employees experiencing anxiety, quoting rising prices and money worries as the two biggest causes of stress.
Notable for employers is the clearest indicator yet that financial worries among employees are impacting the employment market with some using money worries as an excuse to leave a job and others feeling too scared to move.
This year, a significant number of employees returned to the workplace, with mixed results. Some 60% of employees are now back in the workplace full time, with 1 in 4 employees choosing hybrid working and 15% choosing to work remotely full time.
Hybrid workers are more likely to have had higher job satisfaction, driven by better work-life balance (63%), flexibility (56%), and less commuting (50%). For HR leaders, this research underpins the need for a clear policy for remote, fully on-site, and hybrid work, along with the right to disconnect and any flexibility that can be offered to on-site workers.
Concerns for employees’ mental health have also increased significantly among HR leaders with one in three business owners and HR leaders (33%) reporting that they are very concerned about the mental health of employees, an increase of 18% compared with six months ago.
Employee anxieties were higher in female respondents (two in five) compared to their male counterparts (one in four) and it was demonstrated throughout that younger female employees were more likely to have suffered from poor mental health in the past six months.
Overall, the research demonstrated that the main causes of stress and anxiety for employees were caused by economic factors outside the workplace including:
Rise in cost of living (71%); Money worries (57%); Uncertainty about the future (47%); Ireland’s economy (46%).
Increasing freedom and choice around how and where we work matters as much as salary to potential new employees, with people now effectively ranking work-life balance on a par with salary when thinking about a new role, at 61% and 60% respectively.
In the current climate, 42% of HR leaders say they have an increased focus on retaining staff. These trends, married with the ongoing skills shortage in many industries, mean smart employers will take account of the real needs and preferences of potential job candidates.
The challenge to maintain company culture in 2022 has been felt by 52% of HR leaders. Multiple factors are driving this, from teams not meeting as often for work or social reasons and less cross-functional working, to newer staff not meeting the team and not absorbing values, and the loss of longer-serving staff who lived the culture.
The role of the office has irrevocably changed, making it challenging to create and cultivate a vibrant, welcoming, and meaningful work culture.
Almost 40% of HR leaders expressed concern about the reduction of social connections amongst employees which has led to the dilution of company culture impacting morale. HR leaders must be prepared to act. Offering flexible working hours is now a leading priority, followed by company values, health and wellbeing services, and mental health services.
Commenting on the research findings, Sinéad Proos, Head of Health & Well-Being at laya healthcare said: “After the rollercoaster of recent years, a clearer picture is emerging of the transformed world of work.
“Office life has changed forever, becoming less a place for task management and more a shared space to re-establish social connections that employees have clearly missed out on. Bedding in the changes of recent years is top of mind for HR leaders across Ireland. That includes making further investments in the capability to work from home where possible. Also new for 2023 is the need to introduce specific financial well-being supports to help retain and attract top talent.”
Laya healthcare is helping employers to stay a beat ahead in 2023 and beyond through the Workplace Wellbeing Index, one of Ireland’s largest studies among Irish employees and employers in the workplace.
The full Workplace Wellbeing Index report, supporting playbooks and indeed speaker series to support a healthy workforce, can be downloaded / viewed at (layahealthcare.ie/wellbeingindex).