7 Key Priorities to Supercharge Your People & Culture in 2023

29 January 2023



Welcome everyone to 2023 – it’s hard to believe we’re already almost a month down. I’m not a big one for New Year’s resolutions. However, I do like to kick off the year with seven focus areas or critical priorities.

As we all know, seven’s the average number of items people can retain in short-term memory. It’s also a number that’s universally associated with good luck. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my “lucky seven” for 2023.

  1. Using Data to Drive Decision-Making

“Intelligent” or data-driven P&C can hugely impact an organisation’s strategic achievements.    Better decisions in people-related matters can lead to more efficient and effective operations. And to healthier, happier and more engaged employees.

But, last year, a report by Tivian highlighted a significant disconnect between U.K. employers and employees. Of the P&C staff surveyed, 85% thought they were incorporating employee feedback to improve the employee experience. In contrast, only 50% of employees agreed. And only 14% felt their feedback was used to drive change in their organisations.

At the start of the new year, take time to design a timetable for regular employee pulse surveys. They should target feedback on specific issues. And should contain a consistent set of up to fifteen questions. Then, commit to sharing the data and actions it results in. That way, respondents will see and feel the impact of their feedback.

  1. Defining the Future of Work – Hybrid is Here to Stay

In 2023, employers will be forced to contend with a worsening skills shortage and greater employee agency. Skilled workers know they can both work remotely and compete globally. But, data released by Microsoft points to a considerable productivity disconnect. While 87% of workers feel they’re productive, only 12% of leaders express confidence in their teams’ productivity.

P&C’s challenge will be to close this gap – to redefine what work is and how we measure it. Can jobs be divided and successfully shared in smaller units, for example? And how do we collect analytics on optimal collaboration patterns and effective working times? Finally, how will we design the workplace of the post-industrial era?

  1. Humanising the Employee Experience

More and more, I’m being contacted by organisations suffering from “quiet quitting” syndrome. They are experiencing significant numbers of employees doing the bare minimum. Workers that perform only clearly defined tasks and only in prescribed work hours.

The reasons for this wide-scale disengagement can range from burnout to a shift in employee priorities. Even the use of technology has been blamed for stripping the workplace of humanity. But nowadays, it’s helping create personalised experiences for users.

There is an opportunity in 2023 for employers to redesign employee value propositions. Can we blur the lines between employees’ work and private lives, this time to their advantage? And try to develop an experience more closely aligned with individual desires and values.

  1. Supporting Employees Through the Cost-of-Living Crisis

Climate change, supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine have conspired to create a global cost-of-living crisis in 2023. As a result, P&C will need to apply compassion and empathy to keep workers healthy and productive throughout the year.

The U.K. is experiencing the biggest fall in real wages on record. And the larger employers have stepped in help. They’re providing anything from once-off support bonuses to hygiene packs and free meals to their employees.

Australian data indicate that people here are most concerned about the price of fuel. So local employers could allow people to work from home. Others could subsidise staff transport or facilitate ride-share schemes.

Keep in mind that inflation most strongly affects low-income earners. However, professional staff are not immune. Therefore, education and tools to help manage cost savings could be helpful.

  1. Normalising Diversity

The findings of this 2020 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently caught my attention. The report promotes pro-diversity initiatives to build inclusivity. Specifically, initiatives that target people’s perceptions of social norms. When alternative views are exposed and engaged, they become “normalised”.

My own experience growing up in apartheid South Africa supports this. At that time, people were kept apart by institutionalised policies and practices. It resulted in divisive behaviour becoming unconscious. However, the healing process began when people could share their respective experiences openly.

Systems that treat diversity as “the norm” break down barriers for marginalised groups. They create visibility, acceptance and opportunity. However, these systems must permeate the organisation, its mission, strategy, values, policies and procedures. Normalising diversity can’t be relegated to a single department or a few individuals. Everyone has a story, and I’d like 2023 to be the year we change the narrative.

  1. Contributing to the Circular Economy

I’m seeing a growing emphasis on becoming part of the circular economy (CE) among my clients. Doing so requires adherence to three circularity principles;

1) circulation of resources without loss of value,

2) regeneration of nature, and

3) elimination of waste or pollution.

In 2023, P&C must integrate these principles internally to support the circular business strategy.

A 2021 study by Circle Economy highlights how the CE will shape jobs and skills in the future. And how P&C must prepare to facilitate and support such changes. Vocational training must focus more on maintenance, and design on longevity, for example. And “transversal skills” will be increasingly in demand. These will include problem-solving, critical dialogue and systemic thinking.

However, circularity principles should also inform P&C’s own processes and procedures. For example, how do we recruit and assess circularity readiness and robustness? How do we incorporate circularity aspirations into personal goals? Or into leadership practice and organisational values? What must be done to encourage and empower people to participate in the CE?

  1. Engaging with Intention and Impact

Less than a quarter into this new century, several catastrophic events have reminded us that our actions have consequences. So my final priority for 2023, which pulls all the others together, is to focus on engaging with intention and impact.

We were thrown into a very reactive way of operating at the pandemic’s start. Not knowing what we were dealing with, we had to “correct course” as new information came our way. Then, as we settled into remote work, we had to become intentional about specific activities. Stuff we’d previously taken for granted. In 2023, I see P&C’s challenge as making engagements in the “new workplace” intentional and impactful.

High Impact Conversations are purposeful conversations that result in commitments to action. Done right, they can create strong connections. Connections that allow people across the organisation to demonstrate authenticity and honesty. I’ll talk about creating accountability and ownership through such engagements in a future post.

I’d love to hear which of my 2023 priorities resonate with you. Or, let me know if I’ve missed something.