We talk to Alison Schultz, Head of Organisational Development & Capability at Maxxia, about what the HR community expects for 2023 and how organisations are using employee benefits to tackle cost of living challenges.
Q. Alison what do you see as the key challenges for HR in 2023?
There are two key conversations I’m having with my HR community right now – turnover and cost of living.
Turnover challenges have carried over from 2022 – HR communities are still seeing fatigue and burnout at every level – including in senior management and leadership teams. And competition around talent retention and acquisition persists.
What I think is different for 2023 is the impact of cost of living pressures. I read recently that four out of five employees are concerned about a recession in Australia this year and half believe the prospect of a recession will impact their career plans. One third said talk of a recession is encouraging them to stay in their current job, while a further 16% said it’s encouraging them to look for a new role within their existing company.1
At first this could look like good news for turnover challenges – employees can’t afford to leave therefore turnover issues are over! But what the research doesn’t tell us is ‘who’ plans to stay.
Every organisation wants to attract and retain the right talent. It’s why nearly everyone in my HR community is continuing to review and refresh their EVP in 2023. Particularly when the prospect of an increase in salary may no longer be something employees can ignore – even for those who are happy in their current roles.
Q. How are HR meeting cost of living challenges in the short term?
I think in the short term, HR teams are faced with tackling the very real issues of financial stress and the knock-on effects for wellbeing and productivity. From a talent retention perspective, HR are looking for ways to improve the financial position of their employees – often without being able to raise pay.
Australian organisations know employee benefits have the potential to improve employees’ financial position. The important question for HR is – do employees know salary packaging can help them save money? HR have the job of joining the dots for employees and getting the message out there. Employee perception is just as important as the reality.
What I’ve seen first-hand to be effective is HR helping their workforce understand which benefits they’re entitled to and making it easy for employees to see the dollar value those benefits are delivering.
Over the longer term, I think we’ll see employee benefits emerge as an opportunity to demonstrate ‘fairness’. Equity is going to be a big challenge for HR in 2023, particularly as organisations look to bed down their hybrid working policies and processes. For HR, employee benefits provide a ‘value add’ that has the potential to support all employees, regardless of their working arrangements and location.
Q. Uncertainty and change are likely to continue in 2023 for Australian organisations. What do you see HR leaders doing to support wellbeing for themselves and their teams?
The last few years have been full on for HR teams everywhere. One really positive change I see emerging is an increased focus on care and compassion in the workplace. I find my own HR community invaluable when it comes to feeling less stressed. I think it’s so important for HR professionals to find ways to connect with their peers – people problems are people problems everywhere!
As well as reaching out to your HR community, I recommend leaning on your providers. We all need as much as help as we can get. The resources hub and LinkedIn page Maxxia has created specifically for the HR community is a good example of tapping into your providers for education and insight. Your providers should also be reaching out to you to see what support you need.
HR are going to continue to be at the forefront of change management in 2023 – whether that is a transformation agenda or a mandate to bed down new ways of working. As HR professionals, I think we have a great opportunity to work together to find solutions to the challenges we all face in 2023.
At Maxxia, we’re focused on making it easy for HR to deliver money saving benefits to employees. As a premium provider of employees benefits to many organisations across Australia, Maxxia have seen the difference salary packaging can make to the overall financial position of employees.
Our quick guide for HR leaders shares five key steps to help employers get the most from their investment in financial wellbeing.
Maxxia can offer your organisation a complimentary benefits assessment to measure the effectiveness of your current employee benefits offer. We can also put a dollar figure to the potential savings and efficiencies from running the program and compare overall performance with best practice for your industry.