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HR leaders share their resolutions for 2023

The HR executives at Headspace, Govia Thameslink Railway and HP reveal how they plan to tackle the challenges of 2023 – when the need to balance the needs of business and staff is likely to be especially tough
Désirée Pascual 
Chief People Officer, Headspace 

One of the main challenges for the workplace in 2023 will be the global economy. The cost of living continues to rise and inflation is hitting us hard. The impact of this financial situation on mental health will be a big consideration for employers.

The link between mental and financial health often becomes cyclical, so as employers we’re well advised to provide resources to our employees early on so that such stress does not become exacerbated.

At Headspace we have introduced Mind Days, which give staff a day off every fortnight to dedicate to self-care and mindfulness. We’re focused on making sure that everybody who works with us gets that break.

The talent marketplace should open up a great deal from what we faced only six months ago

We also run training schemes to help our managers spot the early signs of stress and burnout and then to respond accordingly. It’s important to train mid-level managers because they’re closest to our frontline workers. So giving them the tools to appropriately ‘triage’ individuals who are experiencing extreme stress and teaching them to lead compassionately is crucial.

We are planning to hire but will have to do so mindfully, depending on how quickly the business grows. The economic climate makes it hard to predict growth, so we have recruiting teams ready to help us scale up and down as might be necessary.

I do believe the competition for talent will ease in 2023. We’ve already seen a lot of layoffs at large tech companies in the US in the past few months. This will see the talent marketplace open up a great deal from what we faced only six months ago.

To remain attractive to potential employees we will need to continue to build workplaces that speak to some of the needs that people have today. This includes good healthcare and mental health support, flexible work schedules and employers who acknowledge how tough the current situation is for staff.

Those are the key differentiators for employers if they want to land the top talent, regardless of what the marketplace looks like.

Zoey Hudson 
Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion, Govia Thameslink Railway 

Our industry is going through a lot of challenges and strikes are continuing. But from an HR perspective, we can’t allow that to distract us. Keeping staff engaged and motivated will be a key test for us, but if people see that we’re continuing to invest in learning and development and career progression, then hopefully they will feel that this is still a great place to work.

The cost-of-living crisis and disputes over pay present further challenges to add to the set of issues businesses face currently. In the year ahead we need to consider how we continue to focus on the positives around our employee proposition and what we can offer people when they come to work at GTR.

Our industry is going through a lot of challenges but we can’t allow that to distract us

That will focus on the benefits and what’s available from a career development perspective, as much as around salary and pay. Making sure that we really push some of the great opportunities for progression we offer internally will be important and we will continue to invest in learning and development programmes for every employee.

We were very proud to be the first transport company to achieve the National Equality Standard and we want to continue to improve in this area in 2023.

Creating a space where all our D&I information and policies can be found within a single resource hub should help people to more easily find the information and support they need, when they need it. We’re also going to be rolling out a D&I online learning module that will go out to all 7,500 employees. This is a tall order but it will hopefully give everybody a baseline around what their rights are as employees of GTR.

For me, 2023 is about focusing on what we’re doing from a talent, diversity and inclusion perspective. I’ll be keeping everything crossed that a positive resolution to the industrial action can be found quickly, so we can get back to doing what we do best.

Debbie Irish 
Head of HR for UK and Ireland, HP 

The challenges we’re experiencing today are very much top of mind for tech companies across the board. Attracting and retaining diverse talent, managing hybrid workforces, and the increasing need to reskill and upskill.

In 2023, we have three priorities to continue addressing these challenges. We’re looking to really celebrate contribution, no matter what level or role. We want to empower employees to have their ideas listened to and their voices heard.

People’s needs and requirements will change and hybrid policies should do so too

We will also continue to provide opportunities to upskill and, where needed, reskill employees as part of our future-ready strategy. This will require an open dialogue with employees to understand their aspirations, what they want from their career and how we can help them to meet their goals. This collaborative approach is vital to retain skilled talent and support people to extend their expertise.

We’re also creating volunteering programmes that drive real impact in the communities where we work. We want to encourage employees to give back, offer their time, and learn valuable new skills in places where we wouldn’t typically get to work and contribute.

In the year ahead, people’s needs and requirements will change and hybrid policies should do so too. Globally, we’re running deep-dive sessions to look at how HR can support our strategy around hybrid working. We want to improve the working experience of all employees, whether they choose to come into the office or work remotely.

Rather than following a rigid set of rules, these policies need to act as a framework to encourage a more equitable experience for everyone. They should be made in partnership with employees, so that staff can make it genuinely flexible, and regular check-ins are essential to make sure evolving needs are captured and reflected in our company policies. My goal is to bring flexibility to the centre of how people work and develop a collaborative employee-employer relationship.

Lastly, due to multiple factors, which include attrition and digital transformation, we will be reducing our global workforce by 4,000 to 6,000 people over the next three years. These are the toughest decisions we have to make, because they impact colleagues we care deeply about. We are committed to treating people with care and respect and that includes providing financial and career services support to help them find their next work opportunity.