Top HR Trends for the Rest of 2023

It’s hard to believe that 2023 is almost over, but don’t worry: you’ve still got some time left.

In the last few months of 2023, what should your team be focusing on? With so many hot topics out there, it can be hard to choose what’s most important. Below, we’re breaking down some key HigherEd trends so you can finish out 2023 strong!

Top HR Trends

The CUPA-HR 2023 Higher Education Retention Survey was published last month, and it was enlightening. Even though the pandemic and the great resignation might feel like things of the past, the survey shows that retention in HigherEd is still a major challenge. On top of that, according to a Chronicle survey, hiring has been more difficult in the past year for most respondents. To keep your campus running, you can’t have positions sitting open for months at a time. When hiring is this difficult—and people are still leaving their roles frequently—retention should be the number one focus for your team. So, what HR trends are we seeing that are impacting retention?

  1. Hybrid work arrangements. According to the CUPA-HR retention survey, there is still a gap between the remote or hybrid work arrangements that employees want, and the ones that colleges and universities provide. The survey report stated, “Although two-thirds of employees state that most of their duties could be performed remotely and two-thirds would prefer hybrid or remote work arrangements, two-thirds of employees are working completely or mostly on-site.” Dissatisfaction with work arrangements—especially when an employee feels that they would be just as successful with a different arrangement—can hugely impact retention. If your department isn’t already exploring hybrid work arrangements for those employees who request it (or whose roles allow it), make that a priority for the rest of this year.
  2. Retention incentives. CUPA-HR’s survey also found that nearly half of employees surveyed said that they weren’t receiving two of the most common retention incentives: recognition for a job well done, and regular pay increases. Only about 15% of respondents said they received a promotion, and about 35% said they had seen enhancements to professional development programs. To prioritize retention in the coming year, make sure that your institution is offering the standard incentives above, including raises, simple verbal recognition for good work, professional development offerings, and promotions. Pay increases are one of the main reasons that HigherEd employees look for a new job.
  3. Responsibilities and work hours. Overwork and increased responsibilities outside of the job description were two other factors that CUPA-HR identified as being central to an employee’s decision to seek other employment. In fact, half of employees reported that they work additional hours that go beyond the full-time expectations of their roles, and many employees (especially supervisors) reported absorbing the responsibilities of employees who had left. Focusing on equal distribution of work hours and extra responsibilities is something that your team can start with close to home, because the survey showed that HR departments have the highest percentage of people who work additional hours. Internally, you could launch this same survey and solicit anonymous responses that could help lead to a review of work hours and duties across your department or across campus.
  4. Focus on well-being and job satisfaction. Concluding their survey, CUPA-HR notes that the number one focus of an institution that is struggling with retention should be to focus on job satisfaction and employee well-being. This category is the greatest predictor of retention, and includes things such as recognition, feeling valued by others at work, a sense of belonging, opportunities for advancement, and feeling engaged with work. Much of this comes down to cultural norms: does your campus emphasize professional development? Are supervisors encouraged to recognize employees when they succeed? Is there a sense of community where staff and faculty value the work of others? Is there a clear connection between the work that faculty and staff are doing and the mission of the institution? Your team can be the ones to start asking those questions!

Final thoughts

Ending the year with new initiatives can be intimidating, but with research from places like CUPA-HR, it can be easier to identify the HigherEd HR trends that really matter in 2023. Don’t be afraid to jump into something new in the coming months, and reach out to our solution experts for support!