Is your business looking to increase productivity and efficiency in 2023? If so, we have compiled this list of workplace trends to provide some inspiration. Even better, we’ve broken them up by area to make it easier to apply within your business.
As organisations strive for better performance and increased productivity, it's becoming increasingly important to focus on the efficiency of their most valuable resource - their people. In 2023, the field of human resources will continue to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of work, introducing new trends and techniques for maximising employee potential.
Quiet hiring, also known as ‘stealth hiring’, is a new workplace trend where companies discreetly bring in top talent without announcing the hire to the public or to the current employees(1). This approach is being used by companies to attract in-demand talent who may not want their current employer to know they are looking for a new job.
With a confidential hiring process, companies can bring in top talent without the pressure of public scrutiny or concerns about damaging the reputation of the new hire. Additionally, this approach can also help to avoid any potential conflicts with current employees and can reduce the risk of sensitive information being leaked during the hiring process.
However, some caution should be taken with this approach as it may not be suitable for all companies, as it can erode trust among current employees and cause them to question the company's transparency. Moreover, it can also lead to misunderstandings if current employees believe that the company is hiding important information.
The rise of hybrid flexibility
Hybrid flexibility is a new workplace trend that is rapidly gaining popularity, especially in light of the events of the past year. Hybrid flexibility refers to a work arrangement that combines the benefits of both remote work and on-site work. It allows employees to work from home or a remote location some of the time, while also requiring them to be in the office for specific days or hours.
According to the 2022 Gartner Frontline Worker Experience Reinvented Survey(2), 58% of organisations that employ frontline workers have invested in improving their employee experience in the past year. About a third of those who haven’t intend to do so in the next 12 months. This shows that companies are starting to realise the importance of improving the employee experience, especially for frontline workers who are often the backbone of the organisation.
One of the main benefits of hybrid flexibility is that it allows employees to have more control over their work-life balance, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and reduced stress levels. It also allows companies to tap into a wider pool of talent, as employees are no longer limited by geography. Moreover, hybrid flexibility has the potential to improve business efficiencies, as employees can be more productive when working from home or a remote location, and can be more focused when in the office.
However, there are also some challenges associated with hybrid flexibility. It can be difficult for companies to manage and monitor remote workers, and there is also the risk of social isolation for those who work primarily from home. Additionally, companies need to ensure that they have the right technology and infrastructure in place to support hybrid flexibility, such as secure remote access and reliable video conferencing tools.
Navigating dual managerial expectations
Managers today are facing a difficult balancing act as they try to meet the expectations of both their leaders and their employees. On one hand, leaders expect managers to meet business goals and drive performance, while on the other hand, employees expect managers to provide support, guidance and a positive work environment. This creates a challenging situation for managers who are often left feeling squeezed between competing expectations.
Managers need support in order to effectively navigate. They need access to resources, training and tools that will help them meet both leadership and employee expectations. This might include things like leadership development programs, coaching and mentorship opportunities and employee engagement initiatives.
One of the key benefits of providing managers with this type of support is increased job satisfaction. When managers feel that they are equipped with the skills and resources they need to succeed, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. This, in turn, leads to improved employee morale and a more positive work environment, which benefits both employees and the organisation as a whole.
One of the constant challenges facing SMEs is how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales process and sales teams. Within sales, business efficiency can be determined by prospect-to-client ratio, closing deals and hitting financial goals. For many businesses, this involves business growth and the recruitment of quality salespeople.
To help your sales managers and front-line sales consultants improve productivity and ultimately close deals in 2023, businesses need to really understand what prospective clients want.
Address security and privacy concerns
With the increase in business reliance on cloud-based software due to the continuance of remote or hybrid work models, the 2023 client profile is shaped around looking for data security, privacy and accountability within business relations. Currently, only 57% of B2B companies can confidently say they meet that requirement(3). Businesses need to prove that their client's information is secure as a starting point.
Invest in customer experience strategies
Without focusing on existing clients, and making sure you provide them with a positive customer experience (CX), your business could suffer greatly; with 56% of consumers globally having stopped working with a brand due to a single bad service experience and 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience(4). 84% of companies that invest in improving their customer experience have reported an increase in revenue as a result(5), while 73% of companies performed better financially in comparison to their competitors due to their above-average customer experience(6). Customer experience and employee engagement levels also go hand in hand with companies with effective CX initiatives seeing an employee engagement increase of 20%.
A big part of increasing business efficiency is ensuring that your marketing and sales goals align well with each other. If your sales goals go one way and your marketing the other, the message you are trying to get across to your clients could come across as confusing and even deter them. But, if you communicate between the teams efficiently, your productivity levels will increase and can result in a 32% increase in revenue, a 38% increase in new client win rates and a 36% increase in customer retention(7)
Today, businesses now have at least 80% of their customer interactions digitally(8). Digital transformation continues to be a recurring theme in 2023 and to hit productivity goals, digitisation across the business should remain a top priority for your IT team.
B2C and B2B digital transformation
Today, more and more consumers are taking their buying habits online. In 2022, the number of digital buyers sat at 268 million(9). With that number expected to increase to almost 285 million online buyers by 2025, it’s time to start capitalising on eCommerce and digital availability in your business.
Around 80% of customers are more willing to purchase from brands with a mobile customer service portal(10). To accommodate this demand increase and keep up with the rise of eCommerce, businesses need to incorporate a greater digital component into new products, services and distribution channels.
Employee and internal digital transformation
Businesses that embrace digitisation and remote work will be able to maintain a productive workforce. The introduction of teleconferencing systems like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has kept employees feeling connected, and 41% of businesses say video conferencing continues to effectively increase employee engagement(11).
Companies could save $11,000 per employee( by using video conferencing software and digitisation tools(12); a big pain point when seeking to identify opportunities to improve efficiency on the tech side of a business.
The introduction of an internal communications system is also a great start to improving employee efficiencies through your tech department. A simple way to diminish a person’s enthusiasm is to leave them out of the loop. In fact, 74% of employees have reported feeling like they are missing out on company news and information. A study by Trade Press Services found effective internal communications motivate 85% of employees to become more engaged in the workplace(13).
By delivering top-notch customer service, your business can increase customer retention and acquisition rates, ultimately leading to improved margins and profitability. Whether it’s online shopping, reading the news or making a customer service enquiry, consumers now want anything and everything... when, where and how they want it. For a customer service team or centre, this means responding to both phone calls and online enquiries. And online responses are more than just email communications; there’s also live chat, social media and even monitoring online reviews.
With advances in natural language recognition, most consumers don’t even realise they are interacting with a chatbot, so businesses can avoid tying up valuable customer service resources. Instead, they can dedicate those employees to dealing with more complex and important customer care issues, with 40% of online consumers preferring to interact with chatbots rather than virtual agents(14).
Personalised customer care
77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience(15). Being able to offer a personalised and tailored customer service experience requires an integrated model that includes a CRM and account management system that talks to your customer service software. But how can these impact efficiencies and productivity within your customer service function?
Personalised customer service interactions can indirectly affect consumer purchasing. In other words, your customer service team can spend less time focusing on getting clients to buy and instead spend more time on other value-adding tasks. 49% of customers also bought items they didn’t intend to purchase thanks to personalised recommendations and 40% of consumers say that personalised customer care led them to buy something more expensive than initially planned(16). In retail alone, there is a $2.95 trillion opportunity for companies that integrate personalisation techniques into their customer service strategies(17).
How can your business successfully implement these trends?
The statistics are enough to suggest opportunities for growth that will ultimately improve your overall business efficiency. Whether it be from an employee perspective of valuable skill retention and higher staff satisfaction levels to the customer side of increases in revenue, loyalty and overall brand image, there are many ways businesses can look to improve their productivity levels in their business plan for this year.