Employee engagement

2023 HR Goals: What Our Employees Need From Us

Vicki Yang
December 14, 2022
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This piece was written by Bonusly's own VP of People Operations. Enjoy! 🙌

With 2022 coming to a close, HR leaders are organizing traditional end-of-year celebratory events and wrapping up tasks at a fast and furious pace. In the midst of it all, I’m finding time to reflect on this year's themes—an essential step in preparing for what’s to come. My hope in sharing thoughts from the past year is to help you reflect and plan with a purpose for 2023.   

As VP of People Operations at Bonusly, my team and I aim to serve managers, employees, and potential employees. A few of our many focuses include recruiting, performance management, employee engagement, recognition, retention, benefits, and more.

With over 20 years of experience in people operations, I have spent a lot of time developing new programs, learning, and adapting to change in the workplace—and 2022 was quite eventful in that sense.

So what did we learn? What can we expect next year? What does it all mean and how can we do better in 2023? 

To boost employee retention and plan for a successful year:

-> Download the 2023 HR Checklist

What happened in 2022? 

long list

Constant change

Unsurprisingly, the workplace is still evolving. In my experience, I don't think I have ever seen this much transformation at this pace before. This rapid change was reflected through record-high wage increases, the push and pull of remote versus in-office work, and ongoing economic uncertainty despite a hot (though gradually cooling) job market. 


Economic uncertainty

With the markets performing at suboptimal levels, the tech world experienced layoffs. While some layoffs were predictable (think in-home exercise equipment), others were a product of market fluctuations. Ultimately, our economy was booming and then we successively entered a bear market which brought the challenge of record-high inflation rates along with it. Despite this uncertainty, companies still struggled to find and keep top talent.

In conversations with my colleague and Bonusly CEO & Founder, Raphael Crawford-Marks, he stated: 

Today, companies are facing: historic wage inflation, two job openings for every job seeker, and the number of national ‘quits’ per month are still above 4 million (pre-pandemic, it had never been above 3.5 million). All of that equates to companies having a hard time finding and keeping the talent they need to be successful.


A challenging world

Outside of the traditional confines of work, people reckoned with significant global challenges. Every day a new thread of concerns seemed to surface; unceasing social inequities, war, environmental threats and natural disasters, and a continuing pandemic collectively weighed on humanity. And it would be tough for it not to.


A lack of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we still have a lot of work to do. While some progress has been made, the impact of George Floyd's murder and the civil unrest that followed put serious and lasting pressure on employers to take meaningful action. It was a top priority for employees. In fact, a 2022  GoodHire study of 3,000 workers found:


 81% of all respondents would consider leaving their job due to an employer’s lack of commitment regarding DE&I.


However, in the tech industry, efforts are still lacking with only 42% of companies surveyed for BuiltIn’s State of DEI in Tech 2022 Report saying that their leadership set diversity hiring goals. 

To boost employee retention and plan for a successful year:

-> Download the 2023 HR Checklist

What employees need in 2023


Fundamentally, employees still want the same things

Even after a tumultuous few years, people are still people—we all want purpose, progress, and belonging. Employees want to work for companies that align with their values, help them develop their careers, and recognize them for their work. These wishes may seem simple, but it is important to acknowledge them—because it tempers the sweeping change we saw in 2022. 

HR goals for 2023: 

To be successful in business, we must treat employees as human beings

In the past, (and not even that long ago) most employers didn't put much thought into how they treated their employees. And employees rarely changed industries or jobs, let alone questioned processes or company practices.

Employee engagement, company culture, and DEI were seldom talked about. However, the pandemic tipped the scales in favor of workers and they left their jobs in droves.

In 2022, we saw trends like "Quiet Quitting," which challenged the “hustle culture” mentality of going beyond your job description. This forced organizations to reconcile and, despite a cooling job market, economists say employees still have the upper hand.

Now, company leaders are starting to see the business case for prioritizing the well-being of their employees. Ultimately, employee expectations have changed and organizations must adapt to remain competitive.

Crawford-Marks agrees:


If an organization or a department hits hard times, it is often the most in-demand and talented employees who are likely to jump ship. So what are companies doing or investing in to keep the talent that will help them survive challenging times?

The ‘win-win’ answer is to create an environment where employees feel different and better about their jobs than they do now.


The remedy is what we, Bonusly, have worked towards since the company started a decade ago.

HR goals for 2023: 

  • Show appreciation for your employees (we can’t stress this enough).
  • Be proactive and transparent in acknowledging challenges. This includes company-related obstacles as well as current events that might be impacting the well-being of your employees.
  • Be on the lookout for burnout and train managers on addressing it with their teams.
  • Review your company’s perks and benefits and ensure there is adequate support for employee mental health and wellness.


Focus on employee connection

Employees feel a lack of connection. Harvard Business Review found that 65% of workers report significantly less connection to coworkers and 76% of hybrid employees reported they don't feel connected to the company's culture.

HR goals for 2023: 



Challenge the status quo and embrace flexibility

We can do better at further questioning the ways of the past. I often think about the conventional practices of work and wonder, "do we really need to do that?" An 8:30 am meeting might be within working hours, but are we getting the best out of a particular individual? And how do we empower managers to best assist in that evaluation? 

Remote work is another great example. There’s no perfect alternative to in-person collaboration, but does that mean employees need to be at the office five days a week? 

I’ve heard stories from peers about returning to the office and I think to myself, "Why?!" We had the best work-life balance scenario handed to us when companies went hybrid or remote—have we learned nothing? We should be discovering new ways to work together. During the pandemic, labor productivity grew at an annualized rate of 11.2%. Going remote was new, and it worked. 

Plus, a recent Mckinsey study found that when offered, almost every single employee would take the opportunity to have a flexible work schedule. The results also revealed that flexibility is a top motivating factor for finding a new job. 

HR goals for 2023: 

  • Listen to what your employees need, whether in 1:1 meetings, through pulse surveys, or during stay interviews.
  • Create a 2023 hybrid work plan.


The takeaway

2022 was a year of consistent change, economic instability, employee inequity, and stressors at and outside of work. While fair compensation will always be important to employees, it’s not the sole reason people are engaged and fulfilled at work.

As Crawford-Marks told me recently:


There are a lot of industries that are having a hard time finding and retaining talent right now, and those companies need to consider levers other than just compensation. 


We have an opportunity to embrace the new year with a fresh approach. In order to get the best out of every teammate, we need to create workspaces that work for all of us, remembering that people working on teams are the number one driver of business success. If there's one thing you take with you, focus on giving your employees a sense of purpose, progress, and belonging in 2023.

To boost employee retention and plan for a successful year:

-> Download the 2023 HR Checklist

2023 HR checklist mock
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