If you are in HR, it's likely that you spent the most of 2022 being bombarded with information about how the workplace has changed. The truth is that in 2023, HR leaders will still face similar questions, especially with a challenging macro environment due to rising inflation, talent scarcity and global supply constraints. For this reason, HR directors must manage investments in people and technology while fostering a positive employee experience and transforming HR to be more automated. It helps to know what the HR Priorities for 2023 are, in this case. 

According to a study by Gartner, which surveyed 800 HR professionals spread out in 60 countries, leadership/managerial effectiveness and organisational/change management are the foremost priorities and challenges for HR leaders in 2023. Closing the top five list are employee experience, recruiting, and the future of work. Although it may initially appear that HR leaders have minimal influence over these factors, a focus on internal variables might enable HR to define its priorities in 2023. 

In this article, we share insights on the top 5 HR trends for 2023, followed by recommendations to respond effectively to these HR challenges.


The Top 5 HR Trends for 2023 in the Hospitality Sector

Here are some HR trends 2023 that hospitality leaders may have to contend with.

1. Financial Wellbeing of Employees

In what is likely to be yet another turbulent year for the economy and the labour market, making sure employees feel appreciated will be key for HR leaders. With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, most employees continue to express that their income is not keeping pace with inflation. To reduce the risk of losing talent, compensation reviews, pay parity, and benchmarking are likely to be primary concerns for HR leaders in 2023. Also likely to be taken into consideration are more creative ways of recognising and rewarding staff, and offering financial advice and competitive perks.

→😀Are you looking to support your staff during the cost of living crisis? Find out what you can do for them in this article! 

2. Flexible Work Options

Even if we are now well established in the realm of hybrid work, the concept of flexible working will likely continue to expand. Hospitality hiring is likely to continue to struggle, meaning hotel/restaurant businesses that give employees more freedom in terms of where, when, and even how they work may score better in attracting talent. 

Some hotel industry players are already taking this direction. For example, the Landmark hotel in London, U.K., is implementing a four-day work week for its chefs[1]. To make flexibility work for the tourism industry, companies will have to invest in new technologies that offer greater opportunities to work outside the typical office or job-site location.

 3. Personal and Career Development

In 2023, HR will put more emphasis on both personal and professional growth for employees. Specifically, there will be more efforts geared at employee career growth plans in line with their specific needs and aspirations. Employers will empower their people to learn in a way that is suitable for them, which could encompass on-the-job learning, online instruction, classroom training, or a hybrid strategy. 

How successfully businesses accomplish learning and development outcomes will be greatly influenced by communication between managers and staff. Development will be an important component of these one-on-one meetings, since managers want to encourage learning.  The key to achieving the objective of employee-specific growth at scale will therefore be integrating the necessary culture, supported by the appropriate technologies.

4. Talent Attraction and Recruitment

Although finding the right skill set to fill hospitality jobs has been a consistent trend, the Gartner survey also indicates that organisations anticipate increased talent competition over the next six months. According to Gartner, 46% of HR leaders say that hiring new employees is their top goal for 2023. Given the skills scarcity in the travel and leisure sector, employees have a new set of preferences and priorities with which they'll gauge their level of professional satisfaction. HR leaders’ attention will likely be on matching talent with business outcomes.


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5. Technology in HR

The degree of technology adoption within the hotel industry will have the biggest impact on two areas of HR.[2]  Firstly, based on your company’s strategic direction, the employee to guest ratio will change: augmented luxury will have larger employee to guest ratios. Organisationally speaking, reporting relationships will flatten as some management responsibilities will be taken up by technology.

Secondly, due to the increased use of technology and the altered employee to guest ratios, employee responsibilities will be modified. The pandemic has accelerated the usage of QR codes in restaurants, which has modified the job of waiting staff. The adoption of contactless and tabletop payment methods also influences how a server's work is defined. These technological changes highlight the potential changes in the numbers, functions, and skill sets of hospitality workers.


Recommendations for Tackling HR Priorities in 2023 for Hospitality HR Leaders

Here are a few suggestions on how to tackle HR priorities and challenges going forward: 

  • Conduct Employee Research: It's crucial to have regular conversations with your staff to find out what they want, develop a strategy, implement it and then get their reaction. Regular employee research is important because of the evolving preferences of employees.
  • Train leaders and managers: Leaders and managers are central to delivering a wholesome employee experience. Training managers is critical to prepare them to exhibit humane and empathetic leadership within their teams.
  • Rethink the reward system: Fine-tune the reward system to ensure your employees feel valued for their contribution. With increased economic pressures, mind how your employees are fairing and assess how you can help them cope.
  • Align recruitment with business needs: With competition for hospitality talent bound to increase, hospitality HR leaders need to ensure recruitment of new employees aligns with current business needs. Using data to drive hospitality recruitment, cutting-edge sourcing of candidates and streamlined onboarding will be key.
  • Workforce planning: HR leaders need to have in place a strategy that ensures future work demands (such as including unexpected disruptions) are taken care of through effective workforce planning.
  • Ramp up employee experience: Disengaged employees are uninterested in their jobs and in the overall business performance. To avoid this, it's essential to identify the needs of your staff and develop an employee value proposition that reflects those needs and creates best-fit careers for employees.

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[1] Four day working week reaches UK hospitality as iconic Landmark London hotel puts chefs on more pay for less time, Michel Willems City A.M.

[2] Hospitality Human Resources and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Karthik Namasivayam hospitalitynet.org