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Back to work: 5 focus areas for HR leaders after the 2023 summer break


Summer is soon coming to an end, and it's time to shift our focus to autumn and the tasks for the second half of the year. However, the areas that deserve the most attention and effort might not be so obvious. So, we’ve put together an overview of important priorities for HR leaders for autumn 2023. We hope it will inspire you on what deserves a spot in your calendar going forward. 


1. Sustainability reporting (CSRD)

The European Union's (EU) new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will have a significant impact on HR and finance in most medium-sized and large Nordic companies in the years ahead. Adopted in 2022, and coming into effect in 2024, the directive requires companies above a certain size to report on their sustainability impact - both how external sustainability issues impact their business, as well as how their businesses practices impact sustainability issues. This will result in some of the biggest changes seen in decades in reporting practices for both HR and finance.back_to_work_2023_274517028

Nordic companies covered by the directive will be required to report on their sustainability impact and goals and strategies in the following areas:

  • Environment:  climate change, pollution, water and marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, resource use and circular economy.
  • Social:  own workforce, workers in the value chain, affected communities, consumers and end users.
  • Governance:  business conduct. 

For HR, this means reporting on sustainability in all aspects of the work force including working conditions, equal opportunities/non-discrimination, and other work-related rights. It also means reporting on policies to do with corporate culture and bribery and corruption policies.

In practice, this will include registering and reporting on metrics (that will be audited) related to areas such as remuneration, working hours, health and safety, training and development, diversity and inclusion, freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour and so on. And documenting policies related to these as well as corporate culture and governance.

Learn more about the CSRD here.


2. Recruitment

Despite increasing unemployment in 2023, Nordic companies continue to face challenges in recruitment. The demand for qualified workers exceeds the supply, leading to talent shortages in many industries. While the global economic situation is expected to slow down the job market, there are fewer candidates willing to move during uncertain times.back_to_work_2023_115844447

Other factors making recruitment and attracting top talents challenging include:

  • Digitalisation and technological advancements creating new skill requirements.

  • An aging workforce. 

  • Lack of diversity in the workforce, limiting the pool of potential talent.

The "war for talent" is driving up salaries, and employers feel compelled to offer more flexible work arrangements and benefits to attract the best people. Increased personnel costs can be challenging for companies in vulnerable industries or those with tight finances. If you're also facing recruitment challenges, consider these actions:

  • Enhance visibility: Utilise social media to reach a broader range of candidates. Share information about the company and job openings, showcase the company's culture and values, and engage directly with candidates. 
  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits:In a market with a shortage of qualified candidates, staying updated on market salaries is essential. Competitive compensation, along with other benefits, will attract potential candidates.
  • Flexibility: Demonstrate flexibility in terms of working hours, location, and vacation policies. Candidates are more willing to work for companies that offer trust and flexibility. 
  • Build a strong brand: A strong and visible brand attracts both customers and candidates. Communicate the company's values, culture, and showcase employee experiences and successes. 

Learn more about recruitment solutions here.


3. Skills and competence development 

Investing in employee skill development is crucial for maintaining quality and motivation among employees and can also be a valuable tool to address recruitment challenges. By developing employees, you can reduce the need for new hires and ensure the company is prepared for future technological demands.AdobeStock_402436726

Other reasons to invest in skill development include:

  • Reduce costs: Properly trained employees are less likely to make mistakes, leading to lower costs and time spent rectifying errors. 
  • Improved customer service: Well-trained employees provide better customer service, understanding customer needs and solving challenges effectively. 
  • Enhanced innovation: Training and development stimulate creativity and critical thinking among employees, fostering innovation.
  • Boosted moral: Supported and encouraged employees are more motivated and engaged, contributing to high morale, a positive work culture, and workplace satisfaction.

Focusing on these areas allows HR to create a workplace where employees are constantly growing, engaged, and motivated, benefiting both individuals and the company. Learn more about organizational skill development here.

Read more about organisational skills development here.


4. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)

We hope and believe that DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) is a field that we all want to improve upon. At CatalystOne, we are continuously striving to make our workplace more diverse and inclusive. Before the summer, we devised a plan to try to both inspire and learn from others by sharing what we are doing.back_to_work_2023_620124114

We did the following:

  • Internal communication: We shared an internal memo from our CEO to highlight our commitment to DEIB, ensuring that everyone is aware. 
  • Leadership involvement: We appointed two DEIB advocates in the executive team to prioritise DEIB on the agenda.
  • Suggestion box: We set up an anonymous suggestion box for employees to provide feedback and ideas, ensuring inclusivity and an opportunity for everyone to contribute and be heard. 
  • External support: We will enlist external support as we recognise the need for external expertise to educate our leaders on DEIB matters.
  • Diversity in recruitment: We are committed to facilitating and maintaining diversity in how we work with recruitment.

We also chose to share our DEIB experiences on social media to provide insights into our learning journey. If you want to join us on this journey, you can find links to our social media here.


5. Pulse surveys

Pulse surveys, or "employee listening," involve actively seeking feedback to understand employees' perspectives and experiences and using this information to enhance the work environment and productivity. Insight into employees' well-being provides leaders with knowledge about the organisation's health, attitudes, challenges, and strengths, leading to a better understanding of the employee experience.back_to_work_2023_614708025

Employee listening tools include traditional surveys or more frequent pulse surveys. Here are some tips when working with pulse surveys:

  • Set objectives: Define the goals of the survey. Whether you aim to improve the work environment, increase engagement, or enhance productivity, design the survey accordingly.
  • Ask the right questions: The quality of responses depends on the questions asked. Select relevant questions aligned with your objectives and that employees feel compelled to answer. 
  • Keep it simple: Make the survey straightforward and quick to complete. Lengthy or complex surveys are less likely to be finished by employees.
  • Provide feedback: It's essential to give employees feedback on survey results. This demonstrates that their input is taken seriously. 

Learn more about pulse surveys here. 

Additional reading 

There's much to consider in the coming months. That's why we've updated our most popular e-book, designed to help modern HR teams meet the needs of employees and the business as a whole. The e-book is packed with information, statistics, and expert advice to help HR professionals achieve their goals and succeed in their roles – both this year and in the years to come. 

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Øystein Kjelling

Øystein Kjelling, 16 August 2023

Øystein is digital marketing specialist at CatalystOne. His background is in copywriting and marketing across different sectors. Øystein is interested in digital trends, good communication and has a close relationship with HR.

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