5 Priorities HR professionals and small business owners should keep in mind going into 2023 are Mental Health, Flexibility, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Family Care Gaps, and Benefits that Match Employees Unique Needs. All of these are important, but we as HR professionals and small business owners are expected to close the gaps on these big topics. Mental health is very important to employees and we need to be able to provide accommodations to better fit their situation. Employees are looking for a company that is flexible no matter their situation. We need to adapt to get the best employees we can, and attract the talent that aligns with our values to our company. Along with that we have to expand our search with diversity, equity and inclusion, to reach new people and generate new ideas. With reaching further for employees, a big factor in our employees’ lives are their families.As their employer, we have to figure out how to support employees with children as best as possible.Lastly, we need to look at our benefits that match our employees' needs. We are seeing a giant leap in numbers for millennials and gen x entering the workforce. We need our benefits to provide for them so they will stay and grow with your company.
Mental Health plays a big role in our businesses today and how they operate. We must be able to recognize when our company is not meeting the industry standards for our employees' mental health. After the Pandemic, a lot of individuals' mental health played a large role in their life whether they were able to improve it by working from home in 2020 and now want to keep working on it or their mental health declined in 2020 and they need more help from us to get back on track. A study given from Bright Horizons shows “68% of frontline workers would stay in their current jobs for mental health coverage”(SHRM Bright Horizons Seminar). Mental Health plays such an important role in your company, it can push your employees to do better or they can start to fall behind and what you need to know is how to best care for your employees, and therefore care for your company. Here are a few ways to make sure your employees are taking care of their mental health:
Allowing time for them to see therapists
Allowing employees to use their sick time to care for their mental health
Accommodating your employee by changing their workload or adopting flexible schedule options.
These are small accommodations for the improvements you will see when your employees aren't struggling with their mental health and they can be focused on their work.
Flexibility is all about accommodating your employees for them to be able to put their best foot forward at work. Employees may be asking for flexibility in their workload, schedule or even where they work. Consider what accommodations you can make for them. Making changes for your employees seems like a difficult and expensive task, but “over 50% of employers report zero cost when providing an accommodation to an employee” (SHRM Disability Seminar). Being flexible with your employees provides them the ability to work to their fullest potential and in turn helps your business grow.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are daunting tasks but they can be so easy when you are provided with the right tools. Over “74% of US workers say that corporate investment in DE&I is very or somewhat important when considering a new job” (SHRM Bright Horizons Seminar). Our workforce is becoming more diverse and that means new input and new ideas being streamlined for your business. When we include diversity into the conversation there is nothing but benefits. When including DE&I into the conversation you get new backgrounds and a new perspective on an otherwise untapped market. A few key strategies to commit to diversity in your workplace are “Increase accountability and transparency, Developing inclusive leadership skills, Acting as a vocal ally, Building your platform on feedback, and reflect often and commit to change” (DDI.com embracing diversity in the workplace). By including everyone into the conversation your business will be able to flourish with the new ideas coming to the table.
Family Care Gaps are such an important aspect of your business. Businesses in the US are affected because “child care breakdowns cost an estimated $4.4 billion in absences and lost productivity” (SHRM.com Bright Horizons Seminar). Not only does childcare affect our businesses annually but “55% of those with elder care responsibilities have turned down a promotion due to family needs” (SHRM.com Bright Horizons Seminar). These costs are not only affecting the budget of your business but its productivity and your ability to get new ideas moving forward. Most families in the US are a two income household, therefore there is no one to stay home with the children.he parents must make tough decisions about childcare, costing hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars a month. This puts financial strain on families and in turn puts strain on your business because your employee is not able to be at 100%. A few ways to combat this struggle are:
Providing flexible and predictable scheduling
Arranging for back up care
Offering Subsidies to make childcare more affordable
Providing after school and summer camp support (Fastcompany.com 4 ways companies can help solve the childcare crisis).
These options are small but mighty. By providing the parents flexible scheduling, they are able to get their children to daycare if the daycare does not open before work. Working parents also report by offering subsidies to local daycare providers, they aren't struggling with the cost. Companies can also provide after school and summer camp support by having the parent enroll them in extra classes and the company pays for a portion or giving a voucher for summer camp when the child/ren are out of school for the summer.
Benefits That Match Employees Unique Needs is one of the top priorities of most employees when looking for a job. Over “86% of Millennials and Gen Zs are stressed about their financial well-being” (SHRM.com Bright Horizons Seminar). Our new workforce is worried about their financial situations, so they are looking for the best job with the best benefits. Make sure your company can compete by making childcare accessible, and possibly having pet insurance! Over “80% of Millennial and Gen Z workers care for a pet.”(SHRM.com Bright Horizons Seminar), and making mental health a top priority when selecting an insurance plan. All of these factors go through an employee's mind when looking for a business to commit to long term. Adjusting your benefits could be what keeps your employees happy and healthy for many years to come, in turn keeping your business running at the top of its potential for the foreseeable future.
As always, as you evaluate your priorities for 2023, we’d be happy to help you strategize, or implement your plans!
B.Stephens HR Consulting