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Expert shares 5 workplace trends for Houston businesses in 2023

Evolving workplace will challenge businesses to adapt in 2023, says this expert. Photo via Getty Images

Today’s workplace is undergoing rapid change in the post-pandemic world. For businesses, modifying their core infrastructure to adapt will be a challenge heading into 2023, and human resources professionals will be at the center of helping employers successfully navigate the transformation.

The top trends our HR experts expect to unfold in 2023 range from managing data protection, maintaining compliance with complex regulations, boosting employee engagement, and creating a sustainable model to support workplace flexibility.

Protecting privacy in HR systems

New privacy laws and requirements will take effect in five states in 2023, and several other states and the federal government are considering privacy-related bills. Businesses will be watching California closely as the California Privacy Rights Act that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, becomes the first to grant privacy rights to employees.

The act grants employees and job applicants who work in California certain rights regarding the personal information companies collect from them. Employers must also provide privacy notices when that information is being collected.

The CPRA will force companies to evaluate whether their systems are configured for data mapping – the process of knowing what data you’re collecting and how it’s being processed – so they can effectively and efficiently respond to employees’ requests under CPRA. Privacy management tools or plug-ins may also be necessary to help businesses fulfill rights requests.

While Texas’ current privacy laws aren’t as stringent as the CPRA, HR professionals will be watching how CPRA impacts companies. Similar legislation could pass in the coming years, and businesses and HR teams can prepare by investing in agile and flexible systems, allowing for adaptability when new requirements are introduced.

Maintaining compliance with complex regulations

The pandemic and underlying labor concerns that have been lingering for years have driven significant workplace change, such as rights and protections related to paid leave, minimum wage, and salary.

Staying up-to-date on laws and regulations governing employment practices, how employees are treated, and working conditions requires significant time and attention for businesses. Yet, for companies that aren’t compliant, the consequences can result in fines, lawsuits, and claims.

For small and mid-sized businesses, partnering with an employment lawyer or HR outsourcing provider can help you understand what requirements impact your business so you can ensure you’re compliant. HR professionals can then develop and enforce policies that help protect your workplace.

Boosting employee engagement

Nearly 100 million American workers quit their jobs during the “Great Resignation.” Now employers are facing a new challenge: low levels of employee engagement, also known as “Quiet Quitting.” A lack of employee engagement and dissatisfaction with pay are likely two key components driving this trend.

To reverse the trend, businesses and HR professionals should ask employees what they want through surveys or stay interviews, then analyze strategies that have not worked in recent years. Consider incentives outside of pay, such as retention bonuses or additional paid time-off. Then ensure your managers are equipped to lead, coach, and mentor their team members.

Refocusing recruiting, onboarding, and retention efforts can also help boost engagement. Turnover is costly, so invest time and resources in retaining employees you have. But when it’s time to hire, HR professionals should implement a comprehensive onboarding program that gives new employees resources and support to succeed early in their role.

Integrating flexibility with organizational structure

In a recent survey by Ogletree Deakins, 72 percent of company leaders reported that, since the pandemic, their employees’ desire for remote work is stronger. That’s prompted many companies to consider making remote work a permanent option.

Businesses should determine whether an in-office, hybrid, or fully remote workforce is best long term, then HR departments should develop and implement policies, procedures, and support that employees need to thrive in that environment.

For companies hesitant to commit to a hybrid workplace, discuss with company leaders what the impact on company culture will be and determine if a tailored approach could work. If an in-office strategy is best, be transparent in communicating the reasons with your employees.

HR’s role in helping companies grow and thrive

HR professionals will shoulder much of the responsibility in this workplace transformation. From developing policies and procedures to facilitating change to overseeing compliance and safety efforts, HR teams will be critical to how well businesses navigate the evolving workplace.

For small and mid-sized businesses, HR outsourcing services can fill the gap with expertise and competitive benefits that help attract and retain talent or by managing day-to-day tasks such as payroll, allowing your HR team to devote its time to more strategic initiatives.

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Arielle Carver is an HR adviser with G&A Partners.

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Building Houston

 
 

With Clutch, connecting brands with creators has never been easier and more inclusive. Photo courtesy of Clutch

An app that originally launched on Houston college campuses has announced it's now live nationwide.

Clutch founders Madison Long and Simone May set out to make it easier for the younger generation to earn money with their skill sets. After launching a beta at local universities last fall, Clutch's digital marketplace is now live for others to join in.

The platform connects brands to its network of creators for reliable and authentic work — everything from social media management, video creation, video editing, content creation, graphic design projects, and more. With weekly payments to creators and an inclusive platform for users on both sides of the equation, Clutch aims to make digital collaboration easier and more reliable for everyone.

“We’re thrilled to bring our product to market to make sustainable, authentic lifestyles available to everyone through the creator economy," says May, CTO and co-founder of Clutch. "We’re honored to be part of the thriving innovation community here in Houston and get to bring more on-your-own-terms work opportunities to all creators and businesses through our platform.”

In its beta, Clutch facilitated collaborations for over 200 student creators and 50 brands — such as DIGITS and nama. The company is founded with a mission of "democratizing access to information and technology and elevating the next generation for all people," according to a news release from Clutch. In the beta, 75 percent of the creators were people of color and around half of the businesses were owned by women and people of color.

“As a Clutch Creator, I set my own pricing, schedule and services when collaborating on projects for brands,” says Cathy Syfert, a creator through Clutch. “Clutch Creators embrace the benefits of being a brand ambassador as we create content about the products we love, but do it on behalf of the brands to help the brands grow authentically."

The newly launched product has the following features:

  • Creator profile, where users can share their services, pricing, and skills and review inquiries from brands.
  • Curated matching from the Clutch admin team.
  • Collab initiation, where users can accept or reject incoming collab requests with brands.
  • Collab management — communication, timing, review cycles — all within the platform.
  • In-app payments with a weekly amount selected by the creators themselves.
  • Seamless cancellation for both brands and creators.
Clutch raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Precursor Ventures, Capital Factory, HearstLab, and more. Clutch was originally founded as Campus Concierge in 2021 and has gone through the DivInc Houston program at the Ion.

Madison Long, left, and Simone May co-founded Clutch. Photo courtesy of Clutch

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