The Great Resignation. The Great Reshuffle. “Quiet quitting.” And, the recently-coined phrase, shift shock. 2022 certainly had its fair share of twists and turns when it comes to the global labor market. While many have attempted to capture the latest trends with catchy terminology, it’s fair to say that “uncertainty” accurately sums up the last 12 months and this will likely persist throughout 2023.

What we can say with certainty is that 2022 was a wake-up call for both employers and employees. While the two sides are at a unique crossroads, a few themes have surfaced which offer significant opportunities and meaningful benefits to both the workforce and business:

  • Employees don’t view work in the same way they did even just a few years ago. And, pressure has never been greater for employers to be an “employer of choice” to stay current, relevant and competitive to retain increasingly scarce and specialized talent.
  • Everyone is craving growth. Employees want more enriching and rewarding careers, while organizations want a sustainable, adaptable and uniquely capable workforce. A social compact has emerged underpinned by learning and skilling.
  • Investing in learning and growth is no longer nice-to-have, but rather a business imperative.

With all signs pointing to 2023 starting off down an equally “uncertain” path, a few Skillsoft experts will attempt to demystify the year ahead with regard to digital learning and workforce transformation, while also providing suggestions on how we, as an industry, can move forward with a mindset of growth. These predictions were all derived through observed trends, professional insights and intimate knowledge of our industry. Let’s dive in.

Sustaining growth in uncertain times requires a “full-stack” culture.

Mark Onisk, chief content officer.

We’re living in a time where many organizations are downsizing and employees are absorbing more responsibilities — likely in areas that they aren’t necessarily experts in. As this shift continues and existing talent is required to take on new challenges, there must be even more urgency placed on learning and training to build broad and deep skill sets — or full-stack capabilities. More classically defined as the “T-shape” employee, the ability of the workforce to shift between adjacent tasks and projects in an agile manner will require an increasingly diversified skill set, while maintaining critical specializations, as enterprises navigate the economic murkiness that is 2023.

In the tech world, for instance, developers can’t just be focused on building front-end applications. They also need to be able to do the back end, or full stack. Now, full stack extends to every function whether it be sales, marketing, operations, product development or technology.

Building a full-stack culture — where all employees have a level of proficiency in everything from power skills like problem solving to tech skills like data analysis —  is a win-win for employers and employees alike. For the former, it transforms an organization into one built upon adaptability and agility, while also helping to retain momentum in uncertain times. For the latter, individuals develop more complementary and transferrable skills, have more command over where, how, and on what they want to work, and cushion their careers in the event of an unforeseen change.

The role of the chief ethics and compliance officer will be (re)defined.

Asha Palmer, senior vice president of compliance solutions.

Years ago, the executive role of chief people officer (CPO) rose in popularity. Organizations realized that if they were going to refer to their people as their most valuable asset, then their people would need executive-level representation. CPOs are responsible for overseeing human resources and ensuring that employees have what they need to effectively do their jobs.

With over 72% of respondents in a recent study reporting corporate social responsibility (CSR) becoming increasingly more important since the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023 will be the year of the chief ethics and compliance officer (CECO) — a nod to the increasing value that organizations are placing on ethics and compliance. But, even as the CECO role pops up around the world, we need to think carefully about the responsibility it shoulders. CECOs are stewards of corporate culture; they are responsible for regulatory, societal, legal and risk mitigation issues. Their job description has become more complex than a typical chief compliance officer, which has traditionally focused more on regulatory compliance. CECOs do more than make sure that people comply with laws.

Even if your organization has the most gorgeous code of conduct that has ever been written, if you have not moved ethics and compliance to an executive role responsible for the cultural stability in your organization, you’re at risk for misconduct. Your CECO should be critically analyzing what’s working – and what’s not working — for your organization, and helping to build your corporate culture. Regardless of who spearheads CSR efforts, getting employees on board is critical, and 42% of people say offering training opportunities is the best way to make this happen.

Programmatic learning will evolve into assessments with outcomes.

Apratim Purakayastha, chief technology officer and chief product officer.

Organizations that have an effective culture of learning are deliberate about employee development aligned with strategic business needs. They assess and benchmark skills, build and maintain individual development plans, and provide blended learning programs that future-fit employees.

In a world where efficiency and performance are essential, blended, multi-modal learning will become even more important. Best-in-class companies will infuse learning methods like videos, books, and live and virtual instructor-led training (VILT), while using all-in-one platforms that engage the learner with recommendations, social cues, badges, goals, reminders and much more.

In 2023, falling behind and failing to invest in the growth of employees through a blended approach to learning will be a guarantee for obsolescence.

Mental health with be front and center at every organization.

Rashim Mogha, general manager, leadership and business.

Over 80% of workers are seeking employers who care about their mental health. This must become a priority in the workplace both for talent retention and employee well-being.

When it comes to wellbeing, it is a shared responsibility between the organization and their employees so that team members feel both safe and supported at work. Support for mental health is no different, and employers around the world are realizing this as burnout and quiet quitting remain concerns. For many decades, hospitals, insurance companies, and businesses have treated mental health as a step-sibling of physical health. That will change in 2023.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five Americans lives with a mental illness. We will see corporate policies evolve to address workplace burnout and provide optimal conditions for employees to perform at their best. We will see a rise in mental health startups and more investors investing in wellness solutions.

Ensuring your organization recognizes mental health and has proper support for employees is a must-have to create a more inclusive workplace environment.

2022 provided learning lessons for organizations and created an outline of what needs to improve in the new year. With both employees and employers craving growth, its necessary to create a plan that benefits all stakeholders. When building out your plans for 2023 keep in mind that learning, training, culture, compliance, and employee wellness should top priorities for your organization to keep pace of.