When it comes to 2023, all eyes seem to be on the global economy and there are mixed predictions in terms of what the year holds in store.
Morgan Stanley forecasts global GDP growth will top out at 2.2%, narrowly defying recession. As the U.S. economy treads water with an expected 0.5% growth, economies in Europe will likely contract and emerging market economies will see a modest recovery.
While investment opportunities are cooling down in mature economies, according to The Conference Board, a business focus on emerging economies might be a potential growth strategy. Sub-Saharan African economies and emerging Asian economies seem well placed to outperform the global average pace of growth.
So, what do these macro developments mean for day-to-day business functions like global expansion, recruitment and remote work?
Outlook for Remote Work Next Year
Q: There seems to be a trend towards returning to the traditional office. What will the demand for remote work look like in 2023?
Nick: Overall, the demand for remote work opportunities will remain strong. However, there are nuances.
Some companies and industries are moving towards a return to the office or hybrid work model. Yet the demand for remote work opportunities is not going away. For employees, remote work offers many benefits, with the ability to travel and work, scheduling flexibility and work-life balance to name a few.
A Career Pulse Survey shows that 97% of workers surveyed want some form of remote work, whether fully remote or hybrid.
At the same time, some companies see the value of remote work as it empowers them to engage talent from anywhere in the world — even hard-to-fill roles in technology, sales and client services. They also recognize that building a remote workforce helps to create a diverse and inclusive team and environment.
Prediction: In 2023, the gap between what employers and employees want when it comes to remote work will be bridged, out of necessity.
Q: What about building corporate culture? Leaders and organizations seem to still be struggling with how to do that in a remote environment.
Margaret: Organizations are learning how to engage their remote workers. There are many ways to build engagement and encourage collaboration. Technology is a great enabler that allows us to connect but we need to be mindful that the lines between personal and professional lives are more blurred than ever.
Leaders must think about their employees in a more holistic way and emphasize frequent communication, ask for feedback often and be a caring, available listener. These actions help create a strong remote work culture.
Prediction: In 2023, empathetic leaders will give their organizations the edge in creating high-performing, collaborative teams.
Q: How does DEI align with remote work cultures?
Nick: The DEI mindset starts in the talent recruitment phase. When you are sourcing and recruiting talent from all over the world, you have an opportunity to build naturally diverse teams.
Remote recruitment allows companies to tap into talent that has historically been overlooked and ignored, such as caregivers who must work from home or people with disabilities who may not be able to easily get to an office.
Think of all the untapped talent!
Margaret: I think of GoGlobal’s remote team as an example of DEI. We collaborate with colleagues from around the world, which brings new perspectives and many chances to learn from each other.
An emerging side of DEI is the addition of “B” for belonging. Research shows that when employees feel a sense of belonging, they are more productive, engaged and loyal. Creating a culture of inclusion stars with a leadership team who is committed to creating a safe environment where people feel safe to be themselves and to share their ideas and opinions.
Inclusion is what employees feel when they know their contributions are valued. It’s the next step in DEI.
Prediction: In 2023, DEI will remain a top priority for organizations with the added commitment of ensuring employees feel they belong…becoming DEIB.
Q: How can companies support employee wellness in remote work?
Margaret: Leaders can promote work-life balance by encouraging employees to take time when they need it and prioritizing overall wellness, both physically and mentally.
For example, this year, GoGlobal introduced a virtual step challenge where employees were encouraged to step away from their desks to take a walk and, at the same time, share photos of their surroundings. Collectively we logged almost 5,000 kilometers.
You can be creative in how you engage your teams such as hosting a virtual yoga class or setting a corporate fitness goal and encouraging employees to participate.
Leaders need to also pay attention to mental health, ensuring employees have opportunities to connect and socialize. Make yourself available to employees for informal conversations, such as by offering open office hours and regularly checking in with your team.
Prediction: As the remote workforce grows, companies need to keep the virtual office door open and prioritize employee wellbeing in order to retain top talent.
Opportunities for Global Expansion
Q: Shifting our focus to the business side of remote work, what is the outlook for companies looking to expand globally in 2023?
Andrew: There will be plenty of opportunities for companies looking to expand globally, especially if they are willing to look at new markets.
Emerging countries have a lot to offer when it comes to expanding. By working with an EOR like GoGlobal, companies can dive into new talent pools and explore expansion opportunities without having to set up an entity.
For example, Kenya’s location makes the country a strategic gateway for multinational companies (MNCs) looking to access the fast-growing East and Central Africa regions. It’s highly regarded for the ease of doing business and has a large English-speaking workforce, which is among the Sub-Saharan region’s top educated.
Prediction: Opportunities abound in 2023 for companies looking to expand into emerging countries. It’s time to think beyond traditional borders.
Q: It’s anticipated that M&A activity will remain strong in 2023. What advice do you have for companies looking at global expansion?
Andrew: For companies with healthy balance sheets, lower valuations may make 2023 a prime time to acquire new business. In particular, the market seems poised for a carve out comeback, which means it is essential to have a talent retention strategy in place.
Cross-border M&As can bolster a business expansion strategy by unlocking new revenue streams and improving bottom-line profitability. Some of the other advantages include increasing market access, reducing competition and opening up new talent pools.
However, companies should approach any deal with caution, paying close attention to critical compliance and HR issues. Due diligence should be carefully conducted to avoid legal issues and maintain morale in the workplace.
Talent is at the helm of any transaction, especially in an asset deal, so extra attention needs to be put into HR processes. The right people need to stay in place to make it all happen and ensure a smooth transition.
An Employer of Record (EOR) partner can help both buying and selling companies address asset compliance, bolster employee engagement and build teams during all phases of a transaction.
Prediction: Companies wanting to expand globally quickly and compliantly will partner with an EOR to manage employees throughout the process, including those who are orphaned because of carve-out transactions.
Winning the Race for Talent
Q: Is the race for talent still going strong?
Nick: Absolutely! A critical talent shortage exists for hard-to-fill roles. However, if companies are willing to look beyond their geographic area and borders, they can tap into top talent. Companies able to embrace remote talent will have an edge in winning the race for talent.
Prediction: Remote recruitment and hiring will give companies a leg up in the race for talent in 2023.
Q: What attracts top talent?
Andrew: For many people, choosing their next career opportunity is about earning more than money. The ability to work remotely and to have a flexible schedule are also highly valued.
People find remote work can improve work-life balance by saving time on commuting and allowing more flexibility in managing family and personal responsibilities.
Employers must look beyond the traditional compensation package to attract and retain top talent.
Prediction: Companies will become more flexible with schedules, benefits and workplace arrangements. Creativity and innovation will become key, especially as companies listen to employees and adapt offerings accordingly.
Q: What is your final piece of advice for 2023 workforce planning?
Nick: Look beyond your traditional borders for new talent. Partner with an EOR to source, recruit and hire talent anywhere in the world.
Margaret: Prioritize building a healthy remote work culture. Be purposeful in how your leadership team supports employee wellness no matter where your employees are in the world.
Andrew: Look to emerging markets for talent and expansion, utilizing an EOR for quick, compliant access.