Leadership of business and tech is set to continue evolving in line with customer and workforce needs. Here are six expert predictions for what 2023 will hold
The roles that business and tech leaders play in maintaining operations across organisations big and small have seen continual shifts over the years, particularly recently in light of work technology innovations. This is set to continue as customers face new challenges to overcome, and the management of hiring and retention ascends the agenda amidst looming skills gaps and the so-called “Great Resignation“.
With this in mind, here are the predictions of six experts on what 2023 has in store for business and tech leadership.
Soft skilling for managers
This year saw a return to the office for many companies post-Covid. Large tech firms such as Apple introduced stricter measures with regards to their home working policies, while Twitter even ordered their employees back into the office for 40-hour weeks.
However, heading into 2023, companies must understand that a large proportion of the workforce has become accustomed to working at least some of the week from home, or elsewhere. Candidates now expect to have this choice of hybrid working, so in order to successfully recruit in today’s competitive market, this is something tech businesses will have to embrace over the next 12 months, says James Wilkinson, CEO of car finance marketplace Zuto.
What this means, says Wilkinson, is that businesses willing to maintain a hybrid working model will have to elevate soft skills in managers to help them adapt, manage expectations and inspire their teams.
In particular, managers will have to recognise and reward employee success effectively, even when working apart. This means introducing more stringent processes and structure and implement multi-channel comms strategies.
Using data to prevent injuries
Worker shortages due to the Great Resignation – people not coming back to work post-Covid – is being especially felt in the warehousing and manufacturing sectors. Fewer workers under increased pressure is a recipe for accidents, warns Matthew Hart, founder and CEO of Soter Analytics.
Technologies for proactive injury prevention that measure high risk movements like bending, twisting, and overhead reaching can generate the data required to pinpoint risks and stop them before they escalate. Dashboard analytics will enable management to see data for each worker out on the floor. They can understand their average hazards per hour, the frequency of each type of hazard, where these hazards are happening (department, job roles) and locate quickly where the risk is being generated from.
Hiring globally will increase
With remote working on the rise – despite some companies attempting to go back to the office – global hiring will continue to increase. More and more people will be able to work in digital jobs that can be done from anywhere.
“When you hire internationally, you have access to a much larger talent pool, and with the possibility of hiring employees to work from anywhere in the world, companies will have a unique opportunity of filling their roles in a more diverse way to increase cross-cultural competency in remote teamwork,” says Kelvin Ong, chief of staff at online software engineering school Microverse.
However, Ong agrees with James Wilknson, that this means IT managers will have to develop their soft skills, such as explicit and clear written communication (“low-context communicaiton” and sending messages where there is a timelag before you get a response (“asynchrous communication”).
Diversifying talent pipelines
While economic uncertainty is set to remain initially, so too will the need to look beyond traditional tech backgrounds when it comes to hiring. According to Mark Hedley, vice-president of talent recruiting at G-P, “there is still room for positive thinking” even during a recession, and this can lend itself well towards diversifying talent pipelines.
Hedley says: “Most recessions are mild and temporary. While they are not fun, recessions can be endured. Second, business owners can, to a large extent, control their own destiny. And that’s especially true when it comes to identifying and hiring the talent that will move the needle.”
There is no shortage to the capabilities that young candidates from other fields can bring to an organisation. With the increasing need to innovate, the new ideas that non-traditional minds can contribute are bound to be beneficial throughout 2023 and beyond.
“When it comes to the knowledge-based economy, there is no shortage,” Hedley added. “There is talent everywhere, but firms need to be comfortable hiring people in countries they haven’t had experience with previously. Thinking globally is not a new thing for certain businesses, or sectors, but it can be new in terms of their approach to talent search in many cases.”
AI-powered video meetings
Scott Wharton, vice-president and general manager of Logitech B2B, believes that AI-powered video calls will become the new standard. “If you don’t have multiple cameras and smart AI to find the best angle and camera shot, your meetings will look so 2020,” he says.
Meanwhile, companies will be giving a lot more thought as to hot desking, where employees no longer have a dedicated desk, and Wharton predicts there will innovative hardware and services coming onstream in 2023 to streamline and automate booking a workstation.
The global market size for video conferencing components, including AI software, is projected by Markets and Markets to reach $22.5bn by 2026.
A year of empowerment
Navigating the global pandemic between 2020 and 2022 has emphasised the need for business and tech leaders to manage the personal wellbeing of employees, as well as their work. As we embark on this new year, staff will need continued empowerment in their roles in order to manage burnout and, ultimately, retention.
“Customer-facing teams are facing increased burnout levels and attrition, and a continuation of what some coined ‘pandemic rage’ has meant teams are dealing with more pressure than ever before,” says James Mensforth, head of UK at Aircall.
“Business leaders who prioritise simplifying the daily work by automating manual tasks will benefit from happier and more productive teams who can ultimately focus on what matters most: delivering great experiences to customers and prospects.
“It will allow teams to benefit from better coaching and learning from peers if they are less focused on delivering the basics, and more geared towards collaborating with their teams, understanding their customers and uplevelling performance.”
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