6 Business Trends to Watch in 2023

Posted by Albers Schools of Business and Economics on Monday, January 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM PST

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Is your company optimized for today’s marketplace? Learn more about the top trends that are defining the business landscape in 2023.

1. Employee well-being will become an essential business strategy

Supporting employee well-being isn’t just a bonus; it’s smart business.

The Great Resignation has resulted in workers leaving in droves, giving employees the upper hand in today’s candidate market. To stay competitive and retain talent, businesses need to prioritize employee well-being and wellness.

The COVID-19 pandemic led workers to prioritize work-life balance more than ever.  “Many talented workers are leaving for workplaces that align with their personal belief system and show an authentic concern for individual employee wellbeing,” reports Gallup.

The key to attracting and retaining balance is to invest in the professional and personal well-being of employees.

“Employers need to see their employees as people first and foremost,” says Carolina Valencia, VP Team Manager at Gartner. “Our research shows that 82% of employees say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee, yet only 45% of employees believe their organization actually sees them this way.”

What are employees looking for?

  • Affordable, comprehensive healthcare plans
  • Good company culture
  • Work-life balance, which includes:
    • Flexible work schedules
    • Boundaries around working hours
    • Generous time off
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Autonomy in the workplace

Workers who feel supported and cared for in their workplace are more likely to experience company loyalty, which guards against turnover. They also perform better. Increased worker retention and productivity improve your company’s bottom line, allowing you to continue to grow in an increasingly competitive workforce.

2: Remote and hybrid work are here to stay

One factor impacting employee wellness is workplace modality. There is much debate about whether hybrid or remote work models are best, but one thing is certain: they’re both here to stay.

Employees are prioritizing flexibility, pay, and wellness when choosing where to work. Remote opportunities allow employers to attract talent from anywhere in the country. Some studies report that workers are 20% happier in a remote position. 

Meanwhile, hybrid models encourage more social connection and a sense of community. When organized well, hybrid models can give workplaces the best of both worlds.

3: On social media, short-form video is king

TikTok has shifted the social media landscape, making short-form video king in social media content. Instagram and YouTube have taken note, shifting their focus to Reels and YouTube shorts. As a result, video is dominating the algorithms for most social media platforms.

To keep up with the market, Facebook announced in June 2022 that it will be restructuring its feed to highlight video content. The platform’s largest gap is short-form video, so to address this, it will be integrating reels throughout the platform.

Short-form videos can make your content more visible, increasing traffic and engagement with your brand. For businesses, pairing short-form videos with user-generated content (UGC) is key. UGC refers to brand-specific content, such as a Tiktok influencer highlighting a makeup brand. 

Studies show that audiences are 2.4 times more likely to trust content coming from users. This makes UGC and short-form video platforms valuable tools for building an authentic marketing strategy.

4: Cybersecurity is more crucial than ever

All businesses, regardless of size, are at risk of cyber attacks. The question isn’t if you will experience a cyber attack, but when.

Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report found that ransomware attacks were up 13% in 2022—an increase larger than the past five years combined. In most cases, these attacks succeeded due to human error, such as phishing attempts.

Businesses such as Yahoo!, Marriott, Meta, and LinkedIn have experienced large data breaches in the past. An IBM Security study found that among 500 companies surveyed, data breaches cost an average of $4.24 million per incident. For mega breaches (50-65 million records), this number averaged $401 million. 

This survey also determined that it took companies an average of 287 days to detect and contain a breach, leaving a lot of time for cybercriminals to wreak havoc. A data breach can also remain undetected for longer amounts of time, allowing cyber attackers to maintain access to sensitive information. In 2018, Marriott International learned that their security breach had existed since 2014.

How do you protect your company’s data? The most effective cyber security measures will include AI, analytics, and user training. Companies successful at guarding against attacks take a zero-trust approach: that is, they assume the network has already been compromised and continuously monitor their digital environment for breaches.

85% of breaches include a human element, often due to phishing attempts on employees. Be sure to implement cyber security awareness training for all users associated with your business. Many threats can be prevented by educating employees about safe passwords and phishing attempts.

5: Diversity, equity, and inclusion take center stage

Since 2020, businesses have been investing more in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to meet the needs and expectations of their consumers and workers.

More than a rainbow logo in June or a one-off training exercise, businesses are developing a more all-encompassing approach to DEI. This includes hiring, training, culture, leadership, organizational development, and brand strategy.

Successful implementation of DEI initiatives can increase brand credibility, improve company culture, and reduce employee attrition.

The need for Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) has been on the rise. CDOs aid in the implementation of those important initiatives as well as ensure DEI is included in the organization’s values and mission. According to a Korn Ferry survey, 64% of respondents stated that their organization and its CDO have delivered on their promise of DEI initiatives. 

6: Customers are demanding sustainable business practices

Sustainability has also become crucial for business practices. Companies of all sizes are investing in sustainability and environmental stewardship. As with DEI, sustainability efforts require system-wide change throughout a business.

According to the UN Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability refers to meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” These efforts are both environmental and social.

While messaging and goalposts matter, so does action. Businesses are under more scrutiny by their customers, who are quick to criticize when companies exaggerate their sustainability efforts or fail to make progress towards their goals. The New Climate Institute found that top companies such as Apple, Ikea, Amazon, and Google were falling short of their sustainability commitments. More than ever, consumers are demanding that businesses act as leaders for environmental change.

While 90% of executives emphasize the importance of sustainability, only 60% of surveyed organizations have sustainability strategies. Businesses committed to sustainable practices earn more trust from consumers, which improves brand credibility.

Another bonus? Sustainability is profitable, too.

Environmental Sustainability 

  • Audit your energy usage
  • Reduce your waste (such as by using sustainable, non-toxic packaging materials)
  • Use recycled materials when creating new products
  • Investigate your supply chain

Social Sustainability

  • Offer paid leave for volunteering
  • Organize company volunteer activities
  • Cultivate a healthy work environment that fosters employee wellness
  • Improve inclusivity and diversity training

How do you stay on top of market trends? MBA programs at Seattle University’s Albers School of Business connect business professionals with a distinguished alumni community. Whether you’re fresh out of undergraduate studies or an executive leader with a long career behind you, find the program that fits your needs.