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This is the weekly Careers newsletter.

Radhika Panjwani is a former journalist from Toronto and a blogger.

This week’s newsletter looks ahead to trends in the workplace in 2023.

Trend 1: Boomerang employees

Self-retrospection combined with regret will spur many professionals who upped and quit during the pandemic to return to their old job, says Nancy D’Onofrio, a talent acquisition expert.

Boomerang employees are those workers who leave an employer and return, explains Ms. D’Onofrio, who is the global director of business development at Visage Inc., a tech startup that combines human and artificial intelligence to create a list of potential candidates for roles. She says the ranks of boomerang workers may be set to swell in the new year.

“The holidays are a time for self-reflection and many employees who have caught the I-want-to-return feelings, will most likely have those chats [with their former employers] early next year,” says Whitby, Ont.-based Ms. D’Onofrio. Considering the current job market, this could be “a win-win situation, because boomerang employees know the company, its culture and don’t need to be onboarded aggressively.”

Ms. D’Onofrio should know. She has boomeranged twice in her career.

The first time, she left for more money, but then realized she had traded a great employer for a toxic workplace. The second time, she left to become an entrepreneur, but when the stress took a toll, she sought the stability and comfort of a familiar office.

A pair of surveys reiterate boomerang employees are not a passing fad. According to one from human resources firm UKG, which has offices in Canada, 43 per cent of people who quit their job during the pandemic said they were actually better off in their old job and that they may have quit hastily. The six-country survey of 4,000 people includes Canadians.

Similarly, a survey of 2,500 workers by Muse, a U.S.-based online career platform, found 72 per cent experienced either “surprise or regret” in their new job because it or the organization was not what they expected.

Ms. D’Onofrio says sometimes people are wary of going back to their old job because returning is akin to admitting failure. But if you decided you made a mistake in leaving a job and want to return, there’s no shame in talking to your previous employer, especially if you left on good terms, she says.

Trend 2: Organizational branding

In 2023, expect organizations to go to great lengths to brand themselves as an employer of choice. Ms. D’Onofrio predicts many companies will flaunt their monetary remuneration package, work-life balance, benefits, stability and organizational culture, to attract and retain talent given the competitiveness of the current labour market.

“Trust is broken in the market with all the layoffs,” she says. “Having a big brand doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a quality applicant flow; many big brands have seen a decrease in quality applicants. The key will be to understand and revisit your company’s offerings and find ways to place your brand strategically and creatively in the market to appeal to talent.”

Trend 3: Cross-collaboration

The new year will see cross-collaboration between HR, content and marketing teams to build and execute talent-nurturing campaigns, as well as social media engagement.

Ms. D’Onofrio, who is also a social media influencer, has more than 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. She engages with her audience by writing posts on human resources, recruitment and organizational behaviour. She says employers want applicants who wield influence among industry peers or are considered as thought leaders on social platforms.

“My advice to people for 2023 would be: don’t be scared to build your personal brand through LinkedIn, networking and industry events,” she says. “Secondly, take advantage of learning and development initiatives within your organization. And finally, be empathetic toward others and help someone without expecting anything in return … just plain good old karma.”

Other trends

In a comprehensive survey and report,, a company that lets users compare products and find customer reviews and reports from experts, noted modern workplace trends that will continue to be relevant in 2023:

  • Healthy workplaces: when it comes to employee productivity, creating a healthy workplace is a game-changer, according to the report. Healthy employees curb costs related to absenteeism, medical coverage and compensation. Productivity losses from absenteeism cost U.S. employers US$225.8-billion each year, the report said.
  • Gen Z [born between 1997-2012]: is the newest cohort to enter the work force. According to the 2021 census, of the 23,957,760 Canadians in the working-age population, 33.2 per cent were millennials, 29.5 per cent were Gen Xers, 19.7 per cent were baby boomers, and 17.6 per cent were Gen Zers. This cohort of tech-savvy workers expects their workplaces to have digital collaboration tools. They are also pragmatic in their approach to both life and careers. Given all this, businesses will have to fine-tune everyday office practices as well as embrace the modern workforce transformation to get the most out of Gen Zs, notes the report.
  • Remote work is here to stay and is on rise. Businesses should build agile work structures to support this mode of working.
  • The end of 9-5: Modern employees are leaning toward organizations that allow them to work from anywhere. Given this, the rigid 9-5 work schedule is falling out of favour.

The increasing preference for a greater work-life balance, the rise of the gig economy, making social purpose a priority and continued emphasis on upskilling will all become increasingly relevant in 2023, notes the report.

What I’m reading around the web

  • In his leadership blog, Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin & Associates, writes about leadership in a time of slower growth and discusses ways in which companies should continue to perform when growth is no longer guaranteed.
  • This BBC story says PwC, one of Britain’s largest accounting firms, will close most of its offices over Christmas and New Year for the first time to save on energy bills. The company, which employs about 24,000 people, will shut its offices from Dec. 23, 2022, to Jan. 3, 2023. Britain’s National Grid has offered households and businesses discounts on their electricity bills if they cut peak-time use on a handful of days over the winter.
  • This story on Forbes is a profile on Roy Carroll, the “Guru of Greensboro.” He is a real-estate mogul and waiting to cash in on the market collapse. “Warren Buffett looks for great companies and doesn’t trade a lot. That’s our philosophy in real estate,” Mr. Carroll says. “Let’s find a good location and keep it. Why sell the golden goose?”

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