As the end of the financial year fast approaches, companies will be nursing the wounds of a financially unstable 12 months and looking to prepare for whatever 2024 holds. With legislation constantly evolving and new economic challenges presenting themselves, staying on top of regulatory requirements, administration, and workforce management is the best way to build a resilient company capable of weathering this post-pandemic environment.
Strong pandemic recovery didn’t translate to a prosperous 2023
Over a year after the final lockdowns, the 2023 financial year should’ve been a time of prosperity for business. According to CommBank, after the pandemic, ‘Economic growth has rebounded on the back of monetary and fiscal stimulus and the easing of restrictions, prompting a strong recovery in consumer spending and business investment’ (John, 2023).
However, rather than a return to ‘normal’, Australia experienced some of the lowest employment rates in history and the highest levels of inflation in nearly 40 years, impacting workforces across the board. Supply chain issues, an increase in migration workers, and a dramatic spike in interest rates also created a challenging environment for businesses. As a result, the economy is predicted to see a slowdown of consumption and investment, with production reducing and profits squeezed. (KPMG, 2023)
Outlook for 2024: workforce and compliance trends
As we move into the 2024 financial year and businesses deal with the continuation of these economic pressures, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of workforce and compliance requirements.
SOCI Act compliance
After a string of high-profile data breaches in 2022, the importance of cyber security has escalated in the public eye. And with the recent amendments to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act (SOCI Act), companies are expected to comply with strict new security regulations by August 17 2023.
Aged care reforms
In 2022, there were significant aged care legislative reforms, making it even more urgent for providers to meet standards and maintain their brand reputation in the industry.
The reforms included:
- Every residential aged care home must have a registered nurse onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from 1 July 2023.
- The Serious Incident Response Scheme has been extended to home care and flexible care, it now includes incident management and prevention.
- There is now an enforceable Code of Conduct for Aged Care that applies to approved providers and their workforce.
- Provider governance has been strengthened, with new reporting requirements. (Australian Government: Department of Health and Aged Care, 2023)
Shift from admin to compliance
For most companies, the focus has always been on administration. But recently, compliance with government-mandated regulations has shifted to the forefront, and it takes more than simple administration to make sure you’re meeting requirements. This shift in compliance laws is largely due to the increase in negligence claims and fines issued across sectors.
Focus on employee experience
One of the lingering effects of the pandemic has been the increased focus on employee wellbeing. Along with the popularity of flexible working, there has been a collective realisation about the importance of treating employees as humans and not separating their work and home lives so strictly. (All Things Talent team, 2023)
As stated in Forbes, ‘There has been so much conversation around the physical location of work in recent years, whether remote, onsite, or hybrid, that focus is sometimes derailed from what truly matters: curating the employee experience beyond the material boundaries of the workplace.’ (Rozon, 2022)
Australian businesses will need to focus on creating healthy employee experiences in order to overcome high staff turnover rates.
As technology improves, it’s vital to stay on top of innovations that can save you time and energy in the office. HR analytics are increasing in popularity, as they allow organisations to turn candidate and employee data into insights. Predictive analytics can identify if the candidate is suitable by comparing their data to the attributes of successful current employees. (All Things Talent team, 2023)
Accountability and transparency are now non-negotiable expectations for companies. It has become necessary to create—and stick to—ESG goals, aiming for global best practice standards and presenting clear evidence of progress. Mandatory ESG requirements are on the horizon, as the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) move towards releasing their global baseline of Sustainability and Climate Disclosure Standards. (KPMG, 2023)
A year of servicing large-scale organisations
As we close the final quarter of the 2023 financial year, the team at Kinatico are reflecting on 12 months spent servicing some of the hardest hit sectors of Australia and New Zealand. Our clients range from resources, energy, and financial industries struck by this period of economic upheaval, to the aged care and disability sector—where staffing shortages and time-consuming compliance regulations have a real-world impact on the lives of vulnerable people.
Here to help companies manage the trends of 2024
The outlook for the 2024 financial year is less than inspiring, as the severity of regulatory requirements continue to increase and an economy impacted by inflation, supply chain problems, and skyrocketing interest rates shows no signs of improvement. For businesses planning management strategies for the coming year, Kinatico can assist with advice and support concerning your workforce credentials, screening, and ongoing compliance requirements—setting you up to face any new legislation or workforce changes that 2024 has in store.
“Aged care legislative reform”. Australian Government: Department of Health and Aged Care. (2023, February 10). https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/aged-care-reforms/aged-care-legislative-reform#:~:text=On%201%20July%202021%2C%20the,they%20are%20a%20last%20resort.
All Things Talent team. (2023, April 11). Workplace Trends 2023: Employee-first Policies, HR Tech Innovations Continue To Be Top Priorities. All Things Talent. https://allthingstalent.org/workplace-trends-2023-employee-first-policies-hr-tech-innovations-continue-to-be-top-priorities/2023/04/11/
Internal Audit in focus FY24. (2023). KPMG. https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/au/pdf/2023/internal-audit-in-focus-fy24-report.pdf
John, D. (2023, February 15). Australia faces slowdown in economic growth but should avoid recession, says CBA. CommBank. https://www.commbank.com.au/articles/newsroom/2023/02/cba-half-year-23-results-economy.html
Rozon, J. (2022, December 20). The Employee Experience Matters: A Key Focus For HR In 2023. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2022/12/20/the-employee-experience-matters-a-key-focus-for-hr-in-2023/?sh=490d68375ec9