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Kicking off the second half of 2023

Arielle Gordis 10 min read
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Workplace trends

There’s no prime age for women at work

A new survey by Harvard Business Review found that women in the workplace face ageism no matter how old they are – either being deemed “too young” or “too old” to be leaders. According to the study, unlike their male counterparts, younger female leaders tend to be considered less mature, less competent, and less credible, and are often mistaken for students, interns, trainees, secretaries, or other lower-level roles. Middle-aged female leaders, on the other hand, are seen as lacking fresh new ideas and perspectives, and are often brushed over due to their assumed familial responsibilities and impending menopause. And for older women in the workplace, unlike men who are valued for their experience and expertise, they are often seen as no longer relevant and unworthy of advancement, training, or mentorship.

Chinese workers are terrified of turning 35

In China, the Curse of 35 is the widespread belief that white-collar workers confront inevitable job insecurity after they hit that age. According to the Curse, in the eyes of employers, at 35 workers become more expensive than new graduates and less willing to work overtime, making them less appealing hires. In fact, the Chinese government caps the hiring age for most civil servant positions at 35. So, while it’s hard to know how much truth there is to the alleged Curse, there’s no doubt that the post-pandemic Chinese job market is weak and that age discrimination, which is not against the law in China, is prevalent. Workers between 35 and 60 years old face tough crossroads as they are often considered too old to be top workers, but too young to retire (the government is considering raising the retirement age.)

The AI corner

Who has the final say: Nurses or AI?

Artificial intelligence, though nascent in most hospitals, is raising questions about who should make decisions in a crisis: humans or bots. The technology, which can analyze massive amounts of data at incredible speeds, has enabled extraordinary advances in helping assess, diagnose and treat patients, according to academics and tech experts. However, nurses and healthcare workers who regularly work with AI worry about its flaws, arguing that the technology puts patients at risk when it’s implemented without adequate training and flexibility. In fact, in a recent survey of more than 1,000 registered nurses, 24% of respondents said they were prompted by AI to make choices they believed were not in the best interest of patients out of fear of disciplinary action. Hospital leaders emphasize that the technology is intended to support nurses’ clinical judgment, not replace it, but some hospital policies make it feel more complicated.

Consultants have emerged as early winners in the AI boom

Companies across industries are eager to put AI capabilities to work, but many lack the expertise to do so on their own. The result? They turn to third-party experts for help, leading technology consultants to become early beneficiaries of the generative artificial-intelligence boom. In the United States, IT consulting revenue is expected to grow 4% year-over-year to $665.9 billion – up from an average annual growth rate of 2% in the last five years, according to IBISWorld. Dell Technologies, Booz Allen Hamilton, Tata Consultancy Services, Accenture, and CGI Group are among the market’s biggest providers, and report that companies are seeking their help on a range of issues, from developing strategies and business cases to determining how and where to apply generative AI.

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Kicking off the second half of 2023


It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2023 and that less than six months now remain to achieve this year’s goals.

Unfortunately, between reduced flexibility options at lots of companies and ongoing economic pressures, many employees are having a hard time right now. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, the majority of the world’s employees are “quiet quitting” – meaning they’re putting in the minimum effort required, they are psychologically disconnected from their employer, and they’re more likely to be stressed and burnt out.

When asked what these surveyed employees would change about their organization, nearly half mentioned engagement and culture. From poor recognition to communication issues and a lack of opportunities for growth and development, Gallup’s study found that most workers were able to easily pinpoint what’s causing their disengagement. So, as a manager, while you’re likely not the one setting return-to-office policies or defining broader company culture, you can still determine the environment on your team and how you kick off this second half of the year together.

So, here are some tips for launching a strong Q3:

Check in with your team members

The start of a new quarter presents a great opportunity to meet one-on-one with each of your employees, find out how they are currently feeling, and understand what they need from you, as their leader, to help them perform at their best. As the research above clearly shows, employees often know what could improve their sense of engagement and satisfaction, so giving them the space to share can prove extremely beneficial in guiding where you focus your efforts this quarter.

Recognize team wins

Bring the whole team together to celebrate all of your successes from the first half of the year – big and small. Use data and numbers whenever possible to make things feel tangible, and be sure to give authentic individual shoutouts. For example, rather than simply saying, “Great job on that project,” try something like, “I know there were a ton of people weighing in on this project, which easily could have delayed its completion, so great job communicating clearly with all the stakeholders and making sure it reached the finish line in time!”

Openly acknowledging challenges the team faced and highlighting effective ways they got resolved helps you set the tone for the kinds of behaviors that should continue going forward. And by taking the time to honor everyone’s achievements, you can kick off Q3 with a sense of optimism and positivity, show your employees that you truly recognize their value and contributions, and make further success feel more attainable.

Give context

Use the start of this new quarter as an opportunity to discuss big-picture company goals and visions with your team. Amid ongoing economic challenges, many organizations have adjusted priorities or shifted strategies, so it’s important to take the time to explain some of the challenges your company is facing in order to ensure your team members have the information they need to make the right decisions. Additionally, aligning the team with the broader company missions helps them understand how their efforts will directly contribute to organizational goals. According to recent McKinsey research, 70% of employees said that when their work feels meaningful, they perform better, are significantly more committed, and are about half as likely to go looking for a new job.

Evaluate meetings

The start of a new quarter is a great time to evaluate which meetings are necessary and who really needs to attend them. A 2023 Microsoft report revealed that the average employee spends 57% of their work hours on office software communicating and coordinating, and a separate Microsoft survey found that nearly two-thirds of workers struggle to designate time and energy to actually doing their jobs. With Slack’s State of Work 2023 report finding that 70% of workers feel they would be more productive with fewer meetings and email correspondence, as a manager, it’s important to really consider which team members need to be at a given meeting in order to do their work effectively. If someone is only invited to listen, try marking them as optional and letting them know that you’re happy to share meeting takeaways instead or send them a recording that they can listen to in their own time.

Acknowledge growth paths

With half the year already over, many employees are actively thinking about their growth and promotion opportunities. In order to help them feel that they have a real path within your team, it’s so important for you to be the one initiating conversations about their career development. Don’t put it on them to bring it up and check in –  make it clear that you are committed to helping them succeed and maximize their potential. Schedule one-on-one syncs (if your organization doesn’t have formal feedback talks) to discuss their growth, provide clear feedback about behaviors to continue and areas to improve, understand their personal goals, and outline benchmarks for what it takes to transition into a more senior position. This really gives your team members a sense of direction and empowers them as you kick off this next quarter.

Set goals together

As you establish your team goals and strategies for Q3 and perhaps the rest of the year, encourage your employees to weigh in and share their ideas. A great way to do this is by asking each team member to prepare a brief presentation outlining relevant data, challenges, and conclusions from the first half of the year to present to the rest of the team. Then, with that information in mind, you can all brainstorm strategies and plans to move forward together as a group. Recent Workforce Institute research found that 74% of employees report they are more effective at their job when they feel heard, so enabling your employees to be part of the goal-setting is a great way to give them a voice and ensure greater buy-in.

Plan an activity together

According to research from the Harvard Business Review, when employees feel they belong, they are more than three times as likely to contribute to their full potential and are significantly more likely to feel connected to their work. That’s why it’s always great to start a new quarter with a team outing – whether it’s a group lunch or fun activity, try to organize some time outside of work to help foster a more supportive and connected team. If your team is remote, you can organize a group meeting to simply catch up and get to know each other!

It’s important to note that your team members have their own responsibilities outside of work, so whenever possible, try to plan these events during the work day to ensure they don’t have to sacrifice their personal time in order to attend.

Water cooler chatter

Some blame Beyoncé for Sweden’s inflation troubles. When the star kicked off her world tour in Stockholm, fans from across the globe flocked to witness the shows, which experts suggest may explain the 0.3 percentage points that restaurant and hotel prices added to Sweden’s monthly increase in inflation.

“The main impact on inflation, however, came from the fact that all fans needed somewhere to stay.”
Michael Grahn, Economist at Danske Bank

South Koreans just got younger. Traditionally, South Koreans marked babies as one year old at birth and added another year on the first of January (so a baby born on December 31st would turn two years old very quickly). However, a new law that just took effect has brought the nation’s age counts in line with international customs.

“I was about to turn 30 next year [under the traditional age system] but now I have some more time earned and I love it.”
Choi Hyun-ji, 27-year-old office worker in Seoul

Question of the week

Last week’s answer: US, UK, China, Israel, and India

This week’s question: Which country has the highest inflation rate?

Just for laughs

Kicking off the second half of 2023
Arielle is a writer and storyteller currently serving as a content marketing manager at When she’s not busy writing, you can find her walking outside for hours on end or planning her next travel adventure.

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