2020 kicked off like a year unlike any other. Global lockdowns, social restrictions, and economic downturns sent shockwaves across industries. They resulted in radical changes in the way people worked. Remote work became the norm.
2021 was more about conforming to the changes initiated the year before. ‘The new normal’ became people’s favourite word, especially for the working professionals. A hybrid workplace emerged as a result.
Consequently, HR had to reinvent and reposition itself to pandemic-era issues like the Great Resignation, transition to remote and hybrid work, new compliance and regulatory concerns, rising stress levels and mental health issues, and figuring out how to attract and retain talent, to name a few.
Now, 2022 is set in. And, just as people were starting to settle with a hybrid workplace and rather optimism, a new, more virulent mutation of COVID-19 (Omicron) is again changing narratives.
So, what does 2022 have in-store for the HR industry? This read is for you.
Top 8 HR Trends to Look Out For in 2022
Like other times, going forward, HR will play a pivotal role in shaping the post-pandemic workplace:
1. Employee experience will drive employee retention
As per a recent Gartner survey of HR leaders across 60 countries, one major point that came across is employees want to be understood and valued. So, the more the companies invest in Employee Experience, the better the chances to retain them.
Speaking to Forbes, Darren Hockley, managing director at DeltaNet – a regulatory risk-management firm – said, “As 2022 fast approaches, companies will need to redefine what the workplace looks like if they want to attract and retain top talent.”
Here are six ways to improve Employee Experience:
- Invest in technology
- Promote communication
- Recognise good talent
- Improve the working conditions
- Invest in employee wellness
- Take feedback
Read more about these ways here.
2. Hybrid work is here to stay
While in 2021, hybrid work was the need of the hour. But in 2022, it will become a demand from employees and candidates. All the major HR reports show employees wish to have the flexibility to work from anywhere.
According to Accenture’s poll, 83% of workers want a hybrid work model, and 63% of high-growth businesses have already implemented a “productivity anywhere” workforce model.
3. Employer branding will be crucial
Candidates not only wish to join companies that pay them well. But also the ones whose values match with their own. Before joining the company, candidates scour through the internet to check:
- Past employee reviews
- Feedback on work culture
- Perks offered to employees
- Companies’ focus on employee centricity
Closing the Employee Expectations Gap, a study performed by Future Workplace and Blue Beyond Consulting among 753 business owners, HR leaders, and knowledge workers, found that eight out of ten employees believe their company’s values must coincide with their own.
Therefore, we suggest leaders must begin to address the employee expectation gap (lack of knowledge between employers and employees about themselves) by committing to better humane working conditions for all employees, regardless of where they work.
So, the company’s brand image online is important to gain good talent.
Here are seven ways a company can work on branding:
- Publish white papers and case studies.
- Post videos showing company culture on social media.
- Feature your employees on company blogs.
- Publish blog posts that build authority on your domain.
- Encourage employees to write about their tenure with the company on social media.
- Publish the company’s mission and vision on the website.
- Publish the company’s story on the website.
4. Skill-based hiring will continue
A Gartner report suggests that the total number of skills required for a single job increases at 6.3% annually. In the past, hiring could be done around degree or experience.
But, in the current working conditions where teams collaborate online and the skyrocketing use of AI, there is more demand for human resources who quickly pick up on their own. In addition, newer techs introduced during the past two years demand entirely new job profiles. Skilled workers fill this gap.
Corporate giants like Apple, Google and Hilton Hotels pay high gross salaries to individuals who possess in-demand skills and may not have degrees.
Also, the pandemic brought more and more businesses online, which led to rising demand for niche jobs. Therefore, skill-based hiring will see an upsurge in 2022.
5. Investing in employee well-being will be non-negotiable
Research by Paychex and Future Workplace on 603 full-time workers found employee well-being benefits were crucial criteria for applying to a new job.
Pandemic has changed the priority of employees. A record number of mental health issues, burnout and other pandemic-related disruptions have inclined employees to prefer well-being more than monetary perks. Moreover, they wish to be associated with companies that invest in their well-being.
Here are five ways to improve employee well-being:
- Recognise good work and compensate.
- Throw fitness challenges.
- Gift wellness products.
- Encourage flexible work schedules for better work-life balance.
- Arrange free counselling sessions to promote mental health awareness.
6. Diversity and inclusion will remain constant
Having more human resources across different gender, cultures, and even diverse sexual orientations will positively affect the company. A diverse workforce is more innovative, which will grow the company. Also, a diverse workforce is more inclusive, reducing bias.
“The voice for change is getting stronger. People now have more confidence to speak up because they believe more people are listening.” This is evident through the cancel culture, which has proven that people are more comfortable standing up for what’s right even if it means calling out their employer,” said Hockley.
Employees are vocal in the day and age of social media. News of any discrimination at work will spread like wildfire. This hits hard on employer branding.
7. Data and AI will drive HR and its decisions
The pandemic has stirred the ethos of the workplace, and HRs are scrambling to come to terms with the newer employee expectations.
For instance, increased burnout and mental health issues during the pandemic have given rise to newfound employee retention and hiring problems.
Data will be a key factor in HR decision-making in 2022. Surveys and employee data can be a base for policy changes, operational changes and revision of performance KPIs.
8. HR processes automation will increase
Process automation and AI is poised to dominate HR trends in 2022. Indeed, AI is expected to revolutionise the HR processes, allowing HR staff to make better judgments.
Furthermore, AI will aid in the automation and streamlining of administrative processes, employee training allowing HR to concentrate on strategic initiatives and customising the employee experience.
For instance, employees will have conversational AI chatbots answering most of their HR-related queries, whereas human HRs will be available for more profound and in-depth concerns.
These were the top eight HR trends facing 2022. But, whatever the near future has in store, one thing is critical – leaders must ensure that everyone has a voice shaping the future of work. In addition, they must demonstrate resilience, empathy, transparency, and digital fluency.
What other trend do you think will follow in 2022? Comment and let us know.