Top of Mind HR Trends for 2022
We have all seen COVID-19 turn traditional business practices upside down. Moving forward beyond one of the most challenging years in American history, corporate management now must navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic’s fallout.
Business professionals are seeking new, relevant strategies to engage and retain their workforce while creating a positive corporate culture. HR managers and the C suite must find ways to maintain corporate and brand identities while maximizing productivity—all while keeping their team engaged, gratified, and motivated.
Thought leaders are seeing the following HR trends for 2022. Keep them in mind!
COVID-19 and public health
HR departments will need to work through issues such as mandatory vaccinations for employees as more data becomes available on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. HRmorning.com advises managers to be alert for guidance from government agencies regarding vaccine policies. Be forewarned—there will be intricacies and exemptions to consider when instituting a mandatory vaccine policy.
Another COVID gamechanger will be devising plans for employees who must quarantine or isolate after being exposed to the virus. HR professionals will need to stay abreast of compliance directives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in coordination with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, employers must consider how they can accommodate COVID-related disabilities in the work environment. These disabilities may include: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, chest pain, stomach pain, joint pain, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating according to the CDC.
Tools and time
Since quarantine, isolation, and recovery may require adaption of hybrid or remote working schedules, focus on promoting team collaboration tools now, like Microsoft 365 and other SaaS, to maintain productivity through employee absences. Managers also need to employ policies for scheduling and time tracking for remote or hybrid staff.
The changing landscape of the labor field is leading more companies to adopt a “gig economy” business model that promotes outsourcing specific tasks to independent, “expert” freelance employees. These arrangements create an impact on employee schedules, job titles, benefits, and working styles. The Capital Counselor says that the growing gig economy will reach a gross volume of $455.2 billion by 2023—and why wouldn’t it? Gig work allows people to work at their own pace and set their own hours. It easily transitions to fields such as: coding, design, writing, accounting, or administrative work—and can be performed remotely, which aligns with the growth of hybrid workplace and remote teams.
Fractional executive leadership is also on the rise, as accomplished professionals with significant experience are choosing to semi-retire or relocate with the desire to continue working and maintaining connections within their field of expertise. HR professionals need to be prepared for what’s ahead.
Upskilling and Reskilling
Employee skill sets are now taking precedence over job titles. Employers are investing in equipping their highly valued workers with new skills in order to elevate morale, engagement, and productivity. As an alternative to the expense of recruiting and training brand-new employees, companies are now electing to reskill existing employees who have already proven their worth. The trend continues to grow as businesses seek ways to improve their employee’s skill sets from within, which can improve retention and reduce churn.
Understanding the Millennial and Gen Z Population
Businesses need to understand how they can attract younger workers and retain them. The younger generation is known for their extensive use of technology; thus, they continue to drive major changes in workforce trends and how organizations are managed.
Understanding the values, beliefs, and culture of younger workers has shifted from a simple initiative to complex strategies involving cultural experts, as businesses start crafting a dedicated practice to attract Millennial and Gen Z employees with new opportunities, attractive pay scales, and flexible schedules.
The Era of Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Buy-In
Forbes.com emphasizes the importance for companies to be involved in social issues and to engage with volunteerism, charitable donations, and inclusion efforts. This new direction towards corporate social responsibility requires companies to respond appropriately to current events and crises, adding a complex layer to their communications and HR departments.
Employees are also eager to “buy in” to help lead the way to build corporate culture. Company leaders should ask open-ended questions and encourage brainstorming and problem-solving sessions to engage employees in finding ways to improve policies and procedures. Team members want to learn what areas need to be addressed and what they can do to make an impact.
Judson Kleinman, CEO of Corporate Essentials says, “HR policies and business practices will need to adapt to the post-COVID world. Innovation, communication and thought leadership will lead the way to success in navigating the process. Corporate leaders who are responsive to and invest in their teams will be rewarded by attracting strong talent and creating a positive work environment.”
Overall, the workplace will need to continue evolving with technology and an understanding of its own corporate culture. As professionals craft business plans, compliance policies, and advancement plans, the main thing to keep in mind is that work and life are integrated like never before—and businesses need to take note!