5 HR Trends for 2022: HR Consultants Guide
The start of a new year brings new opportunities and challenges and having a plan to deal with emerging trends is considered best practice. If you are yet to complete your human resources planning for 2022, see our post on 2022 Human Resources planning for the 6 steps that we recommend in order to be successful. Undeniably, COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges that most businesses have had to face in the last decade. The world as we knew it changed rapidly and we had to adapt to a new way of living and working. This unprecedented change prompted HR consultants to make many essential adjustments to enable organisations to continue to pivot and thrive. The new challenges that presented themselves in these uncertain times, were complex and many such as “The Great Resignation”, the paradigm shift to remote working models, and the compliance with the new company policies.
We are by all accounts still recovering from the pandemic and adjusting to the changes it thrusted upon us, and now more than ever, human resources ought to remain central on the important topic of how to keep businesses in the fast lane. After all, an engaged and productive workforce achieves better results, however, without the right strategy and HR expertise to drive it, efforts could yield minimal results or even prove completely futile. Moreover, there are growing concerns that talent management is harder than ever with more social issues, increased burnout, and mental health issues due to the pandemic. HR consultants have had to evaluate and adjust human resources plans for the current state of the organisation and its’ environment. In turn, this has resulted in innovation which ensured that both businesses and the team members alike are taken care of.
Some of the HR trends that are most likely to manifest themselves in 2022 are discussed below.
1. Employee Wellbeing And Mental Health
With the stigma associated with mental health taking centre stage, it has become apparent that companies need to do more and take action regarding the mental health and wellbeing of employees. Our post on The Evolution of Employee Wellbeing provides greater insight on what a more holistic approach to employee wellbeing should include and it’s six (6) pillars, refer to it if you would like more information.
Mental health is by no means a newcomer, however, the pandemic has accentuated the importance that it plays and the significant effects it has on individuals and organisations alike. As a result, employees are now more savvy to the benefits that cater to their holistic wellbeing, as opposed to focussing purely on their physical and financial wellbeings. Furthermore, The Future of The Industry Report of 2021 found out that 80% of employees prefer a company that offers them high-quality mental health resources.
Engaging human resources is key to improving the state of mental wellbeing in the workplace and HR consultants can execute this by taking a number of steps such as conducting regular wellbeing check-ins, offering wellness days, introducing a more flexible work schedule, and training managers on to have conversations with their team members regarding mental health. Creating a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health and helping them take care of it, will be one of the most critical HR trends of 2022.
2. Employee-Employer Interaction
Historically, vacant positions were more often than not tied down to a geographical location, however, the pandemic has changed this and nowadays candidates and employers alike have greater access to options when it comes to employment decisions. For employees, this has resulted in the option of finding an employer that better aligns with ones’ values and needs, such as having a say in relevant work matters or things that directly impact them. Employees feel much more empowered and engaged when they have the option of voicing their opinions on what impacts them. The alternative can cause employees to feel disengaged and disconnected from the organisation’s objectives, which typically results in lower productivity. Establishing communication channels and empowering employees to professionally voice their opinions on matters that directly impact them, needs to be a focus area for HR consultants in 2022. By developing and promoting open lines of communication, employees will feel more valued and it can help create buy-in when it comes to unpopular decisions.
3. Upskilling Employees
Upskilling the workforce has always been a crucial undertaking for any business no matter their size or industry, and the pandemic has shone the light on this important process. Too often and in too many cases, employees receive minimal training and development if any is provided at all and this directly hinders productivity, innovation, and engagement. The pandemic has brought to realisation that this is not sustainable and that employees need to be developed and be prepared to pivot to new skills in their repertoire when and if required. In the scenario where competitors are investing in the development of their workforce and have a sound retention policy amongst other things, your business will eventually be out of step with the competition.
It is, therefore, crucial for HR consultants to conduct regular training needs analysis (TNA) to identify development opportunities based on the current and future needs of the organisation. Then, in conjunction with management, human resources can map out professional development plans (PDP) or create career pathways for team members within the organisation. Some leaders might require training or coaching on how to undertake effective conversations regarding development opportunities with their team members and HR consultants can also help with this.
4. Revised Recruitment Strategies
The traditional recruitment methods are nowadays outdated and are failing to fill open positions in lots of businesses. The war on talent is fierce and has given rise to a growing misconception that people are no longer willing to work. This couldn’t be further from the truth and the key issue at hand, instead it is more likely that potential employees are unwilling to settle for low wages and minimal benefits offered through employee value propositions (EVPs). The market has given candidates options and these candidates are making the most of it by refusing to settle for less.
HR consultants can assist revise the current recruitment strategies to find a solution for this growing issue. As an example, the prospective candidates who made it to the final round of interviews but couldn’t be hired should be revisited when there is another vacant position. More importantly, social media marketing strategies should be developed to attract more people, and prospective candidates targeted through headhunting approaches. Attracting candidates for vacancies is far from single point sensitive and requires a strategy in order to be successful in recruiting the best suited and qualified candidate for the role. Keep a lookout for our upcoming post specifically on recruitment strategies for more information.
5. Increasing Diversity and Inclusion
Increasingly, prospective candidates are looking for companies that support diversity, inclusion, and equity within the workforce when they are looking for new opportunities. Diversity and inclusion are the key cultural and operational tenets for businesses in 2022, and companies should ensure that they fully invest in them to promote an inclusive environment for everyone. A key focus will be on further embedding diversity and inclusion in the recruitment and training protocols.
Human resources will need to clearly communicate what the agenda of diversity and inclusion entails to team members. It is also crucial to focus on increasing the awareness of how data is utilised to drive efforts of diversity and inclusion. Moreover, team members should have a clear understanding of the different initiatives the organisation undertakes to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce. Sharing the diversity and inclusion plan at all levels of the organisation and making it a readily available document will increase transparency, buy-in, and the chances of success.
The Bottom Line
Employers and employees alike are still adjusting to the new ways of working and HR plans for 2022 need to account for emerging trends in order to be prepared for different eventualities. Some of the trends outlined above are complex topics and in order to successfully execute them, it requires an intricate understanding of their inner workings. Therefore, finding the right HR consultants to assist your business and team members thrive in 2022 should be a key agenda item. After all, your people agenda will define your outcomes, therefore focus on ensuring you give it the best chance of success by having a sound strategy and key expertise to fulfill your objectives. Finally, have contingencies and be prepared to adjust to your environment.