The pandemic has redefined the meaning of workplaces. As we slowly transitioned into 2021 and made plans of slowly transitioning back to the workplace, we were reckoned and confronted by COVID-19 variants.
The human resource office is one of the most vital parts of a company’s fast adaptation to the pandemic workplace. Issues from mass resignation to health benefits for the employees and even more complicated compliance issues brought about by out-of-state and out-of-country hiring.
With this in mind, we will look into the past trends and conclusions as we predict and hypothesize the future of human resource and HR tech in 2022.
Human Resources will sketch out the plan for hybrid workplace
One of the first things we foresee in the coming 2022 is the shift from a purely work from home to a hybrid work setup with the Human Resource department leading the charge.
Talk of slowly coming back to normal was optimistic with the vaccine rollout in early 2021 but was halted with the different Covid-19 variants. With all the uncertainties, the next best thing for some companies to adopt is the hybrid workplace.
What is a hybrid workplace, and what is the role of various human resource departments in adopting a hybrid workplace?
The human resource department is equipped with the HR technology needed to thrive in an everyday office setting, but it is also adapted to the 2020 workplace.
The CEO of Eden Workplace in New York, Joe Du Bey, has posited that although not as much spending during the outset of the pandemic, companies will continue to invest in remote-enabling tools as 2022 goes on.
All the logistics of knowing what your deskless workers need, finding solutions to slowing employee shortages, managing Covid-19 and its different variants in the workplace — all of which will be handled by the human resource department.
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Human Resources will be more important than it already is
Concerning the role of HR tech in mapping out a plan as companies transition to a hybrid workplace, it is safe to assume that HRs are now given a more elevated role in every company. With the spotlight aimed at every human resource department, there is also an increase in their expectations and responsibilities.
Aside from the number one role of figuring out the hiring and managing process during the pandemic, many organizations are now plagued with more essential topics. Like, employee well-being and mental health, the role of each employer in managing a diverse work culture that fosters inclusion and sustainability for the company to thrive with the changing times.
A study by the Boston Consulting Group perfectly hypothesized this role by calling the human resource as the wheel or the motor to change the company or the organization to serve their employees better.
HR executives and employees are now on the cusp of mapping out a more inclusive, healthier and less toxic, fairer and more successful, and emphatic workplace. Whatever these workplaces will look like in three, five, or ten years’ time.
Human Resources will adopt in-depth people analytics
People analytics is HR technology as it finest by enrolling and collecting data for the improvement of talent and other business results. People analytics help HR executives and personals develop practical and data-driven solutions to guide in different HR decisions from talent acquisitions to improving workforce processes and experience. Not only will people analytics guide HR in various problems intracompany, but it will also improve business overall.
Studies have shown that HR and companies who adopt business and people analytics in their decision-making process have data-driven HR, which will pose solutions that are beneficial for the business. Data from people analytics are also crucial in HR strategies.
Data analytics will have a more significant role in the coming years, especially now that companies are expected to bounce back and hire more in 2022. Trends in the workplace such as the needed increase in diversity and increase in employee satisfaction, and others will also need data analytics.
More on the skill-based recruiting trajectory
2022 will dump the archaic talent management and shift to a more skills-based focus acquisition, as reported by Deloitte. Talent management is based on the view that posits that the workforce is interchangeable and should be managed time by time, hour by hour, in order to meet the business goal and not a whole entity and asset to cultivate.
On the other hand, skills-based redefined how the workforce should be treated: with a focus more on skills than the jobs, tech-enabled, and rooted on democracy to work with more flexibility, choice, and opportunity. Focusing on skills will attract innovative, analytical networkers and other enthusiasts, benefiting both the work culture and the business.
Expect to see a surge in recruiting and filling vacant positions based on skills-based assets.
More emphasis on employee overall well-being
One of the silver linings COVID-19 brought to the workplace is the increased attention and spotlight on the employee experience, not just in general but also by the heads of the companies. An increase in even more amplifying this voice is also foreseen in the coming years beyond 2022. This change is seen through listening programs and initiatives to look into employees’ well-being, and it led to a considerable increase in productivity and collaboration.
Through such employee talks, HR could also open and advance bias talks to recognize and correct. HR could also develop each employee’s leadership potential this way. Most importantly, HR leaders could improve and elevate each of the company’s employee’s mental health, especially in times of Covid-19 fatigue.
The 2021 Future of the Industry Report states that 87% of employees want their boss to care about their mental state, and 80% of the company worker will choose to stay in work that provides them with access to high-quality and adequate mental health resources and services.
A company with a focus on the well-being of their employees is not only a productive one but one that nurtures a culture of happier, healthier both physiologically and psychologically healthy work environment—a must on younger generations’ requirements when accepting a job offer.
Rehashing of employee’s perks and benefits
The pandemic had exposed that perks such as nap pods, free fitness classes, free burgers, and the like were proven to be useless when Covid-19 happened.
A study by Perkbox conducted among 1,532 English employees yielded the most exciting and interesting list of perks and benefits, and curiously none of their choices have links to working and being inside the office. To add, on that survey, only 4% of the employees are satisfied that the right perks are given to them at present.
A prevailing theme in this study and survey is work and life balance—a factor for most multigenerational workplaces. Perks also come in recognition for an excellent job and hard work from their heads and managers, especially for the younger employees. Praises like being valued as a member of the team and respecting that they have a life outside of their work are essential to their satisfaction.
Aside from benefits that would enhance work and life balance, benefits concerning services for mental health are also being given priority. In the same Future of the Industry Report, 74% prefer mental health benefits over other employer and company-funded perks.
Embracing more culture in the workplace
Embracing a diverse and inclusive work environment should not just be a to-do amongst companies and businesses but should be a must-do that human resource heads and available HR technology should tackle.
According to a people analytics study of what matters in an industry that adds monetary value, inclusion and diversity are the answer. Because of the prevailing social change happening outside the workplace, it is now the time to put this issue at the front line of the workplace. HR technology and strategies are significant catalysts to meet this change.
Inside the workplace, many factors pushed the issue of diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace. First is the readily available studies on business value in regards to embracing a more inclusive workforce. An example of this is the Women in the Workplace by McKinsey & Company conducted by the organization annually.
The second factor is the reckoning of the racial inequality crisis with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has encouraged and inspired organizations and companies to confront biases in their midst and businesses. The third factor is the increased amplification and giving interest in the voices of the company’s employees.
Last but not least is the boosted use in the HR tech of people analytics that exposes data on the drive to take action on countless diversity, equality, and inclusions issues in the company including but not limited to pay equity and biases.
Ethics in all work aspect is given prominence
Since the business of people analytics has been proven effective, not just countering different industry problems but also recognizing the importance of employee’s voice in voicing out diversity and inclusivity issues, a foreseeable trend is expanding the people analytics to tackle problems in both in ethics and privacy but also ensuring the ethical use of data derived from people analytics.
One step a company can take is developing an ethical charter to ensure transparency and ethical use of employee data.
Transparency about ethical issues in your company will more than likely gain your employee’s trust in the long run. It is a symbiotic relationship since earning your employee’s trust can give you data for people analytics and thus help your business or corporation in various gains and other company issues.
Accenture’s practice of transparency is a prime example, with the company increasing revenue growth by 6% because of the trust dividend brought about by their transparency regulations.
With the studies in ethical practices benefitting companies in the long run, it is safe to say that a safer and more ethical approach in governing people’s data beyond industries is possible and would create a better world overall.
Expansion of Human Resource role to include sustainability
2021 sees the tide change with the employees now being considered as the most important stakeholder to a company’s longevity and success. This fact is featured by the attribute that when employees feel that their and the company’s vision and value align, employees tend to be more productive and healthier overall. The HR technology and resource come in by turning this rhetoric into actual action.
Let’s take climate action and strategy. For example, the human resource department plays a significant role in ensuring that the company or the business can meet and keep its sustainability goals. Issues on sustainability are fast becoming a priority in everyone’s mind, including the employees.
Today, just 50% of the companies have sustainability strategies on their agenda. In comparison, 92% of them believe that clear and concise sustainability and climate strategy is an essential thing to embed in their employee value proposition.
While this prediction and goal is probably the one that would need time to play out, many companies will move to employing and adopting a plan both to satisfy their stakeholders and also from governmental pressure.
More business in Human Resource technology
As the workplace progresses out of the office, human resources will likely need more people and HR technology under their umbrella to embrace and manage the ever-expanding workplace.
There is considerable growth in the HR technology and work market that 2022 is expected to top the $15 billion earned in 2021. With all this growth happening in less than a year (300% increase since 2020), expect it to boom further with more investments in the work market, especially as we learn to manage the different Covid-19 variants, overcome them, and slowly open up.
Further growth is expected in the work market, particularly in four sub-categories of work technology, including external labor market data and analytics like HR Forecast and Claro, talent marketplaces like Gloat and Degreed, skills and workforce planning such as the firm TechWolf, and organizational network analysis by firms like Cognitive Talent Solutions.
More investment and advancement in Human Resource technology
HR technology has come a long way from the pandemic to now as we enter 2022. Although there is considerable advancement, expect more companies undergoing automated transformation by adopting a number of Artificial Intelligence. Adopting AI technology in your current HR tech will not only prove to be effective, but it will also give you accuracy and security improvements.
Aside from people analytics, artificial intelligence can help HR make better-informed decisions. Better HR tech will also mean that automation will make work for them easier to give them time to focus on more creative goals and solutions to many aspects of their jobs, including acquisitions of talents to promoting and even upgrading perks and benefits.
Artificial intelligence in HR departments will also help them implement a chatbot system to answer each employees’ questions even out of the company and out of office hours. Questions about benefits, or payrolls, and many more, which are pretty straightforward, can be accessible to them 24/7.
More complex challenges with regards to compliance
The workplace has come to be anywhere from the mountains to other cities and even in other countries for some. The human resource department has had to face many challenges and curveballs because of various compliance issues brought about by this time. Because of the changing rules, procedures, and fast-changing work environment, expect a lot more compliance challenges this coming year for the HR offices.
The hybrid and work-from-home setup will present a lot of immigration and taxing challenges by hiring out of the company’s work city and even hiring talented persons out of the country. There is also the newer Covid-19 vaccine and testing mandate— which is essential in protecting everyone in your company or business, especially if you are a company of more than a hundred persons.
There is also the role of various HR offices in safeguarding everyone from cybersecurity. This future task will be done in collaboration with the IT department and is vital in the daily function of the company digitally, especially as the Covid-19 and its variants and ensuring the safety of your employees are of utmost importance. Cybersecurity can be introduced to new employees initially on the orientation.
To adapt to the ever-unpredictable and changing work environment affected by many factors, human resources need to change with the tide by being more data-driven and technologically open, more inclusive and adopting policies that will be sustainable for the society and the company at large. If problems were met in 2021, there is always room for improvement in all human resource factions come the New Year.
HRs has learned to adapt in two months during the total lockdown. What more can a whole year bring to the success and prosperity of your office?
Do you think I forgot other HR trends to watch out for in 2022? Please share it in the comments. Finally, spread the word and share this article with fellow HR professionals today!