Not all about the past few years have been bleak, gloomy, and full of despair. They also offered hope and underscored one inescapable fact – humankind’s ability to adapt. Adaptation could not be more pronounced in the human resource sector, prompting many HR experts to look to a more promising 2022.
From hybrid work models to women in workplaces, HR tech growth, and more, the following HR trends to watch out for in 2022 can get HR professionals all pumped up for a more hopeful future.
Increased Need to Attract and Retain Talent: Addressing the Great Resignation
Although recruitment and hiring have always been a principal HR function, 2022 will challenge HR professionals to attract and retain highly productive and talented employees more effectively.
In July 2021, Gallup released its survey results about the great resignation – the massive exodus of workers from their workplaces to look for better employment opportunities. In March 2021, 74% of US talent was actively disengaged from their work, while another 55% were not engaged. Six months prior to the survey, only 69% and 51% were actively disengaged and not engaged.
The survey underscored workplace issues as the principal reason for employee resignations and not pay, role, or industry concerns. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 also highlighted only 20% to 34% of US and Canadian workers are actively engaged. What is more troubling is the cost of employee disengagement.
Gallup says companies lose about $9,000 per year per disengaged employee. On the other hand, replacing the disengaged employee can cost businesses $25,000 to $100,000 annually. That is why HR professionals must rethink their employee hiring and retention strategies to include more effective people management skills that enhance engagement.
A World Economic Forum article presenting a McKinsey report shows that workers expect at least four things post-COVID. They want enhanced work-life balance, greater flexibility, stronger and more understandable policies, and increased mental health focus and support.
Integrating HR technology solutions can solve many of these post-pandemic work expectations. Human resource digital transformation can eliminate unnecessary processes, saving HR departments critical resources and time.
Arresting the Great Resignation of 2020-2021 requires improving employee communication channels in 2022. Workers need a communications platform that empowers them to stay connected to everyone else in the organization.
2022 also sees organizations prioritizing internal alignments between business leaders, corporate vision and mission, and essential employees. It would be best for companies to clarify and strengthen their strategic objectives, allowing employees to see a clearer picture in 2022 and beyond.
Companies must also reexamine working conditions, ensuring more conducive work environments, minimizing work shifts, and guaranteeing access to employee wellbeing and mental health resources.
Human resource professionals must navigate the Great Resignation and Disengagement from 2022 moving forward. It is time for HR practitioners, managers, and business leaders to listen to their employees. They must identify and act on employee pain points, essential needs, and top motivators to arrest the exodus of workers to more conducive work environments.
HR Leaders Prioritize Flexible Development Opportunities, Including Upskilling and Reskilling
In 2020, the World Economic Forum said that 42% of core skills would change by 2022. The organization also underscored the need to reskill at least a billion employees by 2030 because of the technological transformations shaping ordinary jobs. Economic leaders also highlight the increased demand for specialized interpersonal skills, such as human resources, education, sales, and care.
Employees do not mind improving their skills or learning new ones. A Gartner study reveals that HR leaders will prioritize the building of employee competencies and critical skills in 2022. The organization also highlighted the growing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion activities, leadership, and change management.
Hence, creating and implementing flexible learning and development opportunities are the top trends for HR professionals and leaders this 2022.
Human resource leaders need to rethink their HR strategies to create high-value employee development programs. These initiatives must inspire workers to continue working effectively and productively with their organizations. The HR programs of 2022 must give employees opportunities for acquiring new skills instrumental in advancing their careers. Such prospects also enable employees to move into more satisfying roles.
Advanced HR tech solutions can make it more convenient for employees to obtain on-demand competency development training. Workers can reinforce their skills and develop new ones wherever they are and whenever they want. Learning and development flexibility will determine the success of HR initiatives and employee engagement moving forward from 2022.
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Hybrid Work Arrangements will Continue to Grow
Some people think the hybrid work model is an offshoot of the pandemic. However, experts say many companies already observe remote work arrangements before 2020.
A 2020 Statista report says 17% of employees worked remotely five days a week before global economies began shutting their doors to international travel. Seven percent worked remotely three to four days a week and 18% worked away from the office at least once a week.
A year after COVID19 disrupted human life, the percentage of remote workers performing their job responsibilities five days a week jumped to 44%. More astonishingly, only 34% of workers remain in traditional in-office arrangements, a 13 percentage point reduction from 2019.
Accenture’s 2021 Future of Work Study also reports that 83% of employees prefer a hybrid work arrangement while 63% of successful companies already observe a ‘productivity anywhere’ approach.
A third of business organizations also consider offering full flexibility, empowering their employees to choose where they want to work. Interestingly, high-growth businesses embrace hybrid work arrangements more readily than low-growth companies (41% vs. 30%).
The hybrid work model – a combination of remote and in-office work arrangements – benefits both employees and employers.
Eighty-three percent of employers found success shifting to remote work by promoting better work relationships and collaboration, increasing productivity, and more judicious use of company resources. On the other hand, hybrid work gives employees sufficient flexibility, increases work-life balance, and ensures sounder mental health.
Although the hybrid work model offers a win-win solution for employers and employees, it presents several challenges to HR professionals. This work arrangement might impact career visibility, making it difficult for new hires to progress in their careers. Hybrid work might also make equality impossible to achieve, challenging HR professionals to strive for equity instead.
Companies with hybrid work arrangements tend to silo information instead of improving knowledge flow. This phenomenon impacts employee innovation and productivity by limiting workers’ access to new and updated information.
Human resource leaders also contend with weakened social relationships. Investing in HR technology solutions to create virtual social gatherings is a must. It would also be best for HR professionals to think of more innovative ways to build and strengthen relationships amidst the growing clamor for remote work.
From 2022 and onwards, HR professionals must create ways to address the different challenges hybrid work brings. It is one of the defining HR trends professionals can expect this year and beyond.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in HR Processes
Human resource professionals no longer adhere exclusively to traditional hiring and recruitment methods to land the best-fitting candidates for their respective organizations. Many recruiters, employers, and HR leaders now use artificial intelligence to choose and hire exceptional talents.
Forrester analysts predict a huge year for AI this 2022. The organization reports that 20% of organizations will embed AI in their systems architecture, operations, and processes to bridge the gap between businesses and customers.
The organization also expects modern AI to be more responsible, ensuring transparency and fairness in an organization’s operations. Forrester also predicts more creative AI solutions, allowing digital systems to produce innovations only the human mind can do.
For HR professionals, AI promises more streamlined recruitment and hiring of new talent. It analyzes large data sets from different sources, including resumes, social media, job boards, and candidate databases. The analysis allows HR professionals to obtain a shortlist of candidates that meet required skill sets and other parameters.
Studies show that only a quarter of resumes land on the desks of HR professionals, underscoring the stiff competition among candidates. Unfortunately, employers risk not getting the best candidates for the job because of the sheer volume of applications.
HR tech solutions with advanced AI capabilities allow HR professionals to engage with highly qualified candidates. The system uses cognitive services and natural languages processing to interact with shortlisted candidates, forming questions that further evaluate candidates. These technologies engage candidates, whether they land the job or not, ensuring the company has a stable pool of qualified candidates for its future needs.
AI solutions can also crosscheck references and background details with greater efficiency. Traditionally, HR professionals spend about one to two hours reaching out to references per candidate. Employers with hundreds of applicants spend countless hours performing background checks. Artificial intelligence takes this burden off of HR shoulders.
Access to essential employment information is also more straightforward with AI technologies. Human resource personal can process employee leave requests, professional development requirements, and other functions that motivate workers to do their best. Improving data access and management also narrows the gap between leaders and employees.
AI-embedded tools can also empower companies to analyze employee activity patterns that suggest an intention to leave. AI tools-derived knowledge allows HR professionals to improve employee retention programs. Artificial intelligence also helps create machine learning activities and digital training opportunities, which employees appreciate.
HR experts can only expect AI technologies to be more robust from 2022 and beyond.
Leaps in HR Automation
Although automation is pervasive in the industrial sector, many companies still lack these HR technology solutions in their organizations.
According to Software Suggest, only 45% of companies have early-stage basic automation. Among businesses with existing HR automation, their technologies are more than seven years old. Unfortunately, seven years can make such systems obsolete unless the company takes concrete measures to upgrade or update its automation infrastructure.
One must recognize that automation is different from artificial intelligence, although it is not uncommon for people to use the terms interchangeably. AI digitizes and simplifies non-repetitive processes to improve accuracy and validity. On the other hand, automation focuses more on time-consuming, repetitive tasks.
Human resource management has many repetitive tasks that can take precious time to accomplish. It prevents HR professionals from engaging effectively with employees and new hires and performing other functions that require a personal approach. Human resource automation increases HR professionals’ effectiveness in managing people.
Most people have negative views about automation in the workplace. Many believe automating repetitive tasks can translate to job losses across the board. However, a Deloitte study revealed that automation and other similar technologies created 3.5 million new work opportunities in the UK while eliminating about 800,000 low-skilled jobs.
Although some people lost their jobs because of automation, more people benefited. This information underscores the importance of automation in HR processes. It allows HR professionals to do away with mundane tasks and focus on activities that bring value to employees, the organization, and candidates.
Many modern companies automate employee onboarding processes, shift scheduling, leave requests, performance management, payroll, employee benefits, tax filing, expense claims, and exit interviews. These activities demand time and resources, which the company can simplify by using HR tech automation solutions.
The HR automation technologies of 2022 provide actionable insights, such as visual-rich dashboards and reports, to make decision-making more straightforward. They also come with omnichannel access, empowering users to access information anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Modern HR automation allows quick integration, robust risk mitigation, improved dynamic workflow, and fully automated alerts.
Increased Use of People Analytics
People analytics is not a novel concept. Human resource practitioners use talent data to improve business outcomes and critical talent results. However, 2022 promises to be a year that redefines talent intelligence as a crucial tool for harnessing people data and insights to improve and reinvent every step in a company’s recruitment process.
A LinkedIn report about the rise of people analytics in HR says that 69% of large business organizations (at least 10,000 employees) have a dedicated people analytics team. Unfortunately, the adoption rate is slower than expected, at only 19%. Moreover, only 12% of companies have dedicated HR and people analytics roles.
The still-ongoing pandemic is stirring companies to adopt people analytics to ensure organizational survival amid a competitive marketplace. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says that many businesses now recognize the need for people analytics to provide HR departments with workforce insights, an overview of HR policies and practices, and concrete evidence for effective decision-making.
A Sage research showed that 62% of HR executives admit not using people analytics as efficiently as they should. They fail to use these HR technology tools to spot trends and make crucial business decisions based on actionable insights.
Some people might consider the report disheartening. However, it is worth underscoring companies’ increasing realization and awareness of people analytics. People analytics empower businesses to understand different HR aspects, such as employee turnover rationale, new hires expenditures, and absenteeism trends. It also improves a company’s appreciation of its diversity initiatives.
Although organizations will have different people analytics models, 2022 will be a more productive year when more businesses incorporate HR analytics in their operations. After all, companies want to boost efficiencies in all processes.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Remain Front and Center of Organizations
Some companies started elevating workplace diversity in 2021 as part of their efforts to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Human resource leaders expect the trend to continue in 2022 and beyond because of its importance in attracting and retaining highly productive people. Contemporary businesses make DEI an essential piece to a wholesome and engaging employee experience.
According to a 2021 Josh Bersin report, only one out of five companies are serious about integrating DEI concepts and principles in their workforce. The remaining 80% remain unaccountable, often content on bannering their DEI initiatives without a concrete implementation.
The report also showed that more than three-quarters of businesses do not have inclusion or diversity goals. Another 75% of companies also do not include DEI in their learning and development programs and leadership development initiatives. Two out of five organizations look at diversity as a tool to mitigate reputational, compliance, and legal risks.
Just Capital says that 94% of employers commit to advancing workplace DEI. Unfortunately, accountability and action remain ideals awaiting fruition.
The International Labor Organization says that companies with inclusive policies and business cultures are 59% more innovative and 37% more responsive to consumer demand and interest. DEI policies also improve employee satisfaction, reduce workforce conflicts, and enhance social relationships.
These benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion underscore the growing need for companies to start integrating DEI principles in their theoretical foundations in 2022.
Organizations can use digital transformation as an essential tool for bringing DEI strategies to life. Mobile technology allows employees to share their stories, enabling them to feel engaged, heard, and empowered.
Although workplace inclusion and diversity have been around for decades, the events of the 21st century’s second decade only put the philosophy front and center of modern businesses. The challenge for HR professionals is to create and advance DEI policies in their respective organizations.
There are other HR trends to watch out for in 2022, although not as immense as the ones shared in the preceding sections. Digital transformation and advances in information and communications technologies will play a pivotal role in how these trends will shape the future workplace and HR functions.