With 2022 already upon us, we have to start looking ahead to upcoming trends in our respective industries and developing plans to adapt. Human resources (HR) professionals, in particular, have a lot to prepare for. Here are the top HR trends to watch out for in 2022.
Hybrid Work Schedules
Many companies had to send their employees home to work when the pandemic erupted in 2020. Since then, a majority of them have adopted a permanent hybrid approach for organizing work schedules. This change mainly applies to white-collar workers who do their jobs on a computer.
A hybrid schedule gives more autonomy to both employers and employees. The employer can reduce the number of in-house workers on a given day, thus reducing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak and saving on resources in the long run. Employees can avoid missing time and work remotely if they test positive and have to self-isolate. Alternatively, they can choose to work remotely if it allows them to give more attention to their responsibilities at home.
Prioritization of the Employee Experience
A hybrid work schedule is one part of a greater whole in the next HR trend: prioritizing the employee experience (EX). This is a newly coined term in the HR community that you can expect to hear more often in 2022. With a labor shortage underway, the working class has all the leverage in negotiating pay, hours, benefits, and other factors contributing to EX.
Companies have to do everything they can to improve EX and keep their workers happy. Satisfied employees perform better at their jobs, leading to higher productivity, more profits, and greater customer satisfaction. Businesses can achieve better EX by fostering a supportive work environment and encouraging employees to speak up about their physical and mental well-being.
Emphasis on Employee Skill Development
The aforementioned worker shortage has also created a demand for employees with more well-rounded skillsets to make up for the lost labor. Rather than looking for outside talent, companies are putting more resources into their training programs to develop better employees from within.
This investment is significant for remote workers since they can’t experience the same hands-on training they’d typically receive. By putting more time and energy into developing their current employees, companies build solid connections and create a more positive work atmosphere for workers of all schedules. However, with a more lucrative training program, you need a more advanced system in place.
Advanced HR Technology
For businesses to develop and retain their talent, they need to adopt advanced HR technology from a well-established software provider. HR management software can monitor employee performance, adjust workflows when necessary, and keep an inventory of skill development progress, allowing supervisors to track the advancement of their trainees quantifiably.
Other HR technology can perform even more day-to-day tasks. Some utilize artificial intelligence to streamline the recruitment process, and others optimize their companies’ remote work environments by monitoring employee productivity, organizing schedules, and processing requests.
Internal Mobility Programs
Sticking with the theme of employee retention, another HR trend to look out for in 2022 is the growing popularity of in-house mobility. One of the top obstacles workers initially faced when switching to a remote/hybrid schedule was the inability to advance in the company. Businesses have begun to address that problem with internal mobility programs.
Supporting the advancement of low-level employees creates better leaders, a more tight-knit group of employees, and a more consistent culture. Most importantly, it allows workers to achieve their long-term career goals without jumping ship. They can advance within the same company and teach the skills and values that got them there.
Greater Reliance on Analytics
An internal mobility program is one of many analytics-based changes companies can make in 2022 to improve EX. They also use analytics to make informed decisions about recruitment, employee retention, boosting engagement, and managing costs.
The development of HR technology has made it possible for companies to monitor and adjust the efficiency of day-to-day business practices in real-time, such as project updates, schedule changes, meeting requests, and many others. The software puts these tasks into raw numbers, allowing HR departments to make decisions based on data rather than intuition.
The growing popularity of remote work and HR technology has also given rise to the need for heightened cybersecurity to protect the private information of companies and their employees. Cloud-based software helps keep data secure, but it doesn’t protect from cyberattacks. Companies should also implement blockchain technology and use basic tactics like multi-factor authentication and complex passwords to secure data.
Businesses should also encourage their remote employees to perform checks on their network security and internet speeds, plus install antivirus software and a virtual private network (VPN) as another line of defense.
HR Is Still a Human Business
There’s a lot for HR professionals to unpack and understand as they enter 2022, from varying work schedules to advancements in technology to new training processes. However, these trends revolve around the same concept that HR professionals have prioritized since the beginning: keeping employees satisfied. Human resources is still a job performed by humans, for humans.
Richard Robbins says
I love how all of these trends are #1, so there is a 7-way tie for first place.
One of the big challenges I see with the new hybrid and work-from-home environments is keeping employees focused, engaged, and productive. Companies that have clear goals and expectations for productivity that can be regularly reported on seem to do better than those where it’s harder to know who, while working from home outside of the management by walking around paradigm, is not getting done what they normally would in a 9-5 office environment.