Predictions for 2022 | What might a new year hold for HR leaders?

What might a new year hold for HR leaders?

After the last 18 months, many HR and business leaders are looking ahead to 2022 with optimism. As the country returns to the office and employees gather around the watercooler once again, HR leaders are preparing for the New Year in this ever-changing world of work.

In this article, we hear from 4 HR and business leaders about what the future holds for the profession as they share what they believe the key HR and people trends for 2022 are going to be and how they are preparing for them.

The working world is no longer the same as it was 10 or even 5 years ago. As the pandemic ushered in new ways of working and forced many businesses to transition to remote work overnight; entire perceptions of the world of work changed dramatically.

Whether by default or design, flexible working was not as commonplace in a pre-COVID world as it will be into 2022 and adapting to this new normal can take time. The surge in flexible working has led many organisations to reconsider their flexible working policies entirely.

The likes of Shopify, Salesforce and Slack have all implemented policies that will see remote working become the norm with employees transitioning to 100% remote work.

The future will be more people-centric than ever before

As global businesses continue to release very public statements about their remote working policies, the overarching theme that has emerged from the global pandemic is that work is becoming more human and the future of work will be increasingly people-centric.

Emily Mei Carter, Organisational Identity and Future of Work Strategist at Ecosphere Consulting explains how the future of work will change significantly in 2022 and beyond: “The questions that HR and leadership teams need to be asking are now longer term: what will this business look like in 5-10 years’ time, and what kind of talent pipeline do we need to build in order to achieve that?

Talent attraction teams working to build the teams that will support this rapid period of evolution within their organisation need to work with leadership to define a set of questions to potential candidates that are both values driven and logistical, as well as assessing for skill and experience.

“What will our future office space look like, which teams should be hybrid, how many hours a week, month, or quarter will a certain % of staff be in the office for critical collaboration and meetings and for how long?”

Reconsidering the role of the office

A staggering 97% of employees don’t want to return to the office full-time and, with so many businesses now considering smaller spaces or flexible, shared office space – many leaders are now looking to invest in tools and technology that facilitate remote work.

“The pandemic and swathe of lockdowns has forced us to engage and connect differently in our personal and professional lives and has shown businesses that a purely office-based work force is something of the past, and not indicative of greater productivity,” says Simen Teigre, CEO and Founder of Neat.

“The office of the future will be more of a place of collaboration than it was in the past. Gone are the days of sitting at your desk all day – moving forward, if you’re in the office, it will be to engage and collaborate with peers. As a result, businesses will put a greater focus on creating more meeting and huddle rooms to foster discussion and innovation.”

Up and re-skilling employees with transferable skills

Meanwhile, entire industries are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. The hospitality industry has record numbers of open vacancies, logistics firms are struggling to find HGV drivers and the care sector is facing a very real recruitment crisis with more jobs going unfilled than even before the pandemic.

As staff shortages in some industries continue to ravage hiring team’s plans, many employers are looking internally and investing in the talent they already have.

The emergence of an ‘internal talent marketplace’ encourages the development of existing talent to bridge a skills gap. If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is the need for resilience, agility and flexibility.

The team at TutorPro, a cloud-based LMS provider, believe that reskilling employees will be key in order for businesses to weather the current talent shortage. Their Business Development Manager, Nikki Pope explains: “With the current employee shortages, applicants with transferable skills will need to be trained differently. For instance, someone who perhaps worked at a hotel’s front desk may be able to be trained in an administrative role for a law firm. The hospitality industry was hit hard from the pandemic and some of those individuals could be trained/reskilled in other fields and HR could play a big part in that.”

Increased focus on personalised perks

The soaring number of open vacancies and companies struggling to fill vacancies will be faced with the prospect of candidates taking the driving seat and being able to command more than just the best salary they can get.

Amy Spurling is CEO and Founder of Compt, a provider of employee perks & reward software. She shares how crucial employee benefits and perks will become:

“There are a lot of jobs available right now - we keep hearing that businesses have plenty of openings and are struggling to fill positions. For job seekers, there is a big opportunity to pick and choose; they can take the time they need to find a company that has a culture and work environment that’s a great fit. After all, there’s no rush - there are plenty of jobs.

“It used to be that interviews were pretty one-sided. The company would grill you to decide if you were a fit for them. A lot of that has reversed and employees are now the ones interviewing companies. Employers will have to find new ways to stand out and go beyond offering a “great company culture” and “excellent work-life balance,” especially because that’s what everyone is offering nowadays.

“People are looking to work for a company that actually cares about them and fulfils their needs. Gone are the days of the Friday office pizza party. People want to be able to choose what works best for them, whether that be a gym membership, a day-care stipend, money toward a meditation app, support for continuing education, etc.”

What does the future of HR look like to you?

To share your views on what the future of HR looks like in your business, complete our 5-minute survey for the chance to win a 2-day all-access pass to next year’s CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition.

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