Disruptive changes that the world has been facing for the last 2 years have shaken organizations on many levels. And while many have only temporarily reconsidered how to adapt to the new situation, the times have shown that some of the instant solutions that companies have resorted to in crises are here to stay. Whether we like it or not, some HR practices will be changed in the long run and you should be prepared.
It‘s time to rethink the existing models and find the best way to meet the challenges that HR is facing as an important strategic department within an organization. Let’s take a look at the top 5 trends human resources leaders should pay attention to in 2022:
Flexibility - How Flex Can You Go
As time marches on, it is clear that the pandemic has created a lasting impact on the way companies across industries define flexibility. It once meant being able to choose where to work, but new circumstances have encouraged employees to think about more flexible work options and to choose what works best for them. And while employees can think about when, where and how to work, companies had no choice but to accept the shift. However, employers still need to figure out how flexible they should be and where to draw the line in the sand.
Recent Deloitte survey results demonstrated that today’s workforce values and prioritizes the use of flexible work options. According to their survey on workplace flexibility, 94 percent of respondents say that they would benefit from work flexibility, with the top benefits being improved mental health (43%) and better work-life balance (38%). Nearly 30% said that the potential consequences related to their professional growth and lack of trust from leadership would prevent them choosing the flexible options.
While some leaders are sceptical and concentred about how productive their employees will be if they (literally) don‘t have their eyes on them, the truth is that more time spent at the office doesn‘t necessarily mean better results. The Deloitte survey shows that 29% of respondents said that remote work and flexible working hours would increase their overall productivity or efficiency. Moreover, 33% said that it would increase their job satisfaction and morale.
Data-Driven Decisions - Going Beyond Gut Feeling
Human resources departments have a large amount of information and if it is collected and processed adequately, they can be a powerful tool in achieving goals and improving the work of the organization. The recent KPMG report The Future of HR 2020 shows that 56% of HR organizations identify enhancing analytics capabilities as among the top three reasons for investment in HR technology. The same report notes that 45% of HR organizations are investing in data modellers/scientists.
On the other hand, Heuvel and Bondarouk believe that data analysis in HR is just at the beginning of the road. Their findings suggest that, by 2025, HR analytics will have become an established discipline with a proven impact on business outcomes and a strong influence on operational and strategic decision-making. Time will tell whether the report’s forecasts will be realized; meanwhile, it is certainly difficult to ignore the potential benefits that a data analysis offers. Companies that have already implemented workforce analytics to some extent have realized that data with HR strategy and goals brings unquestionable potential to company growth; it can help HR teams in finding and onboarding talent, evaluating performance, reskilling employees and reducing costs.
Instead of relying solely on past practices or gut feelings, be prepared to deep-dive into valuable data insight and make better decisions.
Some Benefits Are Outdated - Perk Up
Some things that employees would have considered important in the prepandemic era could sound irrelevant now. Figuratively speaking, we can all agree that the classic benefit ‚an unlimited amount of coffee‘ now sounds pretty outdated and not so beneficial – unless the coffee is delivered to your home address as part of a wellbeing package. Now, employees place a higher value on benefits that address the challenges the pandemic put the spotlight on, especially those centred around care, flexibility and mental health.
The recent Care report on the future of benefits shows that 89% of human resource leaders and decision-makers say that as a result of the pandemic, they are deprioritizing at least one type of benefit. Most frequently, these are paid vacation days, commuter benefits, tuition reimbursement or on-site meals. On the other hand, 98% of respondents plan to newly offer or expand at least one benefit and invest more heavily in the benefits that their employees truly want and consider most essential.
The report results suggest that the new prioritization of benefits requires companies to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their employees, not just as workers, but as human beings striking a balance between private and professional life, while juggling different kinds of tasks and priorities.
A Redesigned Employee Experience - Meeting Diverse Expectations
Organizations have increased investments to improve employee experience, but only some (fully) succeed in meeting employee expectations. According to the Gartner Survey, only 13% of employees are fully satisfied with their experience and 46% are not finding their expectations met. The pandemic crisis further challenged leaders to build an employee experience roadmap that would respond to the different needs of the (mostly) remote workforce.
According to McKinsey‘s research, organizational responses during the pandemic crisis are having a tangible impact on employees. 78% of employees indicate that their organization has responded to the crisis appropriately, 80% indicate that the leadership has acted proactively to protect their health and safety and 77% indicate that they have the necessary information to plan and adjust. Compared with those respondents who are dissatisfied with their organizations’ responses, those who say their organizations have responded well are four times more likely to be engaged.
Employees have been facing various challenges and needs, so instead of creating a unified approach to employee experience at a unique workplace/office, leaders must bear in mind that their employees are now actually working in a diverse range of workplaces and strive to support individual needs.
Reskilling & Upskilling Workforce
Adapt or die never sounded less shabby! The rapid abandonment of old and proven patterns led to a completely new way of working, new roles in the organization, and new activities. These changes are not just about remote work, they are about introducing new technologies and emerging need to reskill and upskill the workforce with the help of innovative tools so that they will be able to respond to the business challenges dictated by the post-pandemic era.
Under new circumstances, the way of work has been remapped and leaders will have to come up with new workforce strategies in order to ensure business growth. A 2021 McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling suggests that the need to address skill gaps is more urgent than ever. More precisely, 58% of respondents say that closing workforce skill gaps has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. Research identifies 5 key steps that an organization can take to overcome the gaps: hiring, contracting, redeploying, releasing and building skills within the current workforce. The survey results show that most respondents (69%) chose to close skill gaps over other actions – to increase their effort in skill-building compared to before the pandemic.
Reskilling and upskilling the workforce involves tailoring a talent strategy to support employee development and giving them the right tools, support and education programs to close learning gaps and overcome new patterns of work. And last but not least, making sure that employees recognize and embrace these changes as an opportunity for professional growth, instead of feeling threatened by the new way of work.
To find out more information, download the full report The Top Emerging Trends that will Shape the Future of HR.
The Top Emerging Trends that will Shape the Future of HR
Read the comprehensive report on game-changing human resources trends for 2022 and build a future-proof HR strategy.