The last decade, in particular the last two years, has signalled an avalanche of change in the HR industry. Including the rise of social media, emphasis on feedback to inform workplace strategies and an increased push towards greater cultural diversity and inclusion. Most recently, the global pandemic has altered and redefined where and how we work. As HR professionals battle to keep up with the ever-evolving industry, they now have additional challenges of quickly developing a vaccine and Covid-19 policy. After all these changes and upcoming HR trends, what is in store for the HR industry? In this article, we guide you through which HR trends will continue into 2022 and inform the future of work.
What are HR Trends?
The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly reshaped the world as we know it. All industries have felt the effects and transformed significantly, including the HR industry in Australia. We observed particular HR megatrends before the pandemic, and these have only been amplified during the previous two years. As the world changes, the HR industry also needs to adapt to new HR trends and opportunities. Many companies and industries exhibited resilience and were able to transition to a remote workforce. From the initial slow shift towards WFH flexibility to suddenly being thrust into a fully remote work setting, the numerous lockdowns, and the Great Reopening, which was quickly followed by the great resignation and tremendous talent shortages, the disruption to the HR industry has been continuous. HR professionals must stay ahead of the latest HR trends and understand how to leverage them in 2022 and beyond.
What are the Top 10 HR Trends for 2022?
- The Hybrid Workplace and WFH Flexibility
One of the 7 functions of HR is compensation and benefits. Company benefits are a great way to attract, retain, and reward employees. We expect to see more businesses than ever adopt the hybrid workplace and flexibility to work from home. With 40% of Australian workers stating they would prefer to work at home full time, this HR trend will be present from recruitment through to retention of employees. Not only will businesses let employees decide where to work, they will also allow them to choose when. Flexibility, work schedule control, and work-life balance are among the top benefits of the hybrid workplace model. Although some businesses are already trialling a four day work week, don't expect this to become an HR trend in the immediate future!
- Creating a Digital First Workplace Culture
Before 2018 many businesses resisted or flat out refused to let employees work from home. Due to the pandemic, many organisations had to pivot regarding their WFH rules and shift quickly to fully remote work. As workplaces transition to hybrid or fully remote working, this presents numerous new challenges for HR professionals, including creating a strong workplace culture in a digital environment. There will be a significant focus on developing strategies to develop and maintain company culture in the digital world. Expect to see this as an upcoming HR trend in 2022.
- Focus on the Employee Experience
We first mentioned this HR trend in our recruitment trends for 2022 article. However, this trend is not only relevant to recruitment but the entire HR strategy. Employee experience has significant effects on recruitment, retention, employee engagement, and so much more! HR professionals will need to invest heavily in employee experience throughout 2022 to ensure they attract candidates amid a talent war and retain talent during the great resignation.
- People Analytics
A rapidly increasing amount of businesses are incorporating people analytics into decision making. People analytics is a treasure trove for HR professionals who capture this data to assess skill gaps and training opportunities, coach future leaders, and improve employee retention. People analytics also inform policies relating to employee mental health and wellbeing, cultural diversity and other important issues. There are endless applications of people analytics data that businesses can use to propel their company into the future. Companies need to leverage this HR trend in 2022 to remain competitive.
- Employee Mental Health
Throughout the pandemic employee mental health suffered greatly. Numerous lockdowns across Australia led to extreme levels of uncertainty, increasing anxiety and depression among employees. As we move away from the lockdown strategy, businesses need to invest in innovative ways of safeguarding employee mental and wellbeing. Investing significantly in employee mental health will be a crucial HR trend businesses need to address in 2022.
- Diversity and Inclusion
As businesses switch to remote work, global barriers become less of a hindrance. Companies will find it easier to hire qualified and diverse talent from around the world. Despite it becoming easier to recruit a diverse workforce, DEI strategies are still essential to ensure employees feel as though they belong in the company. We've observed D&I transition to DE&I. The next upcoming HR trend is now DEI&B. Cultivating a sense of belonging will ensure employees feel connected and have a place in their company.
- Building Critical Skills
Throughout 2022 collating employees' current skills and skill levels will be synonymous with collecting other fundamental information such as addresses, emergency contacts, etc. It's becoming increasingly vital for businesses to map available internal skills. Taking stock of your skill level is crucial when hiring to fill skill shortages or gaps and developing talent to fulfil perceived future required skills. Building critical skills will be one of the most prominent upcoming HR trends for 2022.
- Reshaping Employee Perks and Rewards
Health and retirement packages were previously the be-all and end-all of employee perks. In the mid-2000s, the focus shifted to the benefits of the office. Remember the overload in amenities and break rooms with ping pong tables? As we head into the new decade, HR professionals need to re-think their employee perks and rewards programs again. Health and retirement packages are now a thing of the past. The new post-pandemic era ushers in new strategies that are primarily personalised and focused on achieving a work-life balance. HR professionals need to get on board with this HR trend for 2022 or risk their company culture.
- Developing the Emotional Intelligence of Current and Future Leaders
Approximately 45 per cent of HR leaders place the development of current and future leaders as their top priority in 2022. If there is anything that the pandemic has taught us, leaders need to teach resilience and exhibit empathy. Now that teams are widely dispersed, and employees face extreme levels of burnout from the last two years, leaders must coach and build resilience. With geographical divides, leaders also need to display empathy in various ways so remote employees feel they can connect with their manager at any time. As we head into 2022, HR professionals need to equip business and team leaders with these skills.
- Use of Workplace Assessments
There are many emerging HR software trends. One of the top trends is the use of workplace assessments. Like health and retirement employee packages, using workplace assessments as solely a recruitment tool is a thing of the past (thank goodness!). HR professionals need to understand how to maximise their use of assessments across all aspects of the organisation, including sales training, leadership development and employee engagement. HR professionals that adopt this HR trend for 2022 will reap the benefits of a more productive, cohesive and engaged workforce.
These top 10 HR trends for 2022 offer businesses a wealth of practical applications to enhance the performance of their workforce. As companies head into a post-pandemic world of the great resignation, talent shortages and new policies, having a deep understanding of the latest HR trends will allow them to keep up in an ever-evolving industry. Which of these HR trends and opportunities will you be implementing in 2022?