The 5 most important HR trends for 2022Blog / November 12, 2021 / with Christoph Drebes
Looking for the latest HR Trends? Check out our article about 2023's top trends for HR & People Managers.
The years 2020 and 2021 have shown that a good human resources strategy has to be agile. Many companies were forced to rethink and quickly adapt to the new circumstances. HR managers had to keep the interests of the company in mind and the well-being and needs of their employees. And yet, the number of terminations has increased because employees no longer felt a sense of belonging to their companies. That’s why HR leaders need to keep up with the trends in HR management and adapt their processes accordingly.
Here are the five most important HR trends in 2022:
HR TREND 1: CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN
Changes and innovations in the workplace are not very popular among employees. And not only because they mean uncertainty. They often involve a high level of restructuring and change to work processes (which have been practiced for ages).
Especially after two years of constant pandemic-related change, so-called “change fatigue” has crept in among many employees. 51% of 274 supervisors report that their employees suffer from “change fatigue.”
WHY IS CHANGE MANAGEMENT SO IMPORTANT IN 2022?
According to a Gartner trend study with 500 supervisors, 48% see change management as one of the most critical human resources issues. There are two reasons for this:
- Agile adaption:
The pandemic has shown how important change management is in unpredictable crises like the COVID pandemic. A quick rethinking and adaptation of processes were required, which did not put too much strain on either the employees or the company.
- Smooth changes:
among other things, the survey respondents want to find ways to make internal changes not disruptive or stressful for employees.
WHAT IS THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL CHANGE MANAGEMENT?
According to Arj Bagga, director of HR advisory at Gartner, the key to successful change management is resilience. Resilient employees can more easily cope with change, which is crucial from a well-being and health perspective in the workplace.
Read more about resilience in the workplace and how to build it here.
HR TREND 2: LEADERSHIP AND PEOPLE MANAGEMENT
In order to build resilience among the workforce, one competence is indispensable for leaders: emotional intelligence. The increased complexity of the work environment is the main reason for this need. After the pandemic,
many teams do not work in the same place. In some cases, employees stayed in the home office and now work in a hybrid work model.
WHAT LEADERSHIP QUALITIES ARE IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE?
Not only are the usual leadership qualities such as team management and coordination required, but also:
Leaders must always have the well-being of the workforce in mind. This was not a problem in the office, as the supervisor could quickly walk by the desk and have a quick chat. But when colleagues work from home, the situation is different. Managers must give their employees the feeling that they are always available to them.
- Providing resources:
They have the additional task of overlooking whether the team has the right set of resources to work together smoothly. Room for improvement must be identified and addressed to enable Smart Work.
Here are useful tools to help hybrid teams work together agilely.
In addition, in remote or hybrid teams, conflicts can arise in completely different ways. Starting with agreeing on an on-site workshop date and affecting even the simplest aspects, such as accessibility.
To take the pressure off leaders, it’s a good idea to launch offerings such as mentoring programs. These prevent team leads from being the only people approached with technical questions.
HR TREND 3: KEY COMPETENCIES AND SKILL MANAGEMENT
Companies prioritizing employee skills development has been common practice for several years, but the pandemic has reinforced this trend.
According to Bagga, the main thing that has changed here is the urgency of skills development.
In many companies, the pandemic has given a massive boost to digitization. This boost, in return, has had an impact on work processes and the skills required. As a result, skill management is becoming increasingly important as a human resources trend. Skill management is about understanding, developing, and deploying people and their skills.
WHY IS SKILL DEVELOPMENT ESSENTIAL IN 2022?
Before the pandemic, many companies recruited skilled workers from abroad. With a current glance towards Asia or the US, this is no longer as easy as before. Companies need to focus more on promoting their own employees.
Concerning planning for the coming years, the required skills of employees will also change, mainly referring to the
so-called “hard-skills”. Hence, the current competencies of employees are no longer suitable for the tasks of tomorrow. Many work processes can be automated in the future.
Therefore, companies need to identify the skills that will become obsolete in the future and those that will be increasingly needed in the coming years. The targeted and strategic development of a company’s own employees will consequently become a constant part of human resources management.
HR TREND 4: DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
In recent years, diversity and inclusion have been marginal issues in many companies.
Nevertheless, some companies have already recognized the strategic advantage of diverse teams and are increasingly focusing on D&I as a business strategy. Diverse employees bring different backgrounds and experiences to the company, which in turn creates great added value.
Many researchers have already proved that diverse companies are more competitive, profitable, and innovative. Additionally, diverse companies demonstrate higher employee satisfaction and retention.
HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION STRATEGY?
Human resources management has a key role here. It has to recruit the right people, include them into the company culture and strategically position their strengths.
But this will be a major challenge in 2022: Inclusion in a remote or hybrid work model requires different measures than the ones that have proven themselves so far.
To build a sustainable D&I strategy, it is recommended to follow the following three steps:
- Define D&I priorities:
The basis is performance factors, which serve to fulfill strategically important KPIs. These KPIs can be, for example, customer retention, time to market, or productivity. The crucial diversity characteristics are derived from that support the fulfillment of these KPIs.
- Creating D&I initiatives:
Based on these diversity characteristics, initiatives are now designed and prioritized by the HR department.
- Geographical adjustment of the strategy:
For large corporations, a geographic adjustment of the D&I strategy is a final step.
Here, more detailed information on how to build a successful D&I strategy.
HR TREND 5: SCENARIO PLANNING
In today’s VUCA world, adaptability (the ability to respond to change) is paramount. Companies must quickly and efficiently adapt to new scenarios and create new opportunities in environments with high uncertainty.
The reason being, that proper management of change is directly related to how quickly lessons are learned.
Agile change management can thus give a company a clear competitive advantage.
But to enable agile change management, companies must outline possible scenarios beforehand.
WHY IS STRATEGIC SCENARIO PLANNING IMPORTANT FOR THE COMING YEARS?
If the COVID pandemic taught companies one thing, it’s the importance of responding to new situations in a strategically sensible and agile way. Especially in Europe, COVID was considered “far away” for a long time,
as the outbreak took place in Asia. As a result, some companies did not prepare for or react late to the potential impact of COVID in their own country.
To avoid ad-hoc decisions in the future, companies need to prepare strategically for possible scenarios.
In addition, scenario planning helps to identify potential opportunities and to seize them in time.
Accordingly, scenario planning is about preparing for problem situations and working out and implementing opportunities.
A detailed guide to scenario planning here at Gartner.
HR TRENDS OF THE FUTURE AND HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
However, these 5 most important HR trends 2022 reflect only a fraction of what Human Resources Management will have to tackle in the coming years. The pandemic has driven some New Work trends and also the digitization of many areas.
The art for HR managers is now to analyze these new trends strategically for their own company and use them sensibly. Nevertheless, they should never lose their focus on the employees and act according to the motto
“people first”. Surveys in recent months have shown that it is crucial for employees to feel at ease in the company.
Therefore, the implementation of these trends should always be transparent and in line with the company’s values.
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