The last two years has changed everything. From businesses, to leaders, to employees. However, one thing has shifted. Organisations are now focusing on people instead of profit and ”we” instead of ”me”. An organisation is only as good as the people it employs.
The businesses that want to thrive in 2022 will need to respond to the new dynamic and make work, work for everyone.
Key Trends Globally (2022)
- Hybrid working is here to stay – providing flexible working options can increase employee satisfaction and retention
- Prioritisation of employee well-being – keen focus on mental health and resilience
- Diversity, equality and inclusion – expanding and evolving workforces
- Mass exodus – the great resignation
- Non-hierarchical structures – increased rate of project based working and collaborating
- Workplace community – this will expand through company walls
What This Means
Throughout the pandemic, there has been an overall positive response to remote working with the majority of people stating that they are happy to work from home at least two days per week. In 2021, many companies began to re-open their physical office spaces when restrictions finally eased. For some employers, that meant heading back into the workplace full-time. However, others took a more cautious approach, implementing a hybrid work model to provide their employees with more flexibility. According to a report produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, approximately, 70% of small businesses and large companies will adopt a hybrid model by 2022.
To offset the negative impact of the pandemic and focus on engagement and performance, organisations will need to put employee well-being at the forefront. Many companies are implementing resilience and development programmes to strengthen their workforce. 2022 will also see a rise of employee financial wellness programmes. A survey conducted in 2021 on behalf of Capital One showed that over 73% of people rank their finances as the most stressful factor in their life. Poor financial health can cause absenteeism in work and lower productivity. Therefore, workplaces will see wellness trends such as stress management, meditation, and virtual activities to ensure employee retention.
Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion
Companies DEI practices can be integrated into the concept of the new normal in a number of ways. Many businesses have already prepared health & safety policies to keep their staff safe amid uncertainty. Certain companies are also implementing customised time-off periods should an employee need to take care of a loved one due to COVID-19, whereas others have introduced flexible work from home schemes. Even though these are excellent developments, leaders and managers need to create or sustain a company culture of empathy and compassion going into 2022, as well as offer supportive tools such as regular check-ins and an open-door policy.
The Great Resignation
Workplaces that are keen to survive in 2022 will need to address talent shortages by focusing on diversity and offer more attractive benefits to sustain employee retention. Businesses will need to put their people first and reinvent their traditional working models in order to let employees choose when and how they work. To build a workforce post-pandemic (2022), companies will need to focus less on roles and titles which group unrelated skills, and encourage employees to develop critical skills that can potentially open up new opportunities for career development. Furthermore, people now want to be seen as human-beings with rich lives not just ”workers”. They are not only interested in their experience at work, but what an employer can do to enrich their life experience. Companies need to consider their growth ambitions before over-stretching fatigued staff to avoid the great resignation!
Pre-COVID-19, the majority of companies used the physical office to create a sense of community, offering attractive in-office perks. However, high levels of remote working in response to the pandemic has made staying connected increasingly difficult. Going into 2022, companies will need to place special attention on enhancing employee connection and collaboration.