For many HR leaders, the past two years have been a whirlwind of drastic changes in the workforce—most significantly, the sudden shift to remote work and the gradual evolution to a flexible hybrid work environment.
But as 2021 comes to a close, and many HR leaders continue to grapple with the ripple effects of these new changes in the workplace, it is important to also look towards the future—to prepare ourselves for the new workplace challenges that we can expect to face in 2022.
1. Improve Employee Engagement in Hybrid Working Model
The challenges of the hybrid working environment are multifold—from establishing new modes of communication and working to the reduced level of employee engagement in an increasingly remote working model.
That definitely does not bode well for HR leaders, considering statistics that have proven time and again that higher employee engagement is key to retaining and driving high performance and productivity within the organization—directly impacting the bottom line.
And that is exactly why enhancing employee engagement in the new working model is one of the top priorities of 2022.
Some suggested ways to address this include:
- Enhance two-way communication channels to ensure that employees have sufficient avenues for feedback and clear directions
- Get creative and experiment with new means of collaboration—be it via employee-led resource groups or mentor-mentee programs to foster networks
2. Focus on Skill and Competency Building
A report by a research and consulting firm shows that nearly 1 in 3 skills for jobs of today will no longer be required by 2022. And that’s not all. The average employee is expected to know more skills to perform a job in IT, finance, or sales too.
With such alarming rates of skills and competency attrition, HR leaders must step up to the plate and address the management of workforce competencies for the future or risk being unable to keep up with the competition.
So, what can be done? Here are some considerations:
- Develop a more adaptable talent management strategy that is skills-based instead of role-based—allowing for more flexibility to tap on the workforce
- Invest heavily in reskilling and upskilling employees to be prepared for the challenges ahead
3. Build Workforce Resilience
A study from Microsoft shows that 54% of the workforce feels overworked and 39% feel exhausted. The signs of workforce fatigue are clear. While productivity has not declined yet, it is at the expense of the employees and is unlikely to sustain for much longer.
In light of these red flags for potential burnout, HR leaders need to step in before it is too late:
- Address their employee’s expectations about the new working model and their well-being. These needs are evolving, and HR leaders need to keep themselves up to date with relevant policies to address these issues
- Offer flexible and support resources to support employees who may have mental or physical health issues and any other sources of stress that could result in burnout
4. Lead with Empathy
Empathetic leadership is key to enabling workforce resilience and plays a huge role in employee engagement—both crucial priorities for the future.
Yet, many managers are neither trained with the skills to lead with empathy nor have the mindset that they should do so.
Here are some ways HR leaders should encourage fellow leaders in the workplace to demonstrate more empathy:
- Be on the lookout for signs of burnout and help manage low priority work
- Take the time to understand each employee’s needs and goals, and match them with suitable assignments for optimal employee satisfaction and performance
- Be open to communication
- Show compassion and support for personal problem
4. Attracting and Retaining Top Talents
The Great Resignation has plenty of HR leaders panicking over the labour shortage—and for good reasons. The talent pool as we know it will continue to shrink as more employees abandon the traditional workforce for a slower pace of life or the gig economy.
As a result, attracting and retaining top talent has become an increasingly important priority for HR leaders.
Some potential talent strategies for the future to consider include:
- Focusing on internal mobility to prevent attrition
- Employee development programs to minimize staff turnover
- Turning to gig economy workers and contractors
Are You Ready to Tackle the Top HR Priorities of 2022?
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