Like many jobs, the Human Resources profession has undergone major changes in the past decade. That’s not even taking into account how the ongoing pandemic has completely altered every aspect of work life.
As we enter the third calendar year of the pandemic, what does 2022 have in store for Human Resources? What important work topics are sticking around for further examination? What new HR trends are emerging that will enable positive change?
Here are the 8 biggest HR trends and topics for 2022 that should ultimately guide your focus, goals, and policies throughout the year.
HR topic: New and continuing COVID requirements
It’s 2022, and COVID-19 is still a thing—a BIG thing. And it does not appear to be going away any time soon. With the new year, comes renewed efforts to curb the latest variants, including mask mandates and potential vaccine mandates.
As it has throughout the pandemic, COVID brings with it multiple concerns for the HR department.
- First, employee health and safety must be at the forefront of all conversations. Take appropriate precautions to ensure workplace safety (masking, social distancing, proper cleaning, etc.).
- Second, HR must help ensure compliance from all standpoints, including employee, employer, and overall business. Whether following CDC guidelines or complying with local and federal legislation, compliance must be a focus for HR.
HR trend: Continuing to adapt to remote/hybrid work
While remote work and hybrid work models were increasing before COVID, the pandemic made it the preferred (necessary) choice. While most companies have experienced remote and/or hybrid work, these practices can still be improved upon.
- Update employee handbooks and contracts with remote/hybrid options and expectations
- Recalibrate your employee benefits to reflect this new work experience
- Train managers to better lead remote/hybrid teams
- Assess potential security risks of remote work
- Address remote work’s negative effects, including loneliness and burnout
HR trend: Expanding HR technology and automation
HR technology is designed to make the job of an HR professional easier, faster, and more accurate, while saving your company time and money. Today’s modern workplace and workforce demand HR technology.
Thanks to HR technology, many everyday HR processes are streamlined, automated, and improved—especially those most affected by the pandemic-forced changes in the HR world.
- Recruiting – A virtual recruiting and applicant tracking system can streamline your process to help you make smarter hiring decisions in less time.
- Onboarding – With a more consistent and smoother process, major elements like new employee paperwork, training, and compliance will never be short-changed or overlooked.
- Performance Management – Ensure employee assessments put employees and managers on the same page about performance, expectations, growth, and demeanor.
- Learning Management – Encourage continuous learning and allow employees to learn at their own pace. Training is easier to manage with less interruptions to the workday.
HR topic: Keeping a spot at the table
HR moved to the foreground of most businesses during the pandemic. All the moving parts, changes to policy, compliance concerns, updating and checking in with employees. HR leaders emerged as decision-makers and policy-makers sitting amongst other company leaders. Now how do you stay there?
- Align their personal and departmental firmly with overarching company goals.
- Seek out more ways HR technology can improve processes company-wide.
- Influence company decisions wherever HR expertise is needed.
- Championing equality, inclusivity, and acceptance through HR initiatives.
- And most importantly, tirelessly work to improve employee experience and engagement.
HR topic: Employee engagement and company culture
Creating a positive company culture and increasing employee engagement will always be major topics for HR professionals. It is how we handle these HR cornerstones in the face of new challenges in the workspace.
In 2022, the challenges are clear—most of which we have already discussed here or will shortly. What you do to adapt and still get your message across is what will make or break your year. How do you engage a remote/hybrid workforce? How do you relay company culture to new employees (especially virtually)?
- Clear, up-to-date communication
- Employee surveys
- Employee check-ins from managers
HR trend: Focus on employee well-being, including mental health
Health and wellness are major topics in the HR world—with good reason. There is a direct connection between employee well-being and a company’s overall success. Mental health awareness has grown during the pandemic with loneliness and burnout.
- Maintain transparency and clear communication between employees and managers/HR
- Promote employees taking the time for self-care
- Set boundaries and expectations for work-life balance
- Allow for flexible work schedules
- Revamp employee benefits, such increased healthcare options, telemedicine, and wellness programs.
HR trend: Prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives
Every business should strive to ensure everyone feels welcome, valued as an equal part of the team, and clearly defined opportunities for advancement. Not only is discrimination illegal, it can also drive away some of your most motivated employees, as well as customers. D&I efforts help you recruit top talent and improve the overall employee experience.
- Ensure there are people with different backgrounds across the company.
- Strive to create a work environment of learning, understanding, and acceptance—even remotely.
- Diversity in management is crucial as it is easy to overlook different perspectives when everyone is of the same gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
- Training on diversity and inclusion offers measurable benefits for the company as a way to ensure everyone feels equally welcome in the workplace.
HR topic: Multi-generational workforces
Today’s workforce is growing more and more diverse in so many ways. Often overlooked despite becoming increasingly prevalent is the complexities of a multi-generational workforce.
Today’s workforce is composed of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z. As Boomers retire later, Millennials move up the ladder, and Gen Z enters the workforce, HR is challenged with meeting their individual needs.