2021 changed a lot — and the HR industry isn’t excluded. Human resources departments found themselves “herding cats” digitally, finding new ways to interact, and encountering issues that they never had before. Moving out of 2021 and into 2022, here are some of the most important trends to consider.
Moving Forward With Employees in Flux
In 2021, how could you tell whether an employee was underperforming due to laziness or due to conditions outside of their control? Were they really having “technical problems,” or were they at home, streaming movies? As employees enter into 2022, they are going to have to get used to “getting away with” less — which means HR departments are going to have to set clear expectations. At the same time, HR departments are still going to have to be flexible, because so much is changing so rapidly.
In many departments, this has resulted in flex-time, hybrid workspaces, and the ability to more dynamically take PTO. Rather than demanding employees accomplish tasks in specific ways, hard deadlines are being set.
Managing Employees in a Digital Realm
Digital-first corporate ecosystems introduced a few major issues for HR departments:
- How to keep teams connected and “together” when they are physically apart.
- How to manage the tone and professionalism of text-only communications.
- How to maintain continuity with employees through video and voice chat.
Improving company culture requires that employees still act as team members and units, even in the digital world. Collaborative solutions like Office 365 and Slack have been leveraged to effectively give employees a “digital workspace,” but HR departments may also need to be more aggressive with team-building exercises and culture-building events.
Further, HR departments should, by now, have created processes and guidelines for digital communication — including not only the appropriate tone and content but also when individuals should be contacted and through which venues. HR departments will need to make time for employees even digitally and will often need to maintain an “open door” digital policy.
Human Resources in 2022
Employees are already heading back into the office. But at least some have quit rather than return from remote work. In 2022, human resources departments are going to be busy helping employees adjust to their in-office life—while also supporting remote and flex-time initiatives. HR department should be proactive, by taking polls of employee opinions, making time for one-on-one meetings, and reinforcing company culture.
The digital-first employment ecosystem is, by far, the trend that changed HR the most throughout 2021. Employees became more distant, harder to track, and more distracted. But as the year ends and companies start to coalesce their human capital once again, HR departments should work hard to ensure that employees have the support they need.
For more information about ensuring that you get and retain the best talent, contact Complete Employee Services.