We’ve moved past from 2021 with a baggage of lessons learnt, a list of dos and don'ts, and strategies that shaped, strengthened and changed our workplace culture. Businesses must now "zoom out" to envisage their organisation, its difficulties and its top HR priorities in 2022.
In this article, I urge readers to "zoom out" alongside me and consider what each of the three reinvention areas: 1. Workforce, 2. Organisation and 3. HR must look like, a year from now. Take into account a.) where you want the organisation to be and b) the variables that may help or impede its success.
Later, let's zoom out the focus altogether so that you can choose a few significant initiatives that deserve to be implemented in the coming 6-12 months.
So, what should HR Professionals focus on in 2022? An organization polled over 800 HR leaders from different industries and locations to determine their objectives for the coming year. These priorities must be designed to solve short-term problems in a way that will accelerate the path to your organisation's long-term destination.
Here’s a look at the top 7 priorities for HR leaders in 2022, according to Gartner’s report.
Top 7 HR Priorities for leaders in 2022
Analysing the HR priorities and HR trends to watch out for in 2022 is a critical first step highlighting the HR scenario and strategic workforce planning.
1. Redesigning Work (What gets done), Workforce (By whom), & Workplace (Where & How)
Work, workforce and workplace are the three main pillars of building a future-ready workforce.
Work: Organisations need to re-evaluate their work and work environment and ensure that they are concentrating on tasks that add value to the company.
Workforce: One must then select who or what should be the deciding factor of that specific task, while incorporating people and technology, using new contingent workforce models.
Workplace: Finally, companies must consider where and how that work will be done, experimenting with new modes of working (hybrid or remote) that build on what you've learned and experienced throughout the pandemic.
2. Training managers to lead with empathy
Some common hurdles for managers trying to adopt empathy at the workplace are disguised beneath three attributes: Skill, Mindset, Capacity
Skill: “Empathy isn’t my cup of tea. What do I do?"
Mindset: “Why should I be responsible for supporting an employee’s personal needs?”
Capacity: “I already have enough on my plate. How will I find the time?”
As per Gartner’s research, only 44% of employees say they trust their organization’s managers to handle a crisis well. The attributes of an ideal business leader or manager may be expressed into these five pointers:
- Prioritises people over processes
- Embraces growth mindset
- Asks, doesn't tell
- Contextualizes employee experience and mindset
- Creates transparency
3. Shaping talent management around skills, not job roles
HR priority #1 for 2022: Meeting the evolving skill needs. Most organisations believe they lack the insights required to train employees in meeting the business goals. Amidst this, business need to make a difficult decision: Should you invest large sums of money today, to win the talent required tomorrow? Or should you risk competing with an under skilled workforce?
A possible alternative: Workforce analytics. One must seize the opportunity to learn how new tools and platforms enable a data-driven strategy, for understanding, assessing, and tracking their workforce's skills at all levels, especially as they evolve.
A Canadian Crown corporation, for instance, maximised it's efforts to meet the talent needs by leveraging an AI-based workplace analytics tool. The project enabled the Crown corporation to a) extract important insights on the future of work, b) address its changing workforce needs, c) improve visibility into talent requirements, and d) identify important skills gaps.
4. Aiming for a positive change management
As per the same human resources report, 54% of HR leaders say their employees are fatigued from all the change.
Instead of constantly focusing on difficulties, the approach with organisational change must be founded on the principle of positive change. That is, HR priorities (2022) must focus on what's functioning well and what a positive, exciting vision of the future could look like. In a process like this, a big portion of the organisation is often involved in evoking visions, images, and fantasies of what is possible.
This is the first step in shifting the conversation away from setbacks ("what's wrong") toward positives ("what needs to happen" and "what should happen to support our vision").
5. Holding leaders accountable for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Among the top HR priorities for leaders in 2022, the greatest challenge is to diversity the leadership bench which lacks diversity in the pipeline.
“When leaders are not held accountable for advancing DEI goals, yet are personally responsible for advancing talent, this creates a disconnect.” - Caitlin Duffy, research director in the Gartner HR practice.
Initially, the role of HR in 2022 must take a two-pronged approach to address how leaders make decisions:
- First, organizations must redefine the criteria leaders use to make talent decisions, with a focus on eliminating bias.
- Second, HR leaders should integrate objective data into talent processes around the decision-making moments, such as evaluating candidates for a promotion or analyzing the mental health of succession pools.
Next, the focus can be narrowed down in the following manner:
- Create standardised procedures to track and monitor leaders' progress toward their DEI targets.
- To incentivize individuals to take action, establish peer-to-peer leader transparency around DEI measures.
- To ensure that leaders' success in the organisation demands them to lead inclusively, incorporate DEI measures into performance evaluation processes.
6. Employee Experience and Wellness
The significance of employee health and wellbeing has been brought to light by the current outbreak in South East Asia. Finding a good work-life balance is becoming increasingly important as remote and hybrid work models become more common. Employers have seen how stress and anxiety affect production levels directly. One of your HR objectives for 2022 should be to concentrate on a more holistic perspective of employee welfare.
Make sure your workers who work from home have the necessary equipment, resources, and assistance to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. Ensure that your management are knowledgeable of the risks of stress and burnout. Tracking employee hours and PTO is crucial for ensuring that your staff is getting the necessary rest and recovery time.
7. Remote / Hybrid Workplace Culture
This may be one of the biggest problems among all the top priorities for HR leaders in the upcoming year. If there are no in-person events, team-building activities, or talks in the cafeteria, how can you make individuals feel a part of the corporate culture? It might be challenging to foster an atmosphere where all employees feel connected and a part of the team in light of the fact that many businesses still provide temporary or permanent remote or hybrid working options. The secret is to adjust your idea of workplace culture and look for new approaches to promote teamwork. Reinforce a feeling of common purpose and remind each employee that their work is crucial to the success of the organisation as a whole. Encourage engagement and support personal growth.
A common string attached among the top HR priorities for leaders in 2022 is HR technology that impacts all the above concerns. Recently, a slew of new technologies, many of which are AI-powered, have hit the market to make the process more scientific, scalable, and efficient. Many new tools can help with targeted job advertising and expansive candidate searches.
Consider a simple scenario. peopleHum posses a wide range of AI-based evaluation system that can evaluate a wide range of human qualities and skills based and match them to the characteristics of the highest-performing people in diverse roles. Organisations like Unilever and others have greatly increased their recruitment pool by using the technology, hiring people who may not have expensive college degrees but are capable, ambitious, and ultimately successful.
This list of 7 top HR priorities has been compiled by Gartner after surveying over 500 HR leaders, 36% of whom were Chief Human Resource Officers or Heads of Human Resources in all industries and in 60 countries. You can access the full report here.