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Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2022 | peopleHum
Leadership Development

Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2022

HR blogs
Nirvi B
November 24, 2021
Human Resource Management Platform

We’re moving past from 2021, in less than two months, with a baggage of lessons learnt, a list of dos and don'ts, and strategies that shaped, strengthened and changed your organisation's culture. Businesses must now "zoom out" to envisage their organisation, its difficulties and its top priorities for HR leaders 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.

What should HR focus on in 2022? Gartner polled over 800 HR leaders from various 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.

Top Priorities for HR Leaders in 2022

1. Recognising the HR trends most relevant to your organisation

Analysing the HR trends to watch out for in 2022 is a critical first step highlighting the HR scenario and strategic workforce planning.

Redesigning Work (What gets done), Workforce (By whom), & Workplace (Where and 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 ensure that they are concentrating on tasks that add value to the company.

Workforce: One must then select who or what should be 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 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 leader or manager may be expressed into these five pointers:

  1. Prioritises people over processes
  2. Embraces growth mindset
  3. Asks, doesn't tell
  4. Contextualizes employee mindset
  5. Creates transparency

3. Shaping talent management around skills, not job roles

HR leader's number one priority: 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.

Also read: How Google is using people analytics to completely reinvent HR

4. Aiming for a positive change management

As per the same report by Gartner, 54% of HR leaders say their employees are fatigued from all the change.

Thus, instead of constantly focusing on difficulties, the approach with organisational change must be founded on the principle of positive change. That is, focusing 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. Diversity and Inclusion: Aligning leadership and accountability

Among the top priorities for HR 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,”

said 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 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.


A common string attached among the top priorities for HR 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 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.

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October 25, 2021

A very inspiring list. Thanks for putting this together


October 25, 2021

This is such a great list of women leaders! More power to you all