Reports from Gartner and HRExchangeNetwork.com strike similar themes for the challenges facing human resources in 2022: The need to rethink the value proposition for employees, skills development, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and the changing role of human resources.
As hopes increase that the pandemic will finally give way to an endemic so that we can get on with our lives and business, it has also become clear that the US faces a protracted labor and skills shortage and a new generation of people seeking work-life balance. Here are some predictions from Gartner, the technology and research group, and HRExchangeNetwork.com, a global HR community, in an article by Francesca Di Meglio.
Neither report makes any mention of the need or opportunity for human resources to play a role in human capital management, metrics, reporting, or internal branding.
The recently published Gartner report highlighting top priorities for human resource leaders says that HR executives have to “evolve the way they identify, attract and retain critical skills and redesign work to enhance the employee value proposition (EVP) and drive business performance. This moment presents a unique opportunity for HR leaders to shape the future of work in ways not previously considered which is a possible win-win for both employees and employers.”
The report identifies the following key trends:
No. 1: Hybrid work is driving business transformation. “This shift to hybrid work will be a massive driver of transformation and one HR leaders must be prepared to support.”
No. 2: More and new skills are needed by employees. The report estimates that 29% of skills needed in the average job posting in 2018 will be obsolete by 2022.
No. 3: Workforce health is being eroded. “Employee performance stayed high during the pandemic, but disruptions have already made long-term and hard-to-reverse impacts on workforce health — that is, the health of employees, the state of trust between individuals, teams and leadership, and the work environment (e.g., feelings of inclusion).”
No. 4: Employees want to feel understood and valued. “HR leaders need to build a more human employer-employee relationship and employment deal to meet employees’ demands to be heard and valued.”
No. 5: Mounting pressure for diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Along with expectations of greater empathy and a more human work environment, there is increasing pressure to improve equity and inclusion with all stakeholders.
Based on these trends, the report says, HR management must:
• Take on greater accountability for innovation and business transformation in a hybrid work model.
• Use human-centric design to offer “flexible experiences, enable intentional collaboration, and drive empathy-based management.”
• Apply a more dynamic approach to addressing changing skills requirements.
• Reassess workforce support offerings to drive workforce health, not just performance.
• Establish real accountability for DEI in organizational leaders.
Writing for HRexchangenetwork.com, Francesca Di Meglio identifies the following trends:
No. 1. Transformation of Human Resources. In 2022, HR will be determining the best ways to recruit and retain top talent. It will be a case of "out with the old and in with the new."
No. 2. Four-Day Workweek. Employees have the leverage now, she believes, and are asking for more flexibility. Some companies may move to a four-day work week to attract and retain employees.
No. 3. Mental Health and Wellness. Businesses are recognizing the importance of employee well-being and are offering employees “with tools for relieving stress, addressing mental illnesses, and preventing burnout,” including yoga classes or meditation time, or mental health days as part of paid time off (PTO).
No. 4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Black Lives Matter protests highlighted injustices that exposed the lack of representation of minorities in leadership and management and even at junior levels. Expect DEI to remain at the forefront of recruiting and retention strategies.
No. 5. The Possibility of More Variants. “The reality is that most companies will have to keep some level of remote work as an option because of the various COVID variants that might surface. Until the pandemic turns into an endemic, some companies will be remote only. Others will remain hybrid workplaces. Coming up with sufficient strategies on how to collaborate, forge bonds, conduct performance measures, and attain desired results is a must.” Companies will have to continue to deal with touchy vaccine and mask requirements.
No. 6. Generational Differences. For the first time, four generations (Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z) work together. The differences pop up on a daily basis, Di Meglio writes. Millennials and Gen Z hold most of the power, because Boomers are retiring and Gen Xers represent a small part of the workforce. ”These generational gaps will continue into 2022,” and “HR leaders are going to be working hard to unite all these groups. After all, DEI efforts should include age variations, too.
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