Before we dive into HR trends for 2022...
This is going to seem a little counterintuitive, but bear with me.
Y’all know, it’s been another wild year. And while some of you reading this are (thankfully) feeling supported and ready to take on 2022, others may be completely and totally exhausted. Burnt out. In desperate need of a break.
So before we launch into next year’s HR trends, I want to invite anyone reading this who hasn’t paused, processed, rested, and closed the books on all the incredible labor you’ve done in 2021 to bookmark this post for later. Trends, strategies, and plans will all be here waiting for you when you’re ready.
Thank you for all you do.
It’s been another year for the books.
And the roller coaster doesn't seem to be slowing as we enter 2022.
As the ups and downs of this pandemic continue, people are quitting their jobs in droves to find workplaces that fit their needs, wants, and values. And this movement, dubbed “the Great Resignation”, only seems to be picking up speed as we head into the new year.
This is actually a major opportunity for organizations that can adapt and become truly people-first. But adaptation and transformation require work—much of which has fallen squarely on the shoulders of HR leaders and practitioners.
You may be navigating shifting employee expectations and demands amidst push back from leadership. Or, the current piping-hot, candidate-driven job market. Or, our new hybrid work world. (To name a few.)
So how do you balance your employees’ wants and needs with organizational goals in a world that has changed dramatically, practically overnight? Effective management, employee retention, and talent acquisition are more important in today’s workplace than ever. In this post, we explore five essential HR trends in 2022, and strategies to help you become a most loved employer in the new year.
2022 HR trends and strategies:
- Employee retention
- Talent acquisition
- Employee belonging
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Boundaries at work
#1 Employee retention: Most loved employers will invest in the people who make their company great.
No surprises here: employee retention will be a tippy top HR priority in 2022. But while a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package are critical, they’re no longer enough to keep your top talent.
“One of the top reasons people leave organizations is because they’re not growing, they don’t feel seen, and they don’t feel valued,” — Jeff Smith, VP of Strategic Initiatives at 15Five
The thing is, people want to do meaningful work. They want to feel like they’re making progress on that work. And they want to be seen and recognized for that progress. Purpose, growth, and connection are essential for employee retention.
New research (full report coming soon!) from Blueboard shows that 77% of employees want to work at an organization where they feel connected to the purpose and the people. And almost 60% would consider quitting if they didn’t feel connected at work. The numbers are even more stark when you look at younger generations of workers.
Here are a few strategies to keep your people connected and satisfied at work:
Employee retention strategies in 2022:
- Show employees how their work connects to broader organizational goals and their long-term career objectives. A large part of effective management is transparency. Push for transparency at the leadership level and support your employees through intentional goal-setting processes to set them up for success.
- Keep your company mission, vision, and values top-of-mind. This can be tricky in a hybrid workplace. That’s why many companies are introducing values awards to bring their core values to life and celebrate employees who live them—no matter where they are.
- Invest in your people to help them grow their professional (and personal) skills. Empower your People managers to work with their direct reports to identify what’s important to them, where they want to grow, and provide pathways to help them get there.
- Be generous with employee appreciation and introduce meaningful employee recognition programs. Companies that use recognition to facilitate employee connectedness are 10x more likely to report that they’re successfully addressing challenges with employee connection at work compared to those that don’t, according to our new research. Schedule time with our team to talk about how recognition can support your retention goals.
Is employee retention a 2022 priority for you? Get even more tips and strategies in our ebook: "Retaining top talent is your top priority".
#2 Talent acquisition: Most loved employers will show prospective employees why their company rocks.
Remote work has opened up so many opportunities for workers and it’s made it that much more challenging for companies to attract top people. Today, we are truly in a global job market, and the competition to attract top talent is fierce.
Some companies have upped their compensation packages in response. But at a certain point, there’s only so much you can offer in the way of money or perks. The good news is, workers are looking for more than just a competitive salary. Here are a few other levers you can pull to stand out from the recruiting crowd:
Talent acquisition strategies in 2022:
- Be loud and proud about what makes your company culture different. And no, we’re not talking about ping pong tables. Lean into your company's purpose and values. Showcase the work you’re doing and how it’s impacting the world around you. Tell stories about how you show up for your current employees. If your recruiting team doesn’t have bandwidth for brand-building, tap your marketing team for support.
- Boost employee referrals. Referral candidates get hired faster, cost less to acquire, and generally stay with your company longer. Consider launching a referral incentive program to motivate current employees to share your open positions with their talented networks.
- Optimize your hiring process. A recent survey found that over two-thirds (67%) of job seekers have had at least one negative experience in the hiring process in the past 12 months. And more than half (58%) had declined a job offer due to poor experience. Ask: How can we increase communication and transparency during our hiring process to give candidates the best possible experience?
- Optimize your onboarding process. Onboarding is one of the most important moments where HR can positively impact the employee experience. Is your onboarding process structured? Is it overwhelming? Does it make new employees feel welcome and connected—even in a hybrid world? Are you getting feedback so you can continue to improve it? Consider putting energy into auditing and improving employee onboarding in 2022. For starters, learn more about how to give unique onboarding gifts for new hires with Blueboard.
#3 Employee belonging: Most loved employers will get intentional about creating connection.
It’s true—connecting at work might’ve been a lot easier in The Before Times. You could strike up a casual conversation with your teammates in the elevator or over lunch. You could make someone feel seen with a friendly smile and a “good morning”. Your company values were painted on the walls in big, bold letters for all to see.
Now, feeling connected at work takes a little more, well, work. “Today’s workforce wants to be connected to their company’s purpose and values, and to the people they work with. And now more than ever, there’s this gap where if that’s not intentionally acted on, it’s not going to happen,” said Dustin Goeglein, Senior People Insights Consultant at 15Five on a recent webinar.
Watch the full webinar discussion on belonging and connection with experts from Blueboard, 15Five, and PuzzleHR:
So how do we help our people connect in a distributed work world?
Employee connection strategies in 2022:
According to our research, HR leaders are focused on a few key methods for creating employee connection in 2022:
- Hybrid in-person and online events. You’ll need to continue to prioritize dedicated spaces, whether virtual or in-person, where employees can talk and get to know each other. This is a process. Some events will work better than others—the key is to find the right mixture of what works for your employees and company culture. Hint: Talk to your people and find out what they need.
- Formal employee appreciation and recognition. Employee recognition is one of the simplest and most effective ways to facilitate employee connection. More than anything, your employees want to feel like they matter and that their work is impactful. They also want to build authentic relationships with their teammates and managers. The right employee recognition program can check all of these boxes.
- Technology that facilitates better remote communication and collaboration. The past two years have seen massive growth in technologies to help us stay connected. Whether you’re looking for the right video call platform, the best messaging app, or platforms to facilitate manager-employee relationships or company-wide goal planning—the right HR tech stack is a crucial part of fostering employee connection and belonging.
- Manager and leadership training. You’ve heard this fact: People don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Now, more than ever, it’s essential that you support your People leaders with training and resources to help them connect with and support their people. When you invest in your managers, the ripple effect is huge.
- Expanded employee learning and development opportunities. At Blueboard, we define employee connection as: an affinity to the mission, values and leadership vision for the organization; a positive rapport and authentic, trusted relationships with co-workers and managers; and alignment with one’s professional and personal aspirations. By giving your people opportunities to develop their individual professional skills, you are showing them that you are invested in their individual aspirations. And this can set your organization apart in a big way.