By Amanda Schiavo for Benefit News
The workplace has dramatically evolved over the course of the last two years, and as employers prepare for the new year, they’ll need to take into account how employees’ priorities have shifted if they want to attract and retain top talent.
Issues like greater flexibility, permanent remote work, greater investments into mental health support and more focus on diversity and equality are top priorities for employees in 2022, according to Anu Karwa, vice president of people operations at video content creation platform, Socialive. In order to combat the great resignation, employers will need to lead, not follow, in these areas.
“To create an environment that lets people shine and be their authentic selves, practice inclusive leadership and respect everyone’s perspectives, opinions and diverse voices,” she says. “We will begin to see concrete changes being implemented to make a difference with deeper and more thoughtful approaches.”
Karwa shared six predictions regarding some workplace trends she expects employers will see in 2022.
Hybrid work is sticking around
Karwa anticipates that remote work is here to stay, and flexibility will be key. Employees will set their own work hours and employers will need to adjust their hybrid work policies to encourage collaboration from everywhere.
“In 2022, to accommodate more employees starting and ending the work day at different times, organizations will need to optimize hybrid work processes to ensure consistent employee engagement and enhance productivity,” she says.
Meetings will be revamped
Instead of ineffective video calls, employers can experiment with recording short, informative videos with detailed explanations of what is expected, cutting down on the need to coordinate schedules, Karwa says.
Employees will be able to go back and review these videos when they have questions, eliminating “inefficient follow-up meetings that interrupt schedules and allowing for more heads-down work time and increased productivity,” she says.
Diversity and inclusion will take centre stage
Going into 2022, employers will need to realise that employees don’t want lip service when it comes to their diversity and inclusion efforts — they want real actionable changes.
“Employees will expect ongoing initiatives that are visible throughout every part of their company, making DEI practices normal, not outliers,” Karwa says.
The focus will be on keeping women at work
As women make their way back into the workforce, employers will need to put policies in place that will have a significant positive impact, like flexibility and even part-time work, Karwa says. This will allow them to manage their jobs and home responsibilities.
“We’ll see employers provide more scheduling flexibility for working mothers and create more part-time roles than they ever have before,” she says. “More hybrid organisations, in particular, will convert unused space into childcare centres, which will enable more women to participate in the workforce.”
Digital tools will combat the great resignation
While it may be tough to conduct in-person interviews right now, that doesn’t mean prospective employees don’t need to get a feel for the company’s atmosphere. Potential hires want to connect with their future colleagues, and employers will be turning to more engaging video and audio content in 2022, Karwa says.
“Employers will need to find ways to display their culture in a way that is both virtual and real,” she says.
Leaders must recognise and address employee burnout
Employees expect their organisations to take a holistic approach to their overall well-being, and addressing mental health concerns is a big part of that. Employees want to know their workplace leaders understand they are struggling and provide them with benefits and solutions that can help them tackle their emotional stress.
“Companies will no longer be able to implement quick-fix, band-aid-style approaches to resolve deeper issues that result in burnout,” Karwa says. “The entire leadership team at forward-thinking companies will address the root causes that are leading to poor employee engagement and turnover.”