Human Resources Trends for 2022

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Category: Industry Insights

By Matt Rowley
Posted on

The human resources field is evolving and adapting to changing workplace preferences, technology advancements, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter brought about sweeping changes that are expected to have lasting impacts on organizations of all sizes.

For instance, the pandemic completely upended the labor market and changed how workers felt about their professional lives. In the 2021 Work Trend Index published by Microsoft:

  • 41% of workers considered leaving their employer.
  • 54% of workers felt overworked, and 39% felt exhausted.

As we consider HR challenges in a post-COVID-19 world, here are four trends to watch for the rest of 2022 and beyond.

1. Advancements in HR Technology

Rapid changes in the workplace, including the increased adoption of flexible working options, have been a catalyst for major developments in HR technology. Cloud-based applications and artificial intelligence can play a major role in this transformation, including assisting in important tasks such as:

  • Analytics tools for strategic decision-making.
  • Automated daily processes.
  • Employee communication.
  • Payroll and benefits management.
  • Performance management.

New technologies and automations do have risks, but they can save businesses money, boost efficiency, reduce human errors, limit liability, and free up time for HR personnel to focus on less tedious tasks. Furthermore, today’s workers expect employers to use up-to-date technologies in the workplace when managing records, time, benefits and more.

2. Product Mindset for HR Teams

Many businesses invest heavily in knowing their customers and continuously working to improve their products and services. It may feel uncomfortable for HR professionals who don’t think of themselves as working in sales or market research, but they can benefit from using a product mindset and treating their employees like a business treats its customers.

Leaders in the HR field are taking notice. When organizations put as much effort into retaining their workforce as they do their customers – offering flexible working options, competitive health care and wellness benefits, and company values that align with and support their employees – they can better equip themselves to navigate the changing labor market.

3. Managing the Evolving Workplace

While remote work options are now a preferred structure for many employees and employers, it can pose challenges for everyone involved. Informal conversations at the office or the proverbial water cooler are less frequent, and the inability to have conversations on the fly impacts brainstorming, collaboration and communication, which in turn affects productivity and maintaining cohesive teams.

To solve these and other related issues, HR professionals are increasingly integrating solutions to ensure business continuity, innovation, and teamwork, no matter where their workers are. Aside from cloud and agile software applications that allow people to work together asynchronously, other solutions include:

  • Creating organizational designs that promote cross-functional teams – which can include employees, contractors and gig workers – while endorsing diversity and new ideas and reducing the potential for groupthink.
  • Designing workplaces – both physical and digital – that encourage teams to work together and bridge gaps in communication and collaboration.

4. Increased Focus on Employee Mental Health

The disruptions of recent years – both at work and at home – have led to a new era for mental health in the workplace. Consider these results from the 2021 Mental Health at Work Report published by Mind Share Partners:

  • 84% of respondents reported at least one workplace factor that negatively impacted their mental health.
  • 68% of Millennial and 81% of Generation Z respondents reported leaving a job for mental health reasons.
  • 91% of respondents believed that a company’s culture should support mental health.

There is reason to be optimistic. In the same report, 54% of respondents believed that mental health was prioritized by their employer, compared to 41% in the 2019 version of survey. The more an organization can support its workers in every area of their lives – including their mental health – the more they can retain their employees in a competitive job market.

Related: Why Stress is a Workplace Safety Issue

Preparing for What’s Ahead

As physical and online workplaces continue to evolve, HR professionals will be on the front lines of developing and implementing new and improved strategies.

Here at Columbia Southern University, we’re committed to helping our human resource management students achieve their professional goals. Our online degrees in human resources – including degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels – feature classes in compensation and benefits, employment law, information systems management, and more.

To learn more about our online degree programs in human resource management, visit our website.

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