Top Priorities for HR in 2022

By the start of this year, organizations had begun in earnest to restructure around the lingering pandemic, which required them to rethink the way they and their employees relate.

Now with the year ending, but with time still remaining to get things done, let’s review the top priorities for HR in 2022. Soon it will be time to look back at what changed.

The Issue

The start of this year saw COVID-19 on a fits-and-starts downward trajectory that continues to this day. It’s also hard to know if winter – and indoors – will bring another surge. Having dealt with the outbreak’s patterns for nearly three years now, many organizations are sticking with some manner of hybrid work.

It’s true that many companies, depending on the kind of business it is, its size, and other factors, have summoned everyone back to central offices. Still other organizations went completely remote at the pandemic’s onset and have not gone back. 

Such tumult has only served to accelerate the transformation of human resources, which has gone from something of a catch phrase to a means for survival — for many, at least. The pandemic hammered home that organizations simply cannot thrive without digitalized work and agile workforces.

What are the Human Resources Priorities for 2022?

The forecast was for employers to continue doing strategic workforce planning for this year as well as for 2023, with the transformative pandemic slowed but not counted out. More than 800 leaders from a myriad of regions and industries indicated in a survey where they thought organizations were headed. Let’s glimpse at what they said. 

Some Hybrid Work Will Remain

Early this year, most organizations were trying to determine how to adjust to the fact that many of their employees would continue to work remotely, while others would return to the workplace. That remains to be the case with many employers, who would do well to hew to and build upon what they learned and went through during the throes of the pandemic.

That means you must revaluate job duties and positions, while folding in optimal ways to use technology, including new forms of digitization. Be certain that all tasks contribute value to the organization.

Empathize

Scores of people were still stressed out early this year, and now many employees are dealing with a constant level of trauma from which they have yet to emerge. So, not only is expressing empathy the right thing to do, doing so can be beneficial to you: a Gallup survey found that only 24 percent of employees intuit that their organization cares about them. That’s a drop from 49 percent during the height of the pandemic. Employees who feel valued and cared for tend to remain with the organization.

In all, HR digital transformation requires you to prioritize people above processes, embrace growth, and “ask” more than you “tell.” Focus on optimizing the employee experience, which will, in turn, help with employee recruitment and retention.

Skills vs. Roles

The forecast was for employers to prioritize evolving skill needs. Many organizations have gotten help aligning talent with organizational roles from benefits consultants such as Mercer. That’s because it takes a data-driven strategy to understand, assess, and keep track of skills at every level.

Accentuate the Positive

That same survey showed that 54 percent of employees were burned out from all the pandemic-caused changes. Now that the business environment is settled in for a bit – for now – organizations should take the time to embrace and promote favorable change. They should underscore with their employees what’s going well and what the future could hold.

In the main, top priorities for HR in 2022 amounted to an operations overhaul. If you haven’t begun transforming human resources in this still-changing business environment, you’re perilously late. However, you still must make the transition. We recommend getting Mercer to help you.