March 9, 2022

7 HR trends that will shape 2022

The last few years have been a period of enormous change for many workplaces. Now we look ahead at the 7 HR trends to expect in 2022.

1. Hybrid work to become a permanent feature of employment

The pandemic has given people a taste of working from home and I think we can now say with certainty that it’s highly unlikely we’ll go back to the pre-pandemic office, at least in the white-collar world. Flexible working is here to stay. Many employees enjoy it and many, if not most, don’t want to return to full-time office work.

But that said, the pandemic has also taught us that the workplace offers value too – it makes connecting and collaborating easier, it helps us build friendships and it lets us engage in the informal part of work where so many of the best ideas and plans are hatched.

This year, I think it’s likely we’ll see most office-based employers introduce a blended workplace, where people are expected to be in the office sometimes but can perform their work wherever they want for most of the time.

2. New ways to communicate

During the pandemic, many of us were bombarded by emails, messages and posts and meeting requests, Let’s be honest, how many did you leave unread? The problem was with so many different ways to communicate available, a lot of offices found a lot of messages and even meetings were missed. And even if we got it right internally, our clients were on different systems (Should we use Teams, Zoom or Google Hangouts?)

In 2022, I think we’ll see a lot more workplaces put more effort into getting their communications systems right. I also think we’ll see communication systems become more standardised between workplaces.

3. New office designs

With fewer people in the office, a lot of workplaces have a lot of empty space and I don’t think that’s necessarily going to change. The simple fact is that many workplaces don’t require as much space anymore (see 1 above).

When people do come together in the workplace, it will be more often to collaborate and that requires a different kind of space too. So expect more informally designed workplaces to spring up, with more breakout spaces, communal areas and, of course, meeting rooms. Would anyone complain if 2022 spells the end of the office cubicle?

4. The rise of the offsite

We’ve been kept apart for much of the two years and that’s had real implications for those strategic meetings, as well as for our chances to interact with peers and colleagues. So expect 2022 to be the year the offsite returns in a big way.

Whether that’s a company-wide meeting, a division or practice group strategy session, or even a combined seminar with clients, expect this to be the year you get out from behind the desk.

5. An intensified war for talent

The pandemic has caused labour shortages like we haven’t seen in some time. And it’s likely these will only intensify as our economy heads back into full swing. That means employers are going to have to do what they can to attract and retain top talent.

This could translate into new workplace policies such as a shorter working week or unlimited leave. It could open up the possibility of new payment arrangements such as profit sharing. And it could lead to a whole generation of employees having the opportunity to progress their careers.

6. Wage rises

When the balance of power tips towards employees, it usually means one thing: wage rises. And that’s exactly what I think we’re going to see in 2022.

Employers who want to retain good staff may have to start paying them more, plain and simple. And that has repercussions across the whole business and beyond.

7. The year of the manager

Finally, with hybrid working, a new reliance on technology, and the balance of power shifting towards the employee, I think this will be the year that the best managers really shine. The manager of 2022 will have to be personable and be able to get the best out of employees without micromanaging. They’ll need to be trusted. They’ll need to be able to communicate with a workforce and drive productivity when people often aren’t on site. And they’ll need to communicate in an effective and efficient way that cuts through the digital noise.

In many ways, I think this is the most exciting HR trends and development we’ll see over the next 12 months.

Want more about HR trends for 2022?

If you’d like to know more about the HR trends likely to shape 2022, get in touch.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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