HR has not only navigated employers and employees through nearly two turbulent years, but has also been at the helm of driving business transformation – all whilst faced with changing Covid-19 regulations, a national ‘pingdemic’, the great resignation and the global skill shortage felt by almost every sector. Here we look at HR Expectations for 2022.

Leaders sought the experienced hand of HR professionals to facilitate the sudden move to remote working, updating policies in line with national regulations, onboarding new hires in the virtual world, and supporting the mental health and wellbeing needs that increased as a result of reduced socialisation.

As we head into 2022, how has the role of HR evolved, and what are some of the topics we can expect from the industry in the next 12 months?

HR Expectations for 2022

Flexible Working

The pandemic has meant that HR has had to reassess all of their organisation’s working practices. There is much more consideration towards the concept of flexible working, while at the same time ensuring that consistent business operations remain priority.

Indeed, a third of UK workers would consider quitting if they weren’t offered the option of flexible working. However, there is a huge difference between working from home and working from home during a crisis. A global crisis such as Covid brings with it so many extra considerations that would otherwise not exist and HR has been pivotal in supporting work-life balance via a fair, consistent and sustainable approach to flexible working.

With Government ministers publishing a report allowing workers to request flexible working arrangements as a day one right, flexible working is here to stay.

Company Culture

Your culture defines who your business is; it’s the foundations upon which your company is built. A great culture is the thread connecting you all, not only to your values and goals but to your teammates, partners & customers. What is a business, if not a joint effort of a team to bring and create value?

A company’s culture has now extended beyond the four walls of the office and into employees’ homes. This in itself presents a challenge but flexible working underlines the importance of company culture even more because it is the basis of many decisions. If it isn’t managed properly, employees can lose sight of the mission, vision, and other messaging core to each organisation.

HR should take the lead in closing any gap between current culture and desired culture. Keeping focus is vital in sustaining good company culture that everyone buys into and includes in their everyday working lives, especially during times of uncertainty. A strong culture is essential for both short-term recovery and long-term success and, if built on purpose and ingrained values, it will support retention and recruitment efforts in the new year.

Human element of HR

People are the business of HR practitioners but ensuring wellbeing when many employees are not on-site – and thus have less face-to-face time – means HR has an even more difficult job in extending the human touch. But resilient organisations are led by resilient leaders who display empathy, compassion and strong decision-making abilities.

Renowned HR thought leader Josh Bersin proposes that CEO now stands for Chief Empathy Officer. HR’s role is to coach and encourage all leaders, at all levels, and to develop these essential skills.

Resilience extends to employees too. When they are resilient, they thrive, work well in teams, and are motivated to achieve the organisation’s purpose. Employees who are thriving will report fewer health problems, fewer sick days, less worry, stress and anger, and more happiness, interest, and enjoyment in their work.

2022 & HR

The pandemic highlighted the importance of human resources and effective people management skills. Despite all business leaders experiencing a rapid period of transformation, no other role has needed to evolve as quickly as that of the HR Director – and never has the need for HR professionals been so central to business functionality.

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