Eight HR trends to embrace for 2022
19 January 2022

Eight HR trends to embrace for 2022

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Emma-Louise Jones

Emma-Louise Jones

Emma-Louise Jones is digital PR manager at Ciphr. She is a member of the PRCA and has worked in PR, communications and marketing for over 15 years.

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Future of Work Leadership and management

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From innovative recruitment to building a skills taxonomy and re-onboarding, Ciphr’s HR leaders – chief people officer Claire Williams, head of people Gwenan West, and head of talent Bradley Burgoyne – share their thoughts on what’s to come in 2022.

Talent marketplace

Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent: “In a world where it’s harder than ever to find external, qualified candidates, the internal talent marketplace becomes a ‘must have’ strategic objective for HR leaders in 2022. Organisations will need to reskill and redeploy their existing employees to help fill the growing skills gap that’s impacting many industries – particularly tech. The talent marketplace enables this to happen; by opening career development and job mobility opportunities to existing employees, organisations can better utilise their expertise and increase productivity. Projects get staffed by highly expert and skilled employees, with everyone feeling more empowered. Enabling employees to learn new skills and access new career pathways will become business critical for talent development and retention this year.”

Healthy organisations – beyond wellbeing

Claire Williams, chief people officer: “Employers need to start thinking more broadly about how to evolve into a truly positive, healthy organisation – one which looks beyond traditional health and safety, beyond mental health, beyond Covid strategies, and includes areas such as physical fitness and wellbeing, shared purpose, equality and diversity, and social connectivity and responsibility. These are incredibly challenging times, and there are many things outside of an employer’s control that can take a toll on the workforce. It’s important that employers take a holistic approach to supporting their employees, which will help to build a more healthy, successful and sustainable organisation in the long run.”

Innovative recruitment

Gwenan West, head of people: “The ongoing competition for high-quality candidates means that organisations need to be even more inventive in the ways they attract talent. As a result, more employers will look to engage with candidates via social media channels rather than through traditional job boards. This tailored approach enables employers to target certain groups using different social media platforms. For example, LinkedIn networking is useful for filling mid-level or senior roles, while GitHub (a software development platform) and Stack Overflow (a Q&A website for developers and technologists) are useful for sourcing candidates for more technical roles.

West adds: “Employers will also need to be much open and transparent about their values and what their future goals are. Candidates are becoming much more discerning and want to work for employers who share their core values and sense of purpose. So, they will take into account what messaging and imagery is being conveyed on a corporate social media account. If they don’t relate to what they see, they may not consider applying.”

Burgoyne: “The current war for talent shows no sign of letting up this year. Employers will need to take new approaches to finding and defining the talent they want – thinking outside of the box when it comes to standing out against the competition. The good news for innovative recruitment professionals is, according to global LinkedIn data, that the demand for their expertise has increased seven-fold (in June 2021, compared to June 2020). So, there’s plenty of scope for recruiters to push the boundaries and be bold with their ideas to attract top talent.”

Williams: “Employers should consider their employee value proposition (EVP) carefully and ensure their HR strategy and objectives align to make their organisation attractive to future talent and prospective candidates. More importantly, it needs to help retain their current workforce. Career and development opportunities, non-monetary benefits, market-value salary, more flexible ways of working, and a healthy work-life balance all form part of a wide set of ways to stem resignations and ensure employees feel valued and happy.”

Digital mindset

Williams: “Workplace tech advances – particularly those spurred on by the mass adoption of remote working during the pandemic – have transformed the way many organisations work. In most cases, this fast-tracked digitalisation has brought with it a lot of benefits in relation to improved efficiencies and productivity, reduced costs, and relationship building across teams. It has enabled a huge volume of employees to change how (and where) they work forever. The challenge now is to ensure that employers get the right balance of technology and people – and consider how best to screen and hire new talent that have the right digital skills and digital mindset. Employers also need to upskill their existing employees on the etiquette and use of these digital tools to ensure the efficient day to day running of their organisation.”

Skills, skills, skills

Burgoyne: “As the world of work continues to evolve and change at an ever-increasing pace, the need to focus on skills has never been more important for companies to continue to adapt and thrive. Every organisation will need to identify the skills its employees possess, define the skills that are needed for the future, look at where the gaps are today and build a plan to resolve those gaps. HR leaders will want to incorporate skills initiatives into their strategic plans, as solving the skills challenge will require a focus on building a skills taxonomy – an easy-to-understand way of structuring and measuring skills to identify the core capabilities and shortages of an organisation.”

Collaborative workspaces

West: “Given the increase in hybrid and remote working, the way in which we use physical office spaces will change. More office buildings will be redesigned as collaborative areas rather than the traditional workstations, providing more relaxed areas to encourage collaboration and creative thinking.”

Williams: “Many organisations have proven beyond any doubt that, on the whole, they can successfully work remotely. And many will continue to run either 100% remote or a hybrid working model going forward. One of the huge positives of the work from home mandate during the pandemic is that many employers accept and trust that their employees can be productive and do their jobs well from home. The challenge now – in 2022 – is to strike a balance in achieving the best of both worlds – one that works for employees and employers. Organisations especially need to consider how best to ensure that employees who work from home – some or all of the time – are actively engaged and benefit from a healthy mix of collaborative working and vital social connectivity.”

People analytics and ethics

Burgoyne: “Building and maintaining trust should be at the forefront of an organisation’s HR strategy when it comes to people analytics and the growing use of AI to provide in-depth data insights. With much HR admin now automated, it’s never been easier to collect reams and reams of data from employees. But people need to trust how this data will be stored and used – otherwise they may start withholding it. Some organisations have tackled this by creating an ethics charter, with guiding principles that are shared with employees to help drive trust and transparency around people analytics and how AI will be used by HR. There are tangible business benefits to taking this approach: research by Accenture found that companies that have taken a more transparent approach to their people data saw a direct improvement in employee trust, which, in turn, helped future revenue growth.”

Re-onboarding

West: “Multiple lockdowns, restrictions, and forced home-working periods, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will have created a disconnect, to some degree, in most employees. So much has changed in the past two years, an individual’s priorities and outlook on life is likely to have changed too. Organisations that want to return to full-time office working in 2022 will have the challenge of re-engaging and re-onboarding employees back to the office environment. They’ll need to consider ways to encourage employees that may be reluctant to return, such as flexible working or four-day weeks for example, to make working from the office as attractive as working from home.”

Claire Williams is chief people officer at Ciphr, and a fellow of the CIPD – the UK’s professional body for HR. She leads Ciphr’s people and development strategy, overseeing the group’s HR, L&D and consultancy services, and customer support and service delivery activities.
Gwenan West is head of people at Ciphr. She’s a member of the CIPD and has been working in HR for over 25 years.
Bradley Burgoyne is head of talent at Ciphr, responsible for managing the group’s learning and development and recruitment teams.