2022 is set to be a transformative year for HR. People Management leaders will be looking to refresh and review their strategies and to adapt organisations towards working life in a post-pandemic world.
Here are five key trends that ELMO has identified that will be influencing people management during 2022.
1. The evolution of employee experience (EX)
The importance of employee experience, often referred to as EX, is evolving. It is looking at creating moments that matter in an employee’s day, year and career (according to McKinsey). Employee experience will also cover a broader spectrum that includes:
- Health & Safety
- Work-life balance
- Learning & development
To deliver this kind of coverage in 2022, employee experience is more than just HR’s responsibility. It will become much more of a company-wide initiative, driven by HR leaders.
Reimagining the employee experience
How do you reconfigure your employer experience? Here’s a look at the ‘3Bs’ that build a solid foundation: Belonging, Becoming, and Believing.
Belonging focuses on fostering positive work relationships. The feeling of security is a basic human need. Satisfying this need is essential for an effective employee experience. And it means creating a safe and encouraging environment where employees feel free to communicate and share.
Becoming focuses on Learning and growth. For a successful employee experience, employers should provide employees with opportunities to improve and develop. Whether it’s new roles and responsibilities or adding to their competencies, these growth opportunities contribute to a positive experience, and thus greater retention and employee engagement.
Believing is the addition of the individual’s personal meaning of work. This aspect focuses on building relationships rather than managing transactions. By looking beyond productivity and understanding employees personal vested interests within the professional setting, you can build an organisation of which people want to be a part.
2. The importance of skill mapping and ‘adjacent skills’
With the UK experiencing the worst labour shortage since World War II, building an internal talent management process is becoming more essential than ever. Rather than relying on external recruitment, organisations will be looking to develop from within: To identify future needs and build a workforce that can fill them. To do so, they will need to employ two key HR functions: Skill mapping and the identification of adjacent skills.
What is skill mapping?
Skill mapping is the auditing and management of employees’ skills. This skillset exploration goes beyond the skills required for their current role and into other areas in which they could add value to an organisation.
It can be done on an individual, team and organisational level and feed into development plans across the business. Ideally, a skills map should show both what skills are needed for a given role and how far an employee is along the required skills pathway.
What are adjacent skills?
This refers to skills an employee has above and beyond those used for their role. They are the related abilities and competencies that may not be featured on a CV. An example of this would be somebody who codes as a hobby.
By identifying adjacent skills, an HR team can explore ways in which these abilities can expand roles and offer new opportunities to develop.
Tips for identifying skill adjacencies
- Build a shareable portfolio of employee skills
- Search for skill adjacencies that may not be immediately obvious
- Create flexible career path opportunities
- Engage in conversation; don’t force employees to make changes
3. Performance management will fundamentally change
There is no longer a ‘typical’ employee experience.. There are too many variables to consider – including from where people work.
The way that HR teams track performance will also have to change with the times – and emerging trends. For example, three major current HR trends include:
• A stronger emphasis on team, rather than individual, performance
• Greater use of personalised, on-demand, data-driven performance feedback
• An increased interest in people analytics and performance data applications
So how do you handle the transition to data becoming the key tool for performance monitoring? Here are some tips:
Focus on contribution, not just performance
An increase in hybrid workforces and more complex processes means a more nuanced approach is required. Performance should be more than just productivity to consider the employee’s overall contribution to the organisation.
Enable timely, flexible goal setting
Agility is going to be crucial when navigating volatile post-pandemic waters. Employee goals should be flexible and able to adapt to evolving company requirements. A greater emphasis should be placed on project-based work and improving feedback.
Think about what’s important to employees
The blurring of boundaries between work and home means re-evaluating the role employment plays in people’s lives. Build an open, honest and empathetic culture that’s based on the opportunities and challenges that this poses.
4. HR influence will be driven by data storytelling
With data playing such an important role in people management, better ways to present and interpret digital information will be explored. Beyond the graphs, charts and tables, what’s the narrative?
For HR teams, there are four key stories that data can help to tell:
Patterns and trends: What are the general changes and movements the data is showing?
Rank order/league tables: Which departments are doing best and worst, where are most skill gaps appearing?
Surprising or counterintuitive data: How can data challenge established attitudes and beliefs in order to promote better practices?
Finding relationships: Linking data to look for correlations and causation – what’s the cause of that boost in productivity?
Drilling down into data helps to tell a story and build strategy. Here are some tips on how to tell stories with data:
Be specific: Understand your audience and tailor your presentation to what motivates and interests them.
Simple design to focus attention: Simple, fuss-free design choices can make a huge difference when presenting graphs and charts – removing visual clutter and emphasising what’s important.
Use words, not just data: Bolster the visuals with text that communicates the message and helps to build the narratives. Add key takeaways.
5. AI bridging the gap between HR and other departments
Lastly, the vital role of artificial intelligence (AI) in improving business performance will be a theme of 2022. The benefits are already been seen in HR with artificial intelligence being used to:
• Predict future performance of hires
• Estimate future employee flight risks
• Raise performance and behavioural flags for managers
• Identify potential bias and inequalities in pay and benefits
• Serve employees 24/7 via virtual agents
The future: AI and scenario planning
Instead of replacing human decision-making, AI will increasingly augment the decision-making process. It will help to analyse and interpret the data that’s gathered across a workforce and help present multiple scenarios to business leaders.
A Forbes article has described this kind of scenario planning as:
“Scenarios are alternate futures in which today’s decisions may play out. They are stories with beginnings, middles and ends. Good scenarios have twists and turns that show how the environment might change over time.”
Summary: Rethink and reskill for 2022
These trends highlight the important role that HR leaders are set to play in 2022 as they reconfigure organisations for a post-pandemic world. This requires HR strategies, tools and processes to be attuned to hybrid workforces and flexible ways of working.
It’s an opportunity for HR leaders to move into a proactive phase – to review challenges ahead and identify ways to build organisations that can thrive. For this to happen, HR leaders need the support and investment that’s required to implement change. Having the right digital tools and services is essential for people teams looking to build engaged, agile and remote-friendly workforces for 2022 and beyond.
ELMO can help support your business in 2022, find out more about how we can support your HR, talent and learning software needs here.