It’s hard to believe we’re about to hit the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. So much has changed over these past years and many lessons have been learned. One of the biggest shifts has been in the way we work.

Throughout the pandemic, the employers that have succeeded have been the ones that focused on their employees’ wellbeing, helping them to manage work-from-home transitions, burnout, resignations, and emotional stress. Innovative companies adapted by focusing on engagement and culture, remembering that it’s people who really make the difference in difficult times like these. 

As we look ahead into this year, The Workforce Institute at UKG is confident companies will need to put an even greater emphasis on their people. Specifically, here are its five major predictions of top trends that will impact the global workforce in 2022. 

1) Employee Expectations Will Challenge Employer Capabilities

At the start of the pandemic, employment dropped as many U.S. businesses closed essentially overnight. While employers have worked since then to resume pre-pandemic levels of operations, globally, the labor market is far from recovered. 

There will be continued uncertainty in 2022 as many employees have used the time to rethink their career paths, and we’ve seen a decline in labor-force participation. A shifting labor market will create ripples across the talent pool as today’s employees are empowered with choice. If employers want to attract top talent, they’ll need to come up with more creative benefits. Some of those incentives will include: 

  • Higher wages
  • Increased schedule flexibility
  • Hybrid working opportunities
  • Competitive time-off plans 
  • Family-related leave and care benefits

Business and human resources (HR) leaders will need to make significant decisions about how they can afford to meet these new requirements if they want to exceed employee expectations. 

2) Business Leaders Will Invest Even More in People-centric Experiences

Another lesson we’ve learned during the pandemic is that people aren’t built to be resilient for years on end. Whether it’s dealing with COVID outbreaks, in-person interactions with less-than-understanding customers, or trying to keep productivity up with fewer coworkers to help out, asking employees to perform the equivalent of sprinting a marathon results in apathy as employees are forced to balance personal preservation over professional performance. 

More than ever, listening to employees and taking action on their feedback will be critical in 2022. Employers will need to foster a culture of compassion for employees and prioritize life-work balance if they want to thrive, not to mention survive. This means taking into consideration the whole employee—including their physical and mental health. 

3) Retaining Top Talent Will Require Manager Training and Mentorship Programs 

2022 will be the year of people leaders. Think about it like this: when you can retain great leaders, they can retain great people. Accomplishing the first will require developing more training programs to educate and empower your people managers. 

Employers will also need to improve support systems for people managers and cultivate a leadership experience built on trust, transparency, and care. As part of this effort, employers will need to devote more time to engage the next generation of workers with more education and resources to help them grow, including emotional support.

4) Employers of Choice Will Stay Ahead of the Compliance Curve

From vaccine mandates to data protection, the list of disparate rules and regulations for employers to manage is ever-growing and ever-changing. Compliance has been a major juggling act as employees job hop, work remotely, and even move to new states. 

In 2022, employers will need to reconcile international regulatory challenges to ensure compliance, support the choices of their employees, and meet unpredictable customer demand. Organizations that proactively respond to regulatory and compliance-related issues—staying ahead of pending legislative “catch-up”—will be better prepared to manage the global workplace challenges of the future. 

5) ESG and CSR Emerge as Make-or-break Assets for Business Stability and Growth

In our highly political and divided world, employers will need to navigate important issues like gender equity, racial justice, and more within the workplace if they want to succeed not only with their employees, but with customers as well. We have seen many employers make commitments to diversity, equity, and social justice over the past few years, and employees will expect this trend to continue moving into the future. 

HR and other business leaders will need to leverage surveys and feedback opportunities to understand internal perspectives on the key issues that matter to their employees. This will require renewed efforts in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts among employers.

Partner with Surety Systems for Future Success

Employers have a huge responsibility right now. To attract and retain the best talent in the marketplace, organizations must strengthen (if they haven’t already created) an employee-centric culture. Doing so means listening to and understanding what employees need to succeed at work and in their personal lives. 

No matter how you’re looking to support your staff—whether that’s by getting them a consultant to help shoulder their workload or bringing in a subject matter expert to train them on a new solution—Surety Systems is committed to your success this year

To learn what we can do to help your team succeed, contact us today.