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5 HR trends and challenges to watch in 2022



Alok Bansal - MD and Country Head at Visionet India


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Year 2022 will be the third year of COVID-19. So, what will 2022 look like from an HR perspective? What would be some of the top trends in the coming calendar year with regard to HR and HR practices?

The onset of COVID-19 saw a world of changes in the way corporates work. Chief among these were near-complete curtailment of travel for business, end to physical meetings, and work-from-home in place of regular attendance in office. Organisations saw all departmental functions being turned upside down. One of these departments is Human Resources or HR, where most of its conventional practices and processes were swept aside, and replaced by new out-of-the-box and tech-driven ideas.

Adversely affecting the lives around the globe, COVID-19 continues to be a danger even as we are nearing the end of 2021. Despite governments in many countries, including India, easing the lockdown norms, companies are wary of telling their employees to resume offices. Companies like Google and Microsoft globally, and TCS in India, among a host of others, have said their employees will continue to work from homes at least till the end of 2021.

Year 2022 will be the third year of COVID-19. So, what will 2022 look like from an HR perspective? What would be some of the top trends in the coming calendar year with regard to HR and HR practices?

Mobility – Internal versus External; Retention

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2021, internal hiring for positions becoming vacant is on the rise. From 16.5 percent in the April-August period of 2019, it has increased to 19.6 percent in the same period of 2020. That’s an increase of 19 percent. Industry experts suggest that the trend of hiring from within the organisation instead of looking for external candidates will remain on the rise in 2022. While saving on recruitment, selection and training cost remains an important factor, rewarding the employees who  stuck with the organisations in the torrid time is the main driving force behind this trend.

By improving employee gratification and saving the cost, this could turn out to be a win-win situation for both employers and employees if both go by the spirit of the trend.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

According to Gartner’s 2021 HR Budget and Staffing Survey, a significant 45% of HR professionals plan to spend more on diversity and inclusion and 46% will maintain their previous budget figure. Only 9% plan to cut down on the figure.

In this time of COVID-19 when people are stressed, scared and even scarred (due to deaths among loved ones, having fallen sick due to COVID-19, or having to act as caregivers to COVID-19 patients), it is important for HR to focus energies and funds on keeping the employees together like a flock. If one is weak, he / she may need to be lent support by others in the team, making them feel important for the organisation.

Revamp of Employee Perks, Benefits

COVID-19 has pushed aside the days of table tennis sets in office space, beer and free food on weekends. According to the Perkbox 2021 Employee Desired Perks, employees are keen to have good work-life balance. Employees now cooped up at homes also look for discounts and subsidies on things they buy / consume at home, and incentives in the form of cash and promotion for the extra hours and odd hours of work they put in. Coming up with creative perks will be a major job for HR professionals in 2022.

Use of AI, ML; Upskilling; Remote Working

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has made screening and hiring much easier for the HR professionals. In the coming years, HR professionals will be seen putting these technologies to greater use to find the best-fits for the roles for which they are hiring. From employees’ point of view, AI and ML will help them be engaged in meaningful work.

Upskilling of employees will be one new area where HR professionals would be keen to spend more money than in the past. As new technologies come to the market, it makes more sense – financially and morally – to upskill existing employees than take on new ones too often.

With regular office attendance still a while away, employers will need to join the dots for employees working remotely. To keep employees motivated, companies will need to ensure the availability of functional laptops, UPS, Internet connections and some leeway to work in non-office hours.

Aligning Corporate Goals with Employee Aspirations

Companies have a growth chart. Their actions are aligned to this chart. In these times of COVID-19, the growth chart / aspirations chart of employees too need to be aligned to that of the company for faster, smoother and longer-term growth of both employees and company.