Issue: Given the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, your organization has been constantly adapting to change without much proactive planning for the future. What workplace trends can you expect for the coming year?
Answer: Based on input from organizational, talent and leadership experts from across the globe, Korn Ferry identified these 10 key trends that will impact how, when, and where we work:
1. The Great Resignation. For some time, companies have struggled with a shrinking talent pool, but the global pandemic accelerated this talent shortage to a degree no one could have predicted. Over half (55 percent) of professionals believe that employee turnover will increase in 2022, according to a Korn Ferry survey, and 31 percent say they would leave their job even if they didn’t have another one lined up. To crack a tight labor market, companies are raising starting salaries, offering more long-term incentives and benefits, and paying sign-on bonuses even for less-senior hires.
2. The rise of the career nomad. The workscape has transformed before our eyes with people working anywhere, everywhere, and at any time. Baby Boomers are retiring, and career nomads are looking for change — early and often. A Korn Ferry survey found that 32 percent of professionals don’t think they’ll ever go back to the office full-time. Another survey found that 36 percent of professionals plan to take a different job in the near future because the pandemic allowed them to re-evaluate what they want and the change they need. Workers are embracing agility like never before.
3. The Connection Conundrum. The pandemic caused a move from hour-long in-person meetings to condensed half-hour Zoom calls — and virtual everything. In 2022, leaders need to be more deliberate about creating opportunities for deeper connections within their companies, or risk employees going deeper into silos. Organizations must instill a culture of listening, understanding, and inspiring employees to feel more connected.
4. Hidden in plain sight. The people you have will become the people you need. Facing a talent shortage means organizations will start to focus more on internal mobility, reskilling, and upskilling existing employees to prevent attrition and fill niche roles. To achieve their reskilling goals, some companies are upping their training, development, coaching, and mentorship programs and creating more on-the-job learning experiences, while others are investing in new technologies to help advance careers.
5. Moving from disruption to reinvention. In 2022, change means opportunity. Much of the past two years has been about organizations changing what they did and how they did it because they had to, without much consideration or planning for the future. But there is a flipside to this disruption. If companies can harness the agility and flexibility shown by their workforces, they have an opportunity to reinvent themselves for a new age — finding solutions for shortages, climate change, digital acceleration, supply chain issues, and ever-shifting consumer demands.
6. Enhanced action on sustainability. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainability issues are now firmly on the boardroom agenda. The demand for organizations to take action will grow more intense in 2022. More and more organizations are waking up to the reality that science alone will not get them where they need to be. Meaningful transformation requires changes in mindset and skillsets.
7. Putting health and wellness center stage. Employees feel increasingly burned out from an abundance of Zoom sessions, a lack of connectedness to colleagues, a lack of separation between work and home, and a myriad of personal challenges rising from the pandemic and social unrest. As a result, organizations are increasingly prioritizing employee wellbeing. This is far more than introducing mental health initiatives or fitness-related perks; culture change is required. Leaders need to become skilled at discussing mental and personal health with team members.
8. Casting a wider net in the search for talent. Faced with a chronic talent shortage, organizations are easing up on job qualifications like four-year college degrees and years of previous experience. Employers are going outside of their industry, within the retired workforce, and to other nontraditional places to find the people and skills they need.
9. Increased accountability. As remote and hybrid work become normalized, leaders recognize that in 2022 they will need to devote more time to building new working cultures to match. Welcome to a world of frequent check-ins and continuous feedback, where agile, collaborative employees are most likely to thrive. Increased accountability is hitting the C-suite, too. Corporate leaders are under increasing pressure to hire and develop people from under-represented groups, pay workers equitably, and take stands on social issues.
10. The shift from "me" to "we." The last 24 months brought once-in-a-generation levels of global disruption and political unrest. They also brought the very best humanity can offer, whether it’s the scientists who developed vaccines at record-breaking speed or communities that rallied together through difficult times. It pays to work together for good. Community doesn’t just give us meaning, it gets results. In the year ahead, a rise in collaborative working practices and shared goals is expected.
Source: Korn Ferry Identifies 10 Key Talent and Leadership Trends for 2022, issued November 2, 2021.
From WCI's HR Answers Now ©2021 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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