What should HR prioritise as we move into 2022?

HR Recruiter Jen Gaster from HR Heads explores the what next for HR professionals as we move into 2022.

The last 18 to 24 months have been crazy.

We’ve talked endlessly about Brexit, about trade deals, about COVID, about furlough, and I think we’re all pretty much fed up with that, Omicron is slightly there in the background, giving us some concern about what next, but all being well, we are as a business surviving and as an industry and a profession, we’ve been absolutely crucial to that survival.

Certainly, over the last year, 50% of businesses have outperformed what they expected to, 48% of those businesses have grown by more than 25%, and 36% of those businesses have certainly increased their headcount*.

So, we know as recruiters that we’re busy and we know businesses are trying really hard to get the best talent through the door. And I would suggest that that’s where the challenge comes.

The EVP of a business has been really critical over the last year because the war on talent has been talked about, we’re talking about the great resignation we’re anticipating in early 2022, and my advice to businesses right now is to try and look at the best talent in the market, not the talent on the market.

So, we need to be really creative about how we attract people out of what is a secure role with a business that might have been quite loyal to them over the last few years that they will owe and feel very secure in.

Trying to attract that talent out of the business is going to be critical and using your EVP, your employee value proposition and your brand to do that will be absolutely critical.

What does that mean for HR over the next sort of 24 months?

Well, we’re going to see and we’re already starting to see a demand in Employee Relations experts come to the market. I’m working with businesses that are creating that as a brand new role, as much as I’m working with businesses that are adding to their teams that specialise Employee Relations. And I’m not just talking about disciplinary and grievance and how to manage the casework.

I’m talking about people that can specialise in working with line managers in the business to educate, to support them, especially where we’ve got leadership and management teams that are now working remotely.

How do you have that difficult conversation?

How do you respond when you are put on the spot and empowering those people with the skill set to have either the right conversation or to put a pin in the conversation and say, let me just pause there and find out and come back to you, rather than having to unpick something is definitely going to be on the HR agenda.

The other key anticipation I have for 2022 will be in the Learning and Development and OD space.

We’re still seeing businesses go through change and transformation, both with infrastructure as we think about a return to the office, whether that’s hybrid working, that’s 100% back in the office or whether Omicron sets us back a little bit and we return purely to homeworking.

But there is that change in transformation piece going on, not just in the physical structure, but also in the structure of the organisation from the way it’s purely set up, we’re seeing a lot of efficiency drives and business process improvement roles come into play that would change the way that the business operates to create economies of scale.

And with that, I see the big need sitting in the L&D space around that leadership and management capability. Whether that continues to be remote, whether it comes hybrid or whether it comes back into the office, there’s going to need to be an investment in our people to make them feel really rewarded as an individual in the organisation, so those skills are going to come to the fore.

Aside from reward, I think recognition is going to be a key part to play in 2022, and investing in the L&D capability of your team is one way to really recognize and reward their commitment to you as an organisation.

So, they are my top tips for what HR will need to look into certainly at the beginning of 2022, and I hope that’s helpful.

As always, I’d be really keen to hear your thoughts and what the HR practitioners are actually seeing on the ground.

* ONS data