Author: Olivia Parrish,
Published: 18.01.22

11 HR trends for 2022

Increased employee turnover, hybrid working and economic disruption are just some of the challenges that emerged as a result of COVID-19. As HR teams look to take advantage in the aftermath of the pandemic, certain trends have accelerated and appeared, as identified by the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) in their latest report.

This article will outline the 11 trends AIHR has identified and explain how you can prepare effectively to get ahead and make a difference to your team in 2022.

1. Switching to a product mindset

To deliver change in your business, it’s likely that you’ve focused on delivering a set of projects. With a timeline, set deliverables and an end date, projects are designed to create efficiencies and provide solutions to problems. However, by switching to a product mindset, you can start to deliver change that brings real value to your business.

A product mindset involves having a thorough understanding of what your ‘customers’ need, developing an employee experience using a design-thinking approach and looking to deliver value by making continuous improvements and innovations. This means that rather than taking a ‘one-and-done’ short-term approach, you can look to develop an effective long-term strategy.

2. Prioritise collaboration

Hybrid working is now a reality for many workers and although it provides benefits for employees in many ways, with 77% of people seeing their productivity increase as a result, finding a way to help teams collaborate remotely will be key to maintaining long-term business performance.

Whether it’s developing hybrid workspaces, structuring teams in a cross-functional way or leveraging digital platforms more effectively, HR teams need to prioritise enabling collaboration so teams can continue to innovate and add value.

3. Tackling talent shortages

A major challenge for all types of organisations and sectors, rather than looking to recruit external talent, businesses are having to make the most of the skills and experience their current employees have.

Creating exchange programmes between businesses or building an internal talent marketplace are just two popular solutions to this problem, with a Harvard Business School report showing that 60% of businesses preferring to borrow or rent people from other companies rather than recruiting.

4. Creating valuable experiences

Edelman’s Trust Barometer found that 82% of people polled look for valuable work experiences or opportunities to progress within a business. This means that traditional career development programmes are no longer enough.

With employees being less likely to stay at a single business for long periods of time, creating career experiences that enrich individuals and offer new learning opportunities has become a new focus for organisations. This doesn’t just help employees to grow but helps businesses to increase their internal capabilities too.

5. Driving business transformation

To make a real and effective transformation in their business, companies need to know what they are, what they stand for and work to make their operations as scalable, simple and speedy as possible. Rather than being held back or having limited involvement, HR teams need to lend their skillset to this transformation for real change to occur.

From increasing connections between departments to linking leadership to employee needs, HR has a key role to play in driving these new purposes and making it work effectively for both workers and the business.

6. Prepare for the unknown

If the previous two years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Uncertainty and unpredictability have become hallmarks of the future for many sectors and business environments.

To future-proof your organisation, you need to create a flexible, agile and resilient department that can use data to make decisions, strategies that can adapt to change and a team that can operate effectively at pace.

7. Harness helpful technologies

It’s estimated that employees waste 57 minutes of their day as a result of ineffective technologies and processes. This is despite the fact that automation and artificial intelligence can assist employees in a number of mundane and repetitive tasks, freeing up workers’ time for more creative or innovative work.

What technology can truly add value to employees’ work lives and how can it be implemented effectively and used ethically? These are questions only HR teams can help to answer.

8. Focus on belonging

Although diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) may have been on your team’s agenda for a while, only 62% of employees surveyed in Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer believed their company truly reflected the diversity of their customers and community.

To create a work environment that truly reflects your organisation’s values, HR also needs to focus on creating a culture of belonging in their teams. This means building a psychologically safe environment that is truly inclusive, rather than one-off projects that focus on underrepresented groups.

9. Improve data literacy

The importance and power of people analytics is now widely recognised, however, data literacy in HR departments is still low, with only 41% able to collect, analyse and make decisions based on relevant data.

Investing in people analytics training or cross-department collaboration with other internal data teams will not only help HR take positive action but give them an advantage over competitor businesses.

10. Meet high employee expectations

Wellbeing and inclusion are no longer nice-to-haves. 76% of workers say that they expect more from their employers than they did three years ago, so to differentiate your business and create a valuable employee proposition, you need to offer real purpose, flexibility and support to employees.

Healthcare plans, flexible working or inclusive benefits are just some areas to consider. However, to create reward with real impact, companies need to first recognise if they’re providing benefits reactively, proactively or equitable and make changes to ensure employees are being rewarded based on their skills and contribution rather than their title or experience.

10. Recognise the value of skills

Accessing new skills rather than experience or qualifications has become a focus in employee recruitment. Therefore, mapping out the skills you have in your business, identifying any gaps and taking action via recruitment or talent reallocation will ensure you’re getting the most added value from your employees’ skills.

With the half-life of professional skills being estimated at five years and technical skills at two and a half years, training and upskilling should also be a priority for your team.

Get ahead of the trends

If you’re not sure where to start in adopting these trends into your business but want to gain a competitive advantage, then getting expert advice and insight can help. Our expert team doesn’t just understand these trends but can help you identify any priorities and implement effective adoption strategies.

To find out more about how we can support you, get in touch by calling 0800 048 7742 or emailing

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