HR in 2022: taking stock of 2021

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2022 will no doubt reprise many of the challenges of 2021, with tight talent markets and office plans upended again. The third year of the pandemic, however, will be more than a replay.

Here are three trends in HR in 2022 and how we can put the lessons of the last two years to use.

The art and science of compensation will evolve

The embrace of hybrid work will influence labour markets around the world. It will bring more competition for talent while allowing the migration of some higher-paid employees.

The need for real-time benchmarking and more sophisticated compensation structures will increase to adjust to these changes. So too will revamped packages of benefits for employees who have no use for the perks of a corporate campus.

As organisations consider more complex compensation models, it’s important to remember that compensation is a deeply personal topic. Quickly rising inflation will impact employee expectations too. Leaders need to be communicating compensation philosophy and engaging with employees, helping them understand the holistic picture of company finances and the value of all of the benefits provided.

The Great Resignation comes to HR

While the new year is a time to look ahead, we also have to consider the significant weight HR teams have carried over these past two years, from managing emergency protocols and implementing hybrid strategies to restructuring companies and addressing the impacts of the Great Resignation.

This year, I suspect we’ll see more and more HR professionals joining this rising tide of employee turnover — just when we need them the most. Lattice’s State of People Strategy report found that HR teams ranked emotional exhaustion and being overwhelmed by projects and responsibilities as two of their top three challenges.

Meanwhile, HR job postings have increased by 87% since last February.

Companies need to be investing in HR ahead of the business needs, and HR leaders need to help their teams “put on their own oxygen masks first” before they can truly support their colleagues.

Hybrid work and culture will face the first real test

HR leaders have spent the last two years ideating around and experimenting with hybrid work, in many cases returning to the drawing board several times over and learning valuable lessons about employees’ adaptability and resilience along the way.

In 2022, we’ll move beyond high-level policy decisions on hybrid and begin the deeper people and culture work required to make it happen. This will require establishing new norms of collaboration and communication for individuals and teams alike.

Hybrid teams that spent most of 2021 fully remote will need to make tangible adjustments to their meeting norms and culture, while managers will need to adapt their style to address the needs of all their direct reports, not just those they are suddenly face-to-face with again.

It won’t always be comfortable, and it won’t be quick, but it’s also a transformation that HR teams are uniquely positioned to lead their companies through.

Dave Carhart is VP of people at Lattice