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4 business and technology trends to watch in 2022

January 7, 2022

By Larry Faragalli, courtesy of Brightly

As we continue adapting to the continuous shifts in the world, it’s become an even greater challenge to predict where business and technology trends will land in the coming years. Undoubtedly, there will be surprises — certain areas are bound to grow stronger while others will taper off. Here’s a quick list of the top four trends and predictions that we believe are worth noting for 2022. 

Hybrid working models begin to take shape 

Like it or not, some version of hybrid work is here to stay. Forrester’s hybrid work prediction may inspire executives to err on the side of caution, anticipating that 1 in 3 firms transitioning to a full hybrid model will fail. The research and advisory company believes that transitioning to a hybrid model “while still designing meetings, job roles, and promotion opportunities around face-to-face experiences will send productivity plummeting and lead execs to question the model instead of the processes they cling to.” Though a hybrid work model will require a period of adjustment, there’s little reason why productivity levels should plummet when people are working from home (WFH). In fact, McKinsey estimates that more than 20% of the global workforce (mainly knowledge workers and those in highly skilled roles) could work from anywhere without any impact on productivity. 

Moreover, a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that remote work could boost productivity in the U.S. economy by 5%, largely due to “better-than-expected WFH experiences, new investments in physical and human capital that enable WFH, greatly diminished stigma associated with WFH, lingering concerns about crowds and contagion risks, and a pandemic-driven surge in technological innovations that support WFH.” Productivity percentages aside, employees want options when it comes to how they work. Leaders would be remiss to ignore this, especially in a time when many workers have robust employment opportunities, which brings us to our next point.

Cultural transformations fuel better business 

It’s easy to talk about culture, but putting it into practice is no cakewalk. In 2022, we will see more cultural transformations as companies delve deeper into digital. Definitions of company culture vary greatly across organizations and industries, but it doesn’t have to be this complicated. At its core, a company’s culture is its employees, and how those employees get things done. Creating cultural transformations that fuel effective business begins with genuinely listening to and considering the wants and needs of workers. 

Business leaders cannot expect employees to get on board with new initiatives without first putting forth the same effort internally. Without culture change, the organization will struggle to meet its most crucial business initiatives, especially in terms of full digital adoption. When Denison Consulting polled 90 organizations globally, it showed that those with clearer and more aligned cultures also have significantly more engaged employees. To put it simply, more engaged employees equals better business outcomes. Moving into 2022, the employee experience (EX) will become just as imperative as the customer experience (CX). 

Customer experience becomes the driving factor of DX initiatives 

Customer experience is finally seeing its time in the limelight, taking the lead over other digital transformation (DX) initiatives. According to a recent Forrester blog, 8 in 10 consumers will see the world as “ALL digital” in 2022, after having rapidly increased their technology adoption at the height of the pandemic. The blog states that, “63% of U.S. online adults say that they completed a new activity online, such as attending a religious service or exercise class. Forty-four percent upgraded their in-home technology. The takeaway? Consumers have much higher expectations that digital experiences work well.” With this in mind, business leaders should look to work with dedicated CX leaders to continuously monitor, maintain, and improve upon the organization’s CX best practices and initiatives. 

Total experience becomes the umbrella strategy for all experiences 

It may seem like marketers across the globe are gunning to tack the term “experience” on every potential IT-related endeavor possible — but there’s a good reason for it. In this case, the phrase “total experience” (TX) involves the practice of combining all of these experiences together, namely, the customer and employee experiences. A TX strategy allows organizations to take a more integrated approach, both internally and externally, to create the best shared experiences possible. As Gartner predicts, by 2024, organizations providing a total experience will outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for both CX and EX. 

Takeaway 

While technology and business trends fluctuate year over year, the primary driver of all major initiatives in 2022 will be your employees. Listen to their concerns, make time and space for what they need, and provide them with the ultimate employee experience. Keeping this employee-first mentality will increase productivity, fuel innovation, and improve all facets of your business. 

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