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Ten Talent and Leadership Trends for 2022

February 2, 2022

By Michael Burns, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine

With the pandemic disrupting work culture to an unanticipated level, Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting and SaaS-based HR tech firm that helps HR professionals and sales leaders build the best workforce possible, surveyed employers around the world. The study identified 10 human resource trends employers will confront that will impact how, when and where work will be:

The Great Resignation will continue and may accelerate. This will result in increased starting salaries and sign on bonuses. Longer term incentives and benefits will be offered for retention purposes.

Nomad employees will also continue to grow. Those are employees that will seek work or wish to continue working remotely with no set location. The Korn Ferry study found that 32 percent of professionals do not think they will return to the office and another 36 percent plan to take different jobs to allow for work flexibility.

Employees have gotten used to shorter and condensed Zoom or virtual calls to connect with work and their colleagues and clients. This will require leaders to create “deeper” connections within their organizations. Organizations will have to create cultures that develop better listening, understanding and “instill a culture” that inspires employees to feel more connected.

Employees will need to develop more internal mobility, reskilling and upskilling programs to prevent attrition. Employers will need to focus on developing or improving training, development, coaching and mentorship programs, as well as more on-the-job learning. Another path will be to invest in new technologies; not necessarily for replacement of workers, but to help advance careers.

Moving away from disruptions and toward reinvention. The study points out that organizations have changed, compelled by the pandemic disruptions without much planning for the future. The Korn Ferry study found that companies will have to “harness the agility and flexibility” that was necessary to adapt to the unexpected workplace changes and to find “solutions for shortages, climate change, digital acceleration, supply chain issues and ever shifting consumer demands.”

Sustainability will require enhanced action. Demands on companies to take action on environmental, social and governance (ESG) will increase in 2022.

Health and wellness will need to be prioritized to address employee burnout from all the accelerated changes that have come out of the pandemic’s effect on work. Leaders will need to add mental and personal health issues to their employee relations agenda.

The continuing talent shortage will require a re-evaluation of job qualification requirements. Educational credentials and work experience may need to be lessened for jobs, while searching for talent outside of their industry may be necessary to find the workers needed. Retired workers may need to be enticed out of that status, and employers will have to look to other “nontraditional places” to find needed people and skills.

New work cultures will need to be built that will better serve hybrid organizations. Where workers are not present in an office, they will need to increase oversight and feedback to ensure success in a more agile environment and where collaboration takes a different form. Leaders will need to ensure hiring and development of a more diverse and socially conscious demographic who are given career opportunities that will last.

And finally, leaders will have to drive a workforce with a constructive shift from “me” to “we.” The Korn Ferry study points out that we have gone through a “once in a generation level of global disruption and political unrest.” In many cases the media has painted this as a bad thing, but the study report points out that it has brought together “the very best humanity can offer, whether its scientists who developed vaccines at record breaking speed or communities that rallied together through difficult times.”

This re-development of community gets results, and this rise in “collaborative working practices and shared goals” has shown there are great positives that come from this new way of working.

Michael Burns is Executive Vice President of the American Society of Employers and President of HR Management Group, Inc and its subsidiary, ASE Professional Staff Management. He has been an exceptional adviser on human resource and employment law since joining ASE in 1983.

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