Many of us will be pleased to see the back of 2021 and will be looking forward to 2022 with fingers tightly crossed for some kind of return to normality.
For HR, the workplace has changed dramatically over the last two years, so how can you build on everything you’ve learned during this time and ensure your HR department gets off to the best possible start next year?
We’ve spoken to a few industry experts to find out what New Year Resolutions HR should be making in 2022.
Three things HR should start doing in 2022
1. Conduct ‘stay’ interviews
Exit interviews are pretty common for when someone leaves the company, but why wait until an employee has quit to find out what they felt about the business, their role and their working environment?
“Isn’t it worth it to hold a ‘stay interview’ regularly instead, to stop someone even looking for a new job in the first place?” suggests Tracey Hudson, executive director at The HR Dept. “This would also help your directors work out the best way to invest funds to encourage retention and motivate staff. Think of all the money that would be saved on recruitment agency fees if you didn’t need to replace people so often!”
2. Make employee mental health a priority
“Support for employees’ mental health has become more important than ever, so employers should not trivialise this and must recognise that it is a crucial factor in employee satisfaction and engagement,” says Kate Palmer, HR advice and consultancy director at Peninsula. “Providing empathy and emotional support training to managers, introducing mental health first aiders and offering an employee assistance programme will go a long way in reducing absences and optimising productivity.”
3. Become more employee-centric and invest in your people
Anthony Sutton, director at Cream HR, believes HR leaders should view their people as an investment - not a cost - and take the time to work with them and plan an ongoing support programme.
“Learn what motivates your employees so you can continue to provide meaningful work that they enjoy and excel at. The more time and effort you put into your employees, the more you will get out of them in the end. This investment in your people will mean more engaged teams who do better work, leading to happier customers – otherwise known as the virtuous circle. Simply put, don’t just pay the money out and leave your employees to it, invest more effort and reap the rewards.”
It’s also important to ensure your HR tech supports your people. “Review your HR and payroll processes and systems with the employee in mind,” suggests Helen Armstrong, CEO and founder of Silver Cloud HR. “HR’s largest customer is the employee, and all service offerings need to be employee-centric. Are your systems user friendly? Are your processes simple to follow without written guidance?”
Three things HR should stop doing in 2022
1. Holding paper records
Now is the time to stop using paper records, says The HR Dept’s Tracey Hudson. “With the potential urgent need to work from home at a moment’s notice, HR teams need online HR records that can be accessible by managers and self-service for employees. This ensures all data is accurate and transparent. Get digital!”
Helen Armstrong from Silver Cloud HR also warns that working from paper and spreadsheets will prevent organisations from embracing automation. “Paper and spreadsheets cannot be automated, and automation is the future of HR. If HR leaders want to be ready for the next phase of automated life at work, they need to review their processes to ensure the relevant systems are in place sooner rather than later.”
2. Assuming one-size-fits-all
Use your HR systems to ensure you avoid treating everyone the same, advises Helen Armstrong. “The pandemic has taught us that every employee has their own priorities and situations and, as HR, we cannot assume that everyone wants the same things. Using HR systems to identify data and trends can help HR to focus initiatives to the correct people, rather than rolling out all initiatives to all team members. HR needs to start thinking more like a marketing team and targeting communications and campaigns to the relevant people.”
3. Underestimating the importance of thinking differently
The world has changed, so it’s important that HR does too – which means that now is the time to do things differently, especially when it comes to work-life balance and flexible working.
“Employees’ priorities have shifted over the last 18 months, due to the impact of the pandemic, and the focus is on having a better work-life balance,” says Peninsula’s Kate Palmer. “Flexibility will likely be a key part of this, with remote and hybrid working arrangements set to be the norm rather than the exception. Employers should therefore start thinking now about what flexible working options would be feasible for their organisation. A blanket ‘no’ will unlikely suffice in today’s working environment; employers must step away from the mindset that such arrangements won’t work without first trialling them.”
One aspirational wish for HR in 2022
One of the biggest challenges for so many organisations at the moment is recruitment and retention. Kate Palmer therefore believes that strategies to alleviate such difficulties should be a key focus moving into the new year.
“HR teams must review existing practices and critically analyse their efficacy, to be able to ensure continual growth and success. Without a reliable workforce, employers risk the future of the company. As such, HR’s main aspirational wish should involve setting a minimum retention target, implementing an effective plan to identify areas which would benefit from additional staffing resources, and utilise strategies to quickly fill these vacancies.”
If 2022 is the year you plan to shed manual data admin, start building data-backed people strategy, and provide your people with seamless ways to manage their own HR data, our comprehensive HRMS solution help.