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By Reon Janse van Rensburg

It is that time of the year again where we are starting to slow down a little and sometimes build a little longer chat in the office kitchen than usual. We dream of the summer vacation that lies ahead and are looking forward to seeing our loved ones again, even more than usual since there are so many families who unexpectedly lost someone. However, this also means that we must face long queues in store to buy Christmas gifts and that we must buy excess food to be consumed on Christmas day. But don’t worry – your New Year’s resolutions will help you to shake those rolls quick-quick, or not?

In the blink of an eye, we’ll be back at the office after the festive season and then we start back at square one. This time we’ll only do it better.

2022 will most probably offer us countless challenges once again. However, with Solidarity at your side you need not worry about your career path. Solidarity creates opportunities for the youth through Solidarity Youth. S-leer offers Solidarity members the opportunity to improve and expand their skills, and the occupation specific guilds offer employees industry relevant advice and a professional network of people working in the same occupation as you.

What are the workplace trends for 2022?

According to Dan Schawbel, New York Times top selling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, Covid-19 will continue to play an important role in the shaping of the workplace. He believes leaders need to address new vaccine mandates and remain committed to keeping their offices safe.

At the same time, the pandemic accelerated many positive trends – from the rise of the hybrid model to a renewed focus on the employee’s voice, their wellbeing and their benefits. We will also see career development and training entering the spotlight as people try to regain control of their own lives.

The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to affect global economic growth. Goldman Sachs downgraded its forecast for annual US GDP growth to 4% from a previous estimate of 4,4%. Meanwhile, regional growth in Europe and Central Asia is forecast to a moderate 3,4 in 2022 and the World Bank notes that the prospects remain highly uncertain.

According to Schwabel, there are several factors that influence these economic indicators. Attempts to increase vaccination numbers will however play a key role in the stabilisation of the global economy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) for example announced a strategy where they want to attempt to have the world’s population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by middle 2022. This new strategy outlines a plan to achieve the WHO’s targets of vaccinating 40% of each country’s population by the end of this year and 70% by mid-2022.

5 Trends for 2022

  1. A strong digital mindset will support continuous business continuity

In 2022, we will see growth in an area named hyper-automation. This approach involves the orchestration of multiple automation technologies, enabling organisations to switch to a more coupled and effective automation strategy. Experts predict that the global hyper-automation technology market will reach almost $600 billion in 2022, and businesses using this approach are expected to reduce their operating costs by 30%.

Of course, technology will also play a key role in the hybrid workplace. Collaborative tools are a given, but we will see other technologies emerge as well. For example, more than 80% of organisations will adopt cloud-based systems. Businesses will also offer tools for when staff need to go to the office, such as apps that support contact tracing, booking an office space or a desk, or helping with a touch-free workplace. We will probably even see all-in-one employee management applications entering the spotlight next year, to create a more seamless experience for workers and leaders.

  1. Leaders will rely on employees’ inputs and feedback more than ever

An issue the pandemic brought to light was that the voices of some employees were ignored for too long. This includes essential workers and caregivers, and now we see that remote employees can also be left behind. A global study conducted by Workplace Intelligence and UKG found that 86% of employees feel that people in their organisation are not treated fairly or that they are not heard.

Companies that do not seek their employees’ feedback or listen to it, may struggle to retain talent at a time when labour retention is key to a company’s success. They will also miss ideas and innovation that may help to drive their profit point, because employees will not speak if they believe their input is not desired. Therefore, in 2022 leaders will go beyond just listening to their people – they will put insights into action with the focus of improving business outcomes and employee experience.

Schwabel argues that if companies want to achieve this, they will need to create robust employee feedback programmes that leverage technology and include multiple feedback channels. IBM, for example, holds global Innovation Jams that help leaders gather the voices of employees and make sense of it. Meanwhile, Microsoft send surveys to more than 2,500 employees every day. Simply put, the future of the employee’s voice is so much more than an annual engagement survey.

  1. Organisations will fight to attract talent and to retain it amidst the “big resignation”

Since April 2021, more than 15 million people has left their jobs in the USA in a trend known as the “big resignation”. All indications are that the resignation rate will continue to accelerate in 2022, and 55% of professionals in the workplace say that they expect the turnover of employees to increase in the next year.

So, what are employers going to do to combat the labour shortage in 2022? Some start with basic principles – companies like Amazon, Costco and Walmart have increased their salaries in an effort to attract workers. Others expand their benefit packages and offer fringe benefits such as stock options or financial well-being incentives and many businesses focus on upgrading, or retraining, their existing workforce.

For most people, however, fringe benefits and payment will not be enough. New research from Oracle finds that 88% of workers feel that the meaning of “success” has changed, and they now prioritize their work-life-balance, their mental health and having a meaningful job above a steady salary. That’s why in 2022 people will no longer tolerate companies that treat them poorly, and they will place employers at a higher standard than ever before. Employers have no choice but to join the fight if they want to attract and retain talent in the midst of an employee-driven market.

  1. Most companies will follow a hybrid or remote first approach

According to Schwabel, employees will be offered more choices as to where they want to work and businesses in 2022 will also allow people to have more control over when they want to work. In Schwabel’s research with WeWork both employees and the C-suite noted that flexibility, schedule control and work-life-balance were the key benefits of the hybrid model. A few companies, including Kickstarter and Bolt, are even launching a 4-day work week to help combat widespread burnout among their workers.

Many companies had hoped to switch to a hybrid model in 2021, but the rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant caused most of them to discontinue their office reopening plans. However, things look more promising for 2022, at least in the US where business remains relatively stable.

Organisations that have already announced plans to adopt a hybrid approach include Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Citigroup and many others. Meanwhile, companies like Twitter, Dropbox and Amazon are following a completely remote approach, allowing corporate employees to work from home indefinitely.

  1. The hybrid model will create a dual workforce

Although the hybrid model offers many advantages, it also has its disadvantages. One issue that is already emerging is that remote workers may not be treated fairly compared to their office counterparts. In fact, new research from Workplace Intelligence and Kahoot! confirms a strong prejudice against remote workers. It has been discovered that more than 6 in 10 human resource leaders say that office workers are more likely to be promoted and receive regular raises, and they are seen as harder workers and more valuable.

In 2022, business leaders will have to focus on overcoming this bias if they want the hybrid model to succeed for their business. A cultural shift will definitely be required, and managers will have to take steps to ensure that all workers are treated equally and that they feel included. However, a recent study has revealed that the best collaborative technologies can also play a critical role in ensuring a fair workplace for everyone.

Many CEOs and leaders agree that the hybrid approach could lead to a dual workplace. GitLab’s CEO, Sid Sijbrandij, described the hybrid model as “the worst of both worlds”. Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow, also expressed his concern and emphasized that “[w]e must ensure an equal playing field for all team members, regardless of their physical location”.

This article is an adapted version of the original one posted on LinkedIn.



The Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2022 – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-10-workplace-trends-2022-dan-schawbel/


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