Top 10 Issues Facing HR Leaders Heading Into 2022

Eric Friedman is the Founder and CEO of eSkill, a global leader in skills testing and behavioral assessment solutions for employers.

It’s no secret that the modern working environment is changing at a lightning-fast pace. While many of these changes aim to improve workplace culture and provide employees with better work/life balance, the onus falls on HR leaders to implement these new practices.

This article will outline the top human resource issues of 2022 that HR leaders are likely to encounter. The top 10 HR issues facing 2022’s best HR professionals are varied and intricate, including:

1. Improving Diversity, Equity And Inclusion (DEI)

According to a recent Gartner survey, 35% of HR leaders will prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in the coming year. Organizations across virtually every industry will strive to become more aware of DEI-related issues to create an inclusionary working environment.

These entities are facing internal and external pressures to become more diverse, so improving DEI is considered one of the top human resources issues of 2022.

2. Paving The Way For Remote Work

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During the height of the pandemic, organizations across the globe transitioned to hybrid and remote work. Even though many organizations are considering a return to the office in some form in the future, this new trend is here to stay. The majority (92%) of companies polled by Gartner expect some employees to continue working remotely. 

In light of this trend, HR departments must set up for remote work. Employees and company leaders want to continue capitalizing on the advantages of this employment format, which will require HR leaders to change the way they manage human capital to maintain productivity and an optimal level of interpersonal communication.

3. Improving Change Management

While employees and executives are open to the idea of a hybrid work environment, implementing sweeping organizational changes can fatigue staff. Improving change management is considered one of the top 10 HR issues 2022’s leadership teams will face.

McKinsey found that companies were “five times more likely to have a successful transformation when leaders have role-modeled the behavior changes they were asking their employees to make.” HR leaders should prioritize reevaluating change management, as many employees are likely experiencing burnout and fatigue due to the changes implemented in the past year and a half.

4. Building Critical Skills

McLean & Company conducted a 2021 HR Trends Report to identify pressing issues that HR leaders are facing. What they discovered was that many industries are encountering a significant skills gap.

In response, HR leaders must analyze their organizational skills gaps with tools such as role-based skills assessments while also training employees in specific new abilities. According to the report, only 21% of HR departments are currently engaging in this type of training, and only 24% analyze the employee skills gap.

5. Equipping Future Leaders

DDI conducted research surveying 368 CEOs and 2,102 HR professionals and found that the C-suite only rated 38% of their mid-level leaders as “very good” or “excellent.” This trend is extremely concerning as the global talent shortage makes promoting from within vital to a company’s long-term success.

In 2022, HR leaders must deploy strategies that are designed to equip future leaders for promotional opportunities. Specifically, this training should focus on creating empathy-driven managers that are conscious of the needs of their subordinates.

6. Finding Talent During A Shortage

The global talent shortage, often now referred to as the Great Resignation, is making it challenging for organizations to find quality employees to fill vacant roles. To mitigate the effects of this shortage, HR leaders must devise more effective strategies for evaluating talent. This work may include skills tests and remote interview practices, as these tactics may accelerate the hiring process.

7. Providing Great Employee Experiences

The modern employee cares about much more than just a good salary. While earning potential will affect their decision to stay at a particular company, they are equally concerned about a healthy working environment. HR leaders must find ways to increase workforce health, making employees more resilient to disruptions.

8. Identifying Skills Employees Will Need Going Forward

Before HR teams can create new training programs, they must first identify which skills their staff will need going forward. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly challenging to predict what skills will be in demand shortly. For instance, the skills needed for a specific job in 2018 might no longer be pertinent in 2022. This obsolescence is due to the rapid advancements in technologies used by businesses across sectors.

9. Revamping Training Practices

HR leaders need to prioritize building critical skills and core competencies. This focus comes as no surprise as many HR leaders say that they cannot create effective skill development solutions quickly enough to meet the evolving needs of their companies. In 2022, HR leaders will be tasked with revamping their existing training practices to teach employees new skills more efficiently.

10. Fostering A Healthy Work Environment

The last of our top human resource issues of 2022 is fostering both a psychologically and physically healthy working environment. In addition to a competitive salary and positive working experience, employees also want a high level of workplace safety, sustainable average stress levels and interpersonal emotional maturity.

Since remote teams do not meet physically, it’s important that an organization’s culture is strong to act as a healthy work environment. For companies adopting a hybrid model, maintaining physical safety can be guided through trusted protocols against Covid-19 or even OSHA’s ETS (although, there is a stay on this standard currently). For ongoing productivity and retention, HR leaders must address individual employee concerns on their stress and burnout levels. For emotional well-being, they must create a working environment that is collaborative and provides psychological safety. Lastly, HR staff should provide employees with development opportunities in an inclusionary setting.

HR leaders who effectively prepare for these challenges will help their organizations create a productive and diverse workforce. Everyone from line-level employees to C-suite executives will reap the benefits.


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