Defining HR priorities for 2022: 3 places to start

HR pro standing on shop floor with tablet planning 2022 priorities

Another year has come and gone, which means it's time to ask the question — how is your HR plan for 2022 looking? If the answer is that you're unsure, you're not alone. With all the activity needed to close out 2021 and the continued struggles due to the pandemic, it’s hard to take a step back and focus on the future. But despite all that, now is the best time to map out how you and your teams will make your organization a place where people feel supported and can thrive.

It’s no secret that what employees want, when and where they work, and how they expect to be supported has all changed. Embracing this new reality and adapting programs, policies, and mindsets will help your organization succeed in a world that truly puts people at the center of business. In our recent one-day virtual HR and Payroll eSymposium, we explored the theme of embracing a people-centric future and identified three key priorities for HR in the year ahead.

Let's take a quick look at these areas of critical importance so you can start 2022 off strong:

1. Purposeful development

The modern employee is looking for much more than a good salary when evaluating whether to stay at their current company — they're looking for clear opportunities for growth. Therefore, creating thoughtful strategies to retain and develop existing employees is essential to the health and sustainability of organizations. This will likely require a reevaluation of existing development practices to focus on both reskilling and upskilling employees as well as identifying and implementing career pathing.

Here are some questions you can ask about your HR processes to get started on the path to giving your people purposeful development opportunities:

  • What do team building and collaboration look like for the different generations of employees making up your workforce? How can past trends you've seen help bridge any gaps that may exist between generations and identify what's important to each of them?
  • How do you effectively shift your workforce structure to attract, hire, and retain the best talent? What steps can you take to create strong internal talent pipelines, proactively offer development opportunities, and craft an engaging employer brand?
  • What strategies do you have in place to help your people feel heard and like they belong? How can you use employee feedback to ensure you're giving people opportunities that actually matter to them?

2. Forming an inclusive culture

Diverse voices are essential for continued innovation. There isn’t a quick fix to creating a culture that fosters diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) as it requires thoughtful ongoing work. But it’s not just up to HR alone to take on this work because every employee plays a role in creating an environment that sets a company up for future success. Leaders can create an inclusive culture where talent from all backgrounds can thrive by ensuring that procedures and criteria used to make talent decisions are clearly defined and objective data is integrated into those processes to help eliminate bias.

So what can you do to start down this road? This quick checklist can help:

  1. Recognize the current state of DEI&B both at your organization and more broadly
  2. Be aware of the (sometimes brutal) realities you need to face when taking on DEI&B initiative so you can avoid pitfalls
  3. Keep up with the latest DEI&B research findings, as well as the new ways technology is being applied to help make more inclusive workplaces a reality
  4. Know the ways increased diversity benefits businesses
  5. Generate some actions you can take today to create a culture where your people feel they can bring their true selves to work each day

3. Adapting to our new reality

The work that we do, the way we do that work, and when and where we do it has all changed and will continue to evolve. The modern employee’s expectations around everything from scheduling flexibility to dress codes to how to make offices spaces more attractive and productive places to work have all changed. The reality is that this is an employee-driven market, which means that organizations must adapt in different ways like increasing wages, boosting benefit offerings, and allowing more flexibility in when and where work is done.

Keeping an eye on these types of trends and identifying underlying themes will help leaders be better prepared to face and adapt to what’s to come:

  • What people are prioritizing as they change roles and what they will or will not accept in physical workplaces and remote settings
  • The options you have to inject choice and flexibility into as many parts of your organizational processes as possible
  • Which emerging areas you should be looking at now so you're prepared for the future of work

Conclusion: Dive into key HR priorities while the year is young

If you want to take a deeper look at any of the three topics we've discussed here and get a jump on your plan for 2022, you can watch our HR & Payroll eSymposium sessions on demand. It's also a great way to get ahead of your certification credits at the same time if you need them. Take a look and make sure you're focusing in the right places this year.

Watch eSymposium sessions