The past two years have arguably been some of the most challenging ones that HR professionals have ever faced. This means that going into 2022, new trends will permeate how we think about people management. Simply put, the industry as we know it is evolving. HR professionals will have no choice but to change how they do things in the coming year (if they haven’t already).

Read on as we explore a few of the top HR trends that will drive change in 2022. We’ll also discuss a few opportunities to help HR departments cope with these new challenges. 

Managing remote and hybrid workforces

In 2020, many businesses were forced to move their workforces online with little or no time to prepare. Fortunately, HR departments found that the tools needed to manage this massive shift already existed. There certainly were transitional challenges, but they largely weren’t as daunting as expected. 

In fact, some employers found that there are many benefits to having remote and hybrid workforces. This is especially true for HR departments, which have discovered tools that can help automate many of their processes. This allows them to focus on the onboarding and employee experience better. It also gives them more time to focus on new challenges, such as the next workforce trend that’s showing no signs of slowing down.

The Great Resignation 

Throughout 2021, The Great Resignation caught HR departments off guard. From workplace ghosting to new mental health concerns, modern HR departments are treading in uncharted territory. 

This means that HR leaders must acknowledge that workers are frustrated with the status quo. They’re no longer happy with “business as usual,” and right now, the market is in their favor. This has been evident through the Great Resignation and the unprecedented number of people leaving the workforce altogether.

Employee retention has never been more challenging or more vital. To achieve this, more employers and HR departments are learning from the success of the gig economy. Flexibility is at the heart of this trend; more workers are leaving their positions for the pursuit of increased flexibility in their schedules, pay, growth potential, and management. HR departments are also finding it helpful to seek honest employee feedback. 

A sense of purpose and fulfillment 

Retention is all about the employee experience. As we mentioned, more HR departments are putting a greater focus on the mental health of their employees. But this isn’t the only thing that workers want from their jobs.

According to a surprising report by the Harvard Business Review, an increase in pay and perks won’t be enough to retain employees. So what will? A sense of purpose. Employees want to feel that the work they are doing is meaningful. They want their employers to value them. And HR professionals are in the perfect position to create a culture that helps employees feel valued. 

HR departments will have to take more time to understand their employees. This means listening to them, asking for their feedback, and determining why employees decided to leave during exit interviews. It’s not easy for HR to change their company’s culture and processes, but it is necessary with many experts predicting the Great Resignation to worsen

Rethinking candidate qualifications

Some say this next one has been long overdue. In recent months, LinkedIn has reported a decrease in the number of degrees listed as job requirements. Frankly, many employers can’t afford to be that picky any longer. Instead, they are beginning to focus on skills-based hiring.

This shift means that HR departments and hiring managers will have to consider the aptitude of candidates more carefully. Even before the pandemic, workers were looking for alternatives to traditional college education primarily due to rising tuition costs. 

Many online platforms have emerged, some more effective than others. However, online learning and earning an industry-recognized certification has, in many cases, proven more cost-effective than college degrees. So have opportunities for candidates to showcase those skills online. This means more vetting on the part of HR professionals, but it also increases their pool of qualified candidates. 

As we step into 2022, HR leaders must keep these trends in mind. Despite the challenges presented, HR departments can leverage significant areas of opportunity to ensure they remain competitive and attract and retain skilled candidates to become a part of their organization.