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by Jen Leigh on January 11, 2022

Emerging HR Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic for 2022

HR departments have been challenged recently to come up with innovative management approaches to hire and retain the best talent. In the face of COVID-19, new HR trends are developing that may shape the U.S. workforce for years to come. 

The 2022 HR Trends Report, published by research and advisory firm McLean & Company, reveals new industry trends and indicates areas where HR departments can improve and strengthen their organizations.

Here are some of the latest HR trends for 2022 that will shape and define our workforce based on the data of the 2022 HR Trends Report.

Hiring Can Be Hard Recruiting

The Role of HR After COVID-19

The current distribution of HR departments' time can be broken down in the following way:

  • Talent acquisition - 20% 
  • Compliance with laws and regulations - 13% 
  • Strategic planning - 9% 
  • Employee and labor relations - 9% 
  • Learning and development - 9% 
  • Talent management - 10% 
  • Employee engagement and workplace culture - 8% 
  • Employee rewards - 6% 
  • Organizational development - 6% 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) - 5% 
  • Technology and operations - 3% 
  • Other duties - 2%

Learning how to solve recruiting challenges in the face of COVID-19, and the scarcity of workers to fill new roles has been the focus of many HR departments as we begin 2022. In fact, the time that HR professionals are spending on talent acquisition has increased by an astounding 25% (up from 16% in 2021). While the focus of time may not reflect it, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), remote work, and fostering a great employee experience round out the other three biggest HR trends to come out of COVID-19, as they all directly impact talent acquisition and retention.

Recruitment, Talent Acquisition & Retention in 2022

Amidst The Great Resignation, recruitment, talent acquisition, and retention have been the toughest challenges for HR departments recently and will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. Many HR departments are turning to technology to attract and retain top talent

Some statistics on recruitment heading into 2022 include:

  • 57% of candidates end up ghosting employers (18% increase from 2021)
  • 63% decrease in applications for job openings (13% increase from 2021)
  • 55% increase in rejected offers (10% increase from 2021) 

The Conversation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Social inequalities and support for related movements have forced HR departments to take a hard look at their DEI policies to ensure fairness and compliance. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak has made these challenges even more difficult as childcare needs and remote work have grown. As a result, HR organizations have to stop thinking about the way things have always been done and look toward new solutions to increase diversity that will help them hire and retain top talent within their industries.

Here are some of the top HR trends for 2022 that HR departments should focus on in regards to DEI:

  • Clearly articulate the link between DEI and organizational goals
  • DEI training for employees
  • Inclusive behavior evaluations during performance reviews 
  • Embedding inclusive behaviors in company values 
  • Establishing diverse project teams 
  • Identify and address any pay inequities for minority groups  

Employers whose HR departments do not embrace inclusive HR policies are more likely to experience a higher voluntary employee turnover rate as well as possible penalties and repercussions for being out of compliance with equal opportunity employment laws.

As employees face new pandemic challenges, HR departments must create ways to improve accessibility and inclusivity. Many organizations have risen to the challenge by offering  DEI programs.

Here is a percentage breakdown of actions being taken to create a better environment in terms of DEI in 2022:

  • 32% are purposefully sourcing diverse groups of candidates 
  • 36% are tracking and reporting DEI metrics
  • 30% are creating employee resource groups
  • 19% are recognizing employees for inclusive behaviors 

Remote Work Isn't Going Away

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for working parents, including problems with things like work-life balance, career advancement, and job earnings.

Companies are helping employees by offering solutions such as remote work. So it is important that you ensure workplace technology supports remote work

Anticipated benefits of offering remote work options in 2022 include:

  • 76% increase in flexibility in hours of employee availability 
  • 64% increase in candidate attraction 
  • 62% increase in hiring / talent pools
  • 52% increase in employee retention
  • 46% decrease in facility costs 
  • 45% increase in employee engagement 
  • 41% increase in employee productivity 

Until the pandemic is over, many organizations will continue to reduce work onsite. No one solution will fit all workplaces so employers must be flexible, and try to successfully hire remote employees when possible. Make sure you know how to successfully hire remote employees.

Improved Employee Experience

Embracing inclusive policies and adapting to flexible work options improves the employee experience, leading to greater employee retention and recruitment. In fact, studies show that employees with positive employee experiences are far more likely to feel as if their company places their interests over that of the company, leading to better employee retention rates.

The social upheaval of 2020 revealed the need for HR departments to recognize social change and the types of workers who were previously underrepresented. When HR departments focus on improving the total employee experience, they motivate employees to increase productivity, adapt to change, and embrace innovation.

What Is on the Horizon for HR

All of the changes to the landscape of HR, due to COVID-19, have brought stress levels for HR representatives to a whole new level.

Here are some measures HR departments can put into place to meet these demands presented by the added stress:

  • Develop personal and team resilience techniques to help manage employee stress levels 
  • Provide strategies to increase talent acquisition and keep current employees satisfied 
  • Maximize HR's contribution to organizational performance by prioritizing employee needs and employee-life balance
  • Continue to implement work-from-home and other flexible work strategies to accommodate employees during the pandemic

Inflection HR has been helping countless employers overcome the struggles brought on by COVID-19. With our understanding of the reinvention of HR in 2022, there is no HR and payroll provider around that can better help you muddle through to sunnier days. To see how we are currently helping business owners adjust to the shifting landscape of HR or for other related questions, contact us today or check out our other COVID-19 resources for employers.

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Jen Leigh

Jen Leigh is a Senior Product Specialist with Inflection HR's Cloud Based HR and Workforce Management Solutions. Connect with Jenni and the rest of the Inflection HR Team on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.