Over the course of 2020 and 2021, we’ve collectively experienced incredible shifts in the way we live, learn, and work. As we look ahead to 2022, several interesting trends are emerging that will have a major impact on all industries. I’d like to share some of my observations from the fast-moving world of ed tech and the HR trends I’ve noticed over the past year in an industry driven by purpose—and also look ahead to 2022.
Despite the “great resignation,” companies that are purpose-driven may see less turnover.
At the end of the day, every company is experiencing very similar challenges. We crave relationships and connections as people, and when previous opportunities to connect with coworkers in a physical workplace setting disintegrate, employees will select roles at companies where they can fulfill their need for human connection and desire to make an impact in other ways. Companies that impact the greater good will attract great talent. Going into next year, it’ll be important to emphasize connection points just as much as productivity, innovation, and employee benefits. One of my personal favorite ways to keep my team connected is with simple in-person connections like going for a hike or a long walk or just meeting for coffee.
Hybrid is here to stay, which means remote onboarding will need some serious attention.
The hybrid workplace will exist long into the future. I’ve heard other people predict that hybrid work will continue throughout 2022, but my vision of the extended future includes hybrid work as just one pillar of what companies can offer to attract and retain top talent. It’s in a company’s best interest to use hybrid work to its advantage; remote work means a more diverse workforce and offers more flexibility in terms of where employees can live and work. However, having a long-term remote/hybrid work environment also means that remote onboarding needs to be more seamless and impactful than ever. Having a new hire buddy system, hosting cross-team training series, and encouraging a cadence of touch points with personal news are great ways to help new hires familiarize themselves with the business and get to know their colleagues.
Remote learning’s benefits will become even clearer.
Throughout my experience as chief people officer of ed tech company Curriculum Associates, I have seen how remote learning has allowed us to drastically extend our reach to more students in new, innovative, and unexpected ways. The same has to be true for our internal training programs and sharing information between departments within the company. We had to rethink how we conduct our internal meetings and trainings, including DEIB courses, new hire onboarding, and our companywide gatherings. We are constantly figuring out how to make these experiences more engaging, informative, and inclusive. I am sure that what we have learned over this extended period of doing business remotely will help our employees stay involved, connected, and invested in our shared mission.
As we’ve learned from the past few years, nothing is ever truly predictable, but I’m excited to dive into the new year and see what happens. The most important thing to me is that I love what I do and the people I work with—and I believe that what I do really makes a difference.
Sandra O’Sullivan is the Chief People Office at Curriculum Associates.