“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”
I couldn’t agree more with this quote by Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO and chairwoman of Xerox Corporation. And it’s up to us as HR leaders to ensure our organizations’ employees are recognized and rewarded for their work accomplishments and given more than just a paycheck. To do so, we must provide them with technology to do their jobs well and address issues surrounding the Great Resignation.
Following are my predictions for both of these HR-related 2022 trends: technology and the Great Resignation.
Trend #1: Let’s Talk Tech
Technology Investments Are a Must
Today’s mobile phone-wielding employees expect the same level of technology at work as they have outside the office. Outdated tools won’t cut it, so it’s critical to invest in technology that enables them to perform their tasks better and more efficiently.
For example, at Lendmark, we invested in Workday in the fourth quarter of 2020. We continue to build it out, as it provides leaders with real-time analytics to help inform decisions; improve succession planning; and automate formerly manual, time-consuming tasks.
Soon, we will roll out a hub to connect all employees to our learning/development and communications systems, allowing managers and employees alike to take advantage of everything the company has to offer with regard to development and career progression.
These vowels hold great possibilities. Artificial intelligence (AI), driven by people-related data, promises potential because it enables HR to look at employees in their entirety. It will also allow HR to see areas that include productivity, skills, engagement, performance, learning, and so on. How long are employees on their computers vs. in meetings? Are they responding immediately or the next day? AI will help inform HR with better decision-making capabilities.
Such a big name with such a big promise—the Metaverse and HR go hand in hand. As the hybrid work movement gains ground, so, too, will the Metaverse, as it allows people to meet up and discuss business in the same virtual space regardless of geographical location. So, a branch manager in Sacramento, California, can meet with leaders in Roswell, Georgia, and Columbus, Ohio, all at the same time and in the same virtual room.
With the Metaverse, HR will improve new employee orientations, employment information sharing, online aptitude tests, and AI-powered job capacity evaluations and other areas regardless of locale. This all contributes to a greater employee experience, higher engagement, and increased retention.
Trend #2: Let’s Talk the Great Resignation
From Shove It to Love It
The surge in resignations has been brewing for some time, particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s so great, in fact, that it has earned its lofty name, which there is no need to repeat more than necessary!
It came to a head last year as more than 20 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in the second half of 2021.
We’re living amid the Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit. Although it would be nice to think we are through the worst of the resignations, I expect this trend will continue at least until demand levels off. As such, there are areas HR departments can try to improve upon to help retain top talent. I’ll hit upon several trends that will help soften the blow. In 2022, HR will:
Provide and Activate Purpose
A major reason hundreds of thousands of folks quit their jobs over the past 2 years is they want to know their work contributes to the overall good. They crave being part of an organization that’s a good corporate citizen. As such, employers’ value proposition must change, and I think it will. And that doesn’t mean providing lip service about purpose or jumping on the bandwagon to say the right things publicly. Companies must define their purpose and live it.
The recently released Return to the Workplace Report reveals 63% of employees surveyed say flexibility in their jobs would make them feel more empowered. There’s a sizable market for employees wanting to work 20–30 hours a week. At Lendmark Financial Services, we’re addressing this by piloting more part-time positions. Offering flexible, part-time work gives employees both more personal time and a career. 2022 will be a year in which flexibility in what work looks like is key—and maybe it’s hours, days, or benefits.
Empower Employees to Grow
Want to attract and retain top talent? Give them a path to grow, which is another 2022 trend. One of the main reasons for high employee turnover is the lack of opportunities and career development. Therefore, it’s crucial to create programs that provide a path for growth within the organization. For example, we offer a robust Executive Leadership program, a popular Assistant Vice President track, a Branch Manager Training program, and more. At the same time, we encourage employees to take ownership of their careers, including seeking training outside the company, for which we provide tuition reimbursement. Whatever career-pathing resources a company offers, communicating what is available clearly, simply, and often is equally important for success.
Create Fun and Camaraderie
All work and no play makes for a very dull workplace. So, 2022’s employers of choice will sprinkle in opportunities for employees to have an enjoyable time together. They will consider providing monthly lunch-and-learn opportunities or goodies for employees or provide time for them to volunteer in the community together—a double win.
Find Growth Amid Adversity
A skilled HR team constantly evaluates and improves upon how they attract and retain employees, which are their greatest strength. Social media can reach potential talent with transferrable skills that might not otherwise think of consumer lending as a career option. Like most companies, Lendmark continues to weather the pandemic yet are fortunate to have opened 70 new branches in 2021, offering even more jobs and opportunities for employees to grow and thrive. Even if a company isn’t expanding head count and locations, there are still ways to offer and spotlight growth opportunities.
Although we aren’t immune to the Great Resignation, turnover has thankfully been low. Part of the reason is that we invest in technology that makes our employees’ jobs easier, and we treat employees the right way, provide opportunities for flexibility and growth, and reward them equitably. This is not just when the labor market becomes an employee’s market, like it is today; this is all the time.
Kelley Daviss is the Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Lendmark Financial Services.