Foremost, workers are taking decisions to leave based on how their employers treated them – or didn’t treat them – during the pandemic. Ultimately, workers stayed at companies that offered support, and darted from those that didn’t.
Two full calendar years later, and Covid-19 is still affecting how we work, and how we view work in relation to our wider lives. By now, we’re all too aware of the challenges this worldwide pandemic has introduced. But it’s brought about some positive changes too, from flexible working to a newfound focus on company culture. Here are our top five workplace trends for 2022 – we’ll start with a downbeat one, and get more optimistic from there…
Trend 1 – The ‘Great Resignation’
It may sound like a vaguely remembered chapter of GCSE history, but the Great Resignation is very much a 2022 problem. A study by HR company Personio found that 38% of UK employees were planning to resign in the next 12 months.
But what’s causing such a sea change? There’s been a shift in people’s priorities, of course; the pandemic has made a lot of us re-evaluate what’s important in life. But many economists believe that a bigger factor is toxic workplace culture, a problem that’s only been exacerbated by a switch to remote working. So, what can be done?
Trend 2 – Culture is king
In 2019, a workplace with ‘unbeatable office culture’ might have boasted:
- A table tennis table
- Free fruit
- A TV with an Xbox attached
- And even–holiest of holies–a beer fridge
Three years and one pandemic later, and the ideal office culture of 2022 couldn’t look more different. Remote working has made a lot of the old ‘perks’ redundant – workplace culture in 2022 is all about employee wellbeing.
[Empathetic leaders] will recognize mental health issues and offer open and honest conversations. They will inquire about what their workers need, and provide those services.
Whether that’s time off for yoga classes, access to mental health apps, or recognising the incredible efforts of their employees, the best businesses will have a renewed focus on wellbeing.
Trend 3 – Hybrid working
Yep, it’s here to stay. Perhaps the biggest workplace shift of the last few years has been the rise of remote working. What started as a necessity has become an expected part of office life – most companies now have robust video-call infrastructure in place, with employees dialing in from their studies, bedrooms, and even other countries.
But as the world begins to return to normality (it will happen, we promise), one thing that won’t make a comeback is the old 9-to-5. Research by Future Forum shows that 83% of workers don’t want to spend five days a week in the office, and the hybrid model is now de rigueur in most sectors. All of which means, of course, that ‘work from home’ is no longer a benefit hiring managers can shout about.
Trend 4 – Diversity and inclusion
With movements such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate gaining so much traction in the last year, employees are waiting to see how their company will reflect these calls for social change. From their overarching values to the smallest day-to-day interactions, diversity and inclusion should be top of mind for every business
72% of UK job seekers and employers consider a diverse workforce to be an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Moreso now than ever before, businesses are striving to be inclusive, and finding ways to celebrate their diversity.
Trend 5 – The importance of soft skills
Gone are the days of ‘proficient in Excel’ being a key skill. Our digital future has put a greater emphasis on so-called soft skills, as companies look for employees who can deal with the flexibility that home-working provides.
Despite (or rather, because of) many meetings now taking place remotely, interpersonal skills have become hugely important. After all, it takes an engaging orator to make a Zoom call interesting, and keep people from flicking over to another tab. And with more trust being placed on employees to manage their own workloads, time management is a more vital skill than ever.
How The WOW! Awards can help
Over 20 years ago, we set out to uncover the personal, human stories at the heart of every business. To celebrate the little moments of human gold, and champion the companies that foster an inclusive, rewarding workplace. In 2022, we believe that mission is more relevant than ever.
The WOW! Awards are:
- Engaging. Recognising your employees’ hard work cultivates a healthy, rewarding company culture.
- Inclusive. We’re the only recognition programme on the market that’s judged independently, so we don’t suffer from hidden internal bias.
- Supportive. At a time when employee wellbeing is all-important, The WOW! Awards help individuals to feel truly valued by customers and employees alike.
- Motivational. We read every single submission, from customers and employees alike, so good work never goes unrecognised.