HR in 2022: Shifting the power back to employees
For tech aficionados, Apple’s 1984 MacIntosh commercial remains one of the most iconic ads of all time. It may also turn out to be a key reference point for HR leaders in 2022, suggested Amer Iqbal, APAC Head of Digital Transformation, Facebook.
Speaking with HRM Asia Magazine, he described, “A woman runs into a crowded theatre, the sea of expressionless faces illuminated with the dim flicker of an authoritarian figure filling their minds with propaganda. The woman throws a sledgehammer, shattering the screen and setting the masses free.”
“We’ve always been drawn to tales of individuals taking the power back. While the 80s’ revolution was apparently about selling beige, box-shaped computers, 40 years later we find ourselves fighting for a more noble cause: breaking down the walls between work and life and ushering in a re-emergence of self.”
Describing the last 18 months as providing “false starts and failed re-openings”, Iqbal is optimistic that 2022 will shape up to be a time of rebirth and reinvention for many organisations, although it will not come without challenges.
“The single greatest challenge, and equally the greatest opportunity for organisations, will be the shift of power back to the people,” he predicted.
“The single greatest challenge, and equally the greatest opportunity for organisations, will be the shift of power back to the people.” – Amer Iqbal, APAC Head of Digital Transformation, Facebook.
While reverting to what used to work before the pandemic struck may seem like an appealing and easy option, Iqbal sees going down that route as a missed opportunity for organisations to take what they have learnt from the pandemic to rethink how to improve processes and practices.
“How can we put a positive lens on the doom and gloom we have heard so much about?”, he asked.
With the Great Resignation for instance, people are leaving their jobs to find purpose and autonomy. Organisations need to ask themselves if they are the ones who can offer it. Where mental health is concerned, Iqbal asked, “If managers acted more like mentors, would people still feel the need to check their personality at the door?”
With a significant portion of the workforce likely to work remotely as part of a hybrid setup in 2022, he also believes that more organisations will tap into the advantages of lean, just-in-time skills from remote freelance and gig workers.
“Ultimately, those organisations who can successfully serve the needs of their people and unlock the full potential of the individual will sail into 2022 riding high,” Iqbal concluded.
Amid all the change that a world of work constantly in a state of motion has brought, one common thread: People, Power, Performance, has grown stronger said Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product and Technology, ADP.
He added, “To support and empower their people, employers are rooting their decision-making in data and leveraging those insights to better their employees’ needs and what drives their productivity.”
According to the ADP Research Institute’s new People at Work: A Global Workforce View study, employers are now looking for new opportunities to increase employee visibility and better understand the needs of a dispersed workforce as they explore on-site, fully remote, or hybrid workplace models.
To accelerate performance, ADP recommends that employers focus on their employees’ individual strengths and provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills or embark on a new career trajectory with more opportunities for growth.
The theme of placing people first was also continued by Jason Averbook, CEO and Co-Founder of CEO, who believes that HR leaders have a key mission in 2022 – creating a people-centric workforce experience that reinforces organisational purpose and culture.
“A thriving workforce is a required ingredient of a thriving business,” he emphasised. “Connect your people strategies to organisational purpose. Obsess over their experience, their care and wellbeing, their mental health and ability to thrive. Put their needs first; make them feel safe, cared for, and connected to your mission; help them find joy at work. They can and will rise to the occasion, but only if people leaders set the tone.”
With change set to be a buzzword for the workforce in 2022 as uncertainly continues to linger because of the pandemic (or endemic), HR and people leaders will also need to manage and ensure a productive workforce, no matter where employees may be working from.
While work from home (WFH) was the default for many organisations in 2021, this will gradually transition to a work from anywhere (WFA) model in 2022, suggested Dickson Tang, Keynote Speaker and Author on Creative Human Capital.
“WFA will be at the top of the HR agenda in 2022,” he predicted. “It has been proven that the workforce can still deliver results while working from home during the pandemic. Since WFH is workable, it is natural that employees will be advocating for WFA.”
“It has been proven that the workforce can still deliver results while working from home during the pandemic. Since work from home is workable, it is natural that employees will be advocating for work from anywhere.” – Dickson Tang, Keynote Speaker and Author on Creative Human Capital
Tang also recommended HR leaders to consider three factors when preparing for the implementation of WFA, beginning with making WFA a talent management initiative. “The war for talent is global,” he explained.
“Highly skilled employees, especially the younger generation, are excited by the concept of traveling around the world, while staying employed full-time. In this case, WFA is a talent management initiative, not just a mode of working arrangement.”
HR leaders then need to discuss with their management on how they may begin to implement their WFA initiatives. “Brainstorm and ask, how might you improve your HR and WFA policies, so that HR can help you unlock your team’s creativity and productivity?”
Once policies for WFA have been shaped, HR leaders can then work with operational and technical teams to address infrastructure issues, Tang continued. “This includes ensuring public Wi-Fi security, setting up asynchronous and synchronous communication channels to let employees get work done easily. Embrace WFA, because that’s the way to go for 2022,” he concluded.