Building employee engagement and helping them stay motivated will be harder than ever this year, according to research by NaturalHR.

The HR software provider studied the human resource challenges and priorities for 2022 and found how employees feel at work is the number one priority for most businesses.

Over 70 percent of HR professionals in the UK say they will prioritise improving employee engagement and experience in the workplace.

Advisory firm Gartner said, “two-thirds of the drivers of customer satisfaction are due to ‘feel factors,’ or how customers feel during and about their experience.”

They believe HR leaders should take this same approach to employee experience as well, focusing on influencing and improving employees’ feelings towards their jobs.

Companies combat shortages in supply of labour

Nearly half the respondents cited the recruitment of talent as the most difficult task for the year ahead.

As the supply of labour shrinks, many employers have tried to retain talent by raising wages and upskilling existing staff while hiring apprentices for hard to fill vacancies. 

The problem is fueled by guidance around the pandemic and the changing legislation surrounding the recruitment of employees from outside the UK.

Employer focus steady on health and well-being 

The findings differ greatly from last year, when the major emphasis was on employee health and well-being in the wake of the coronavirus.

Reassuringly, this is still a priority for 64 percent of HR teams, as savvy leaders step up to provide ongoing support for their employees. 

Growing need for flexibility in where, when, and how employees work

An overwhelming majority of HR leaders also shared they will introduce a hybrid model of working in 2022. 

Recruitment Platform REC has said, “Firms who understand the pressures their clients are facing in this new world, who can structure their offer in the right way, and who can access new pools of candidates, will be the ones who prosper.” 

From mental health to work-life balance, employee wellbeing tops the list of initiatives being championed this year, followed by supporting mental health and enabling flexible working.