HR leaders need to support businesses through organisational and cultural change this year, as they continue to work through challenges left over from the pandemic.

The call comes from the Top Employers Institute’s World of Work Trends Report 2022, which examined how global developments will impact workforces in the year ahead. 

Top Employers Institute is a global HR certification programme that focuses on people practises.

The report says 2022 presents a major strategic opportunity for HR teams to shine, but says first there needs to be a cultural shift which involves employees in every aspect of the organisation.  

It says creating new ways of working will enable companies to meet the needs of employees, as well improve a business’s long term prospects. Through its research, the report found three main trends, explained below that businesses need to be aware of.

Unleash the power of the ‘involved employee’

The report, which spoke to almost 2,000 businesses with agile working practises found that simply engaging employees is not enough. It says HR teams must allow employees to be more involved in decision-making in the company – beyond the ‘narrow confines of their job description’

The research found that the more involved employees were in a company’s decisions and outcomes, the more committed they were. 83 percent of companies now involve their employees in the design of organisation and work, which the study says cannot be overstated. 

One way to do this, it suggests, is appointing ‘change champions’ who will help spread positive messages. They will also personalise and make change feel ‘more human’.  Another of its suggested methods is to provide managers with specific training to manage employee reactions and expectations.

Using personalised communication for employees is also suggested, as well as giving them enough feedback tools so they are aware that their voices and opinions in driving the business are important.

Deliver agility through digit-ability

The report suggests that companies should embrace new technologies that will help create a positive experience for employees as well as more integrated teams.

It found that out of its most successful certified businesses, 81 percent regularly audited the effectiveness of their HR technologies. 

The report also found that by supporting employees’ use of technology – including those in blue collar roles – employees were more engaged in the business. This contributed to how they felt about the business overall, which was generally more positive than employees who had no support.

Taming the “Wild West of work”

As more and more businesses offer a work from home policy, the report suggests these need to be handled carefully. It warns this is so as not to create ‘an uncharted or lawless’ atmosphere.

It says employers ‘owe it to employees’ to ensure new ways of working are effectively supported.

It says every organisation needs ground rules and while flexible working should be encouraged – employee output should be clearly defined and communicated. Employees, the report says, can only follow work from home rules, if they know what they are.