The pandemic brought with it another wave – of resignations. The Great Resignation of 2021 was the phenomenon of multitudes of people handing in their notices. In the US alone, 4 million Americans quit their jobs by July. Their reasons were many, spanning from fear for their health to the realisation that many wanted to pursue their passion projects. In India, this was later termed the ‘Great Reshuffle’, as most people decided to opt for a job change rather than dropping out of the labour force (there’s that great Indian sense of practicality!) In light of this situation, let’s take a look at five HR/talent trends set to dominate this year.
The workforce will have to become increasingly inclusive. That’s excellent news for both companies and those from historically marginalised backgrounds. According to a study, 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when choosing a workplace. Corporate India has taken this very seriously as they’re ready to accommodate a more diverse workforce as no one should be left behind. Corporations have taken extra measures, such as extended maternity leaves, day-care facilities in the office, work-from-home options, and more.
There’s still a lot left to do. Many feel that the current DEI initiatives are merely performative and do not bring true inclusivity or equity into the workforce. There’s still a wide gap between men and women in many sectors. Corporates can also do more to bring up people from other disadvantaged groups. There must also be a stronger focus on educating those from majority social groups on how to be sensitive towards their peers who are from disenfranchised sections of society. 2022 will surely see more in these areas.
With flexible hours and remote working taking the world by storm, the gig economy is thriving. There are more opportunities for gig workers now than ever before. That includes in the service sector, such as positions for delivery people, drivers, and more. It also includes work for tech professionals, freelance writers and markets, and other professionals. This is due to technological advancements and the widespread adoption of mobile phones and their many useful and helpful apps that truly saved the day during the lockdown’s early stages.
This year will see this sector boom further as there will be further innovation in these sectors. There’s stiff competition between various app developers to see who can make the next big thing. Most of these million-dollar start-ups will have to rely on the gig economy to employ people for their services. This year will see a rise in such opportunities, as well as conversation around establishing some basic infrastructure for gig workers, such as social security. Is it possible there could be unionisation of this sector in the future? Only time will tell.
If there’s anything the Great Resignation (Reshuffling?) has taught us, it is that people are more inclined to their well-being than ever before. More employees will want access to medical care, better healthcare benefits, and maybe even time off just to add in a little exercise to their daily lives. That’s especially important when one is working from home, as such a setup could mean moving from the bed to the desk, to the couch, and then back to bed.
Along with physical health, mental health has taken the centre stage. Employees feeling burned out has become a tremendous issue. WFH has blurred boundaries, and many have been feeling overwhelmed because of this. Plus, many others feel alienated and cut off from the outside world since they’re working from home. That can lead to feelings of alienation, depression, and worse – especially for introverted folk. Therefore, provisions for checking in on colleagues and providing mental health services will be extra important this year.
Growing worries over climate change and its environmental impact seem to be permeating on all levels of society. People are worried about air pollution (they should be, imagine living in a world where we have to purchase air!) and the rising sea levels add to this. Plus, there are many social issues that are rocking the nation and the world that people are concerned about. That includes the treatment of women, tribal rights, and more. Therefore, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) related issues have gained attention over the past few years.
The frequency and severity of losses related to climate change when combined with COVID-19 have forced policymakers, investors, organisations, and even individual employees to sit up and take notice. Many have adopted climate goals and linked their investment strategy with these. Many large and small-scale companies have created policies to help them deal with societal issues. There’s also a premium on sustainability issues placed by asset managers that links DEI purpose and ESG principles.
Sustainable leadership will also be a major trend this year, especially seeing as how so many employees have been moving to-and-fro. Leaders will have to be built from the ground up to act as a mentor not in just a limited space but also in a broader context. Today’s leaders must be able to handle more sophisticated issues and act as worldwide citizens, especially since many companies have their teams dispersed across the globe. Plus, since there’s more focus on social awareness and sensitivity, leaders must be trained to understand their long-term impact on society and the planet as well.
Today’s leaders must have a long-term vision for their company. They must cultivate the mindfulness required to take their decision-making capacities beyond the short-term. Leaders must be brave enough to stand up to those who question innovation, and they must also learn how to build connections beyond their immediate circle. Of course, this will vary from company to company, but in general, today’s leader must be more flexible, quicker, more empathetic, and willing to learn more than ever before.
These are some of the key talent trends we see dominating the new year. Which do you think you need to make your company the best it can be for your employees?