What were the 5 biggest changes in the workplace that will continue to transform our working lives into 2022?
It was after 18 months of lockdown that ‘the great resignation’ really came into force.
We all know someone who has resigned this year. And it’s set to continue into 2022. Just last month (November 2021) a survey, by recruiter Randstad UK, found that 7 out of 10 employees plan to move to a new job in the next few months.
For some, it was because of the effects of burnout. For others, having more time at home led them to reflect on their work lives; from pursuing a dream job or finding more meaningful work.
Retaining and attracting employees suddenly became a priority, with new incentives emerging such as:
The dominance of office-based working is over.
Lockdown forced employers to rapidly allow remote working from home. And employees love the newfound freedom and flexibility that comes with remote working. But this forced, unexpected shift, is not the same as well-planned, flexible working systems.
The benefits to both employees and employers are already apparent. But there are behavioural risks. The main one is letting two cultures emerge: the in-person workers vs. remote workers.
For remote workers, we’ve seen that culture, the sense of belonging and social cohesion, soon deteriorates. When this occurs, people can quickly feel isolated, excluded and unhappy.
2021 saw organisations ramping up their D&I efforts, with focused support for their underrepresented employees – gender orientation, cultures, race & ethnicities, disabilities, age, appearance and more.
As a communicator, I’m particularly interested in the role of language in the D&I agenda. It binds us. Instructs us. It creates a common understanding.
Historically, language has left many people out. Inclusive language seeks to treat all people with respect, dignity, and impartiality. Making changes to use more inclusive language offers us a chance to be better communicators while also caring for those we’re communicating with.
It’s why we’re seeing greater use of “they” instead of “he/she” and new training programmes to instigate a change in behaviour with greater empathy and sensitivity.
Mental health issues, burnout, and stressed workers became so widespread during the pandemic that the World Health Organisation (WHO) claimed it an ‘occupational phenomenon’.
Suddenly, more impetus for creating workplace wellness strategies was seen, with organisations rushing to navigate new initiatives including physical, emotional, financial, social, community and Purpose.
Some of the best initiatives we’ve seen include:
Demand for organisations to show how their actions help the planet and society has soared.
Employees expect true commitment to uphold values. Those companies that do prioritise climate and social responsibility stand out. As a result, they can attract and retain the best talent.
But some companies are not going far enough. It's one thing to say you care, it is another thing to completely live and breathe what you promise, which has led to phrases like “purpose-washing”, “green-washing” and “woke-washing”.
BrewDog is a great example of an organisation not acting on its values. In the summer, ex-employees came together calling themselves “Punks with Purpose” – Punks being a term widely used within Brewdog - to whistle-blow on the company’s toxic culture and the gap of what they were saying vs. doing, causing a severe knock to their reputation.
In the last 18 months, the way people work has seen unpresented change in response to Covid pandemic.
2022 will see organisations building on the above 2021 biggest changes. There’s still much more to do before we reach a new ‘norm’ in our work lives. And, there’s no going back!
Launching the landmark report on diversity data in the FS industry - Holding Up the Mirror - Baroness Helena Morrissey DBE, Chair of the Diversity Project, used her introduction to the webinar on April 22 to highlight one of the ‘killer facts’ from the survey. “While 80% of HR leaders believe that collecting D&I data should be a priority in 2021,” she told the senior FS audience, “only 20% of leaders believe they are good at it.”
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