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2022 HR Recap: Looking Back to Prepare for What's Ahead

by Nayya Marketing November 30, 2022

As we all know, human resources is a constantly shifting landscape. Each new year brings with it new challenges for HR leaders to face and new opportunities to conquer. While it’s impossible to predict the obstacles that will inevitably arise in the coming year, it always helps to reflect on the past to prepare for the future. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges that HR teams faced this year and how leading HR teams rose to the occasion.

“The Great Resignation”

To get a better idea of what HR leaders experience in terms of staffing, it’s worth taking a look at the latest JOLT numbers. There were 10.7 million job openings until September 2022, and the number of employees voluntarily clearing their desks stood at 4.06 million. When the Great Resignation was in full swing, HR teams took notice quickly, and worked to bolster their retention efforts across the board. HR teams ran company wide surveys, listened to employee feedback, reevaluated their culture, and revamped their benefits offering, all with the goal of creating happier, more satisfied employees. And all of that hard work really seems to be paying off.

While the number of resignations is still quite high, HR leaders can find solace in the fact that the number declined for the fifth time since March of this year. This is not to say that Great Resignation has reached the end of its run, but it does mean that actions HR teams are taking are working.

“The Great Reshuffle”

Another trend that took off in 2022 was the rise of the hybrid workplace and employees “shuffling” between working from home and working from the office. After the pandemic, many employees craved the work-life balance they experienced when working from home. Many individuals were hoping to commute less, and prefer performing their tasks from home or in a co-working space.

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index for 2022 highlights a new challenge for HR leaders—one that centers around trust and confidence. 85% of HR leaders think that hybrid workplaces pose a serious threat to productivity and believe that the shift to hybrid offices “has made it challenging to have confidence that employees are being productive.”

Building trust and confidence is never easy, but many HR teams have taken the challenge in stride. With quarterly performance reviews, goal management, and virtual team building activities, HR leaders have found new ways to engage employees who are working from home and ensure that all teams are reaching their full productivity potential.

“Quiet Quitting”

Social media has a long history of causing challenges for HR leaders, but who would have predicted that a TikTok trend would be at the center of so many HR conversations this year? For anyone who may have not heard, the concept of “quiet quitting” refers to employees who stick to their job description, and don’t go above and beyond to take on extra tasks, work after hours, etc. While this doesn’t seem that bad in theory, many HR leaders worry that it's indicative of a much larger problem: a decline in company morale and a general lack of excitement around the company mission.

A recent Gallup study found that 85% of employees are either not “engaging enough” or are “actively disengaging” themselves at work. This has become a major concern for HR teams who want to make sure their employees are feeling motivated and excited by the work that they’re doing.

In response to this, many people teams have introduced new or increase the frequency of existing engagement surveys. Encouraging honest employee reflections gives HR teams insight into who is feeling unmotivated or unhappy at work, in addition to ways that they can help those employees feel more confident and happy. While Quiet Quitting will never go away entirely, bringing it to the forefront of the conversation has allowed HR leaders to address the issues at hand that may be leading to unmotivated employees.

Mass Layoffs

With the economy predicted to enter a recession next year, many companies have laid off employees in 2022. Massive tech companies like Twitter and Meta laid off thousands of employees. Others, like Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, and Shopify are under a hiring freeze — with many fearing layoffs in the coming months.

Mass layoffs put HR leaders in a challenging position. Larger talent pools will hopefully make hiring easier, but at the same time, many teams are under pressure to reduce their workforce. Not to mention, layoffs always result in challenging and difficult conversations.

With layoffs being the center of conversation for the majority of 2022, employees have looked to HR leaders. Leading HR teams have approached the conversation head-on, directly addressing the company with what decisions are being made and why, so that everyone is on the same page. Encouraging an open-door policy for questions employees may have and being clear and direct about the company's decision either to proceed or not proceed with layoffs has been the recipe for success for HR teams who are overcoming these challenging situations.

Wrap Up

To put it simply, 2022 wasn’t easy on HR teams. This short recap doesn’t even begin to explain all of the challenges that HR has faced since the start of the pandemic, but it provides a brief look at just a few of the curveballs teams had to adapt to this year. Hopefully 2023 will be filled with sunshine and rainbows, but if challenges arise, looking to ways that HR teams have successfully addressed arising challenges in the past is always a helpful tactic for moving forward.

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