By: Keith Kitani, Former CEO of GuideSpark
Workplace communication has never been simple, but we’re now at a moment combining the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, a hybrid or remote workforce, and more developments in HR technology than ever before. It’s never been more important to prioritize effective communication in the workplace, and the market is trending toward some exciting new areas of focus next year when it comes to communication at work, like leveraging the newest technologies to enrich the employee experience, or empowering employees in their role or in their personal lives.
Here are three key trends I see driving the landscape of HR and employee communications in 2022:
1. More Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiatives
2020 and 2021 certainly brought about the start of a massive, global movement toward more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our social lives and in the workplace – and I don’t expect 2022 to move away from that trend. According to a recent Traliant survey on diversity and inclusion, 79% of respondents indicated that they planned on allocating more budget to DEI in 2022; 42% citing a budget increase of 25% or more.
This is a positive, exciting sign – we know that now more than ever, workers want to feel valued, respected, and safe in their work environment. Organizations are realizing that by supporting workers in these significant ways, employee engagement and motivation have the potential to skyrocket. Committing to DEI isn’t just an initiative around a more diverse workforce, it’s part of a larger trend toward cultivating employees’ sense of belonging. Going forward, more and more organizations and leaders will continue to recognize the need to increase awareness strategy around their DEI programs, which will ultimately empower employees for an even stronger workforce.
2. Deeper Integrations for Moment-of-Need Communications
With more and more technologies emerging in the HR and communications space, the push toward one comprehensive, all-in-one platform solution will dissipate in favor of a need for more integration potential. When these technologies can interact seamlessly with one another, companies have a greater ability to customize the functionality they need for their business and their existing communications and tech framework. According to a Gartner press release on 2022 trends for Board of Directors, it’s clear that new tech initiatives are still high on the list; 58% of survey respondents indicated that it’s a top strategic business priority. Partha Iyengar, research vice president at Gartner, notes that, “For BoDs, the core focus is now on technology integration and creating a more enduring and systemic digital economic architecture, where technology is infused throughout the business and drives business outcomes.”
As new integrations become more ubiquitous, organizations will continue to take advantage in new and creative ways. The launch of Workday’s “Workday Everywhere” is a huge indicator that opening platforms – rather than building them in a silo – is a compelling way to align software with more and more user moments of need. The more deep technological integrations, the more likely it is that employees will have the ability to access workplace technology when it’s most important, driving the overall impact and performance of the product.
3. A New Focus on Internal Marketing
It’s no secret to any organization that 2021 brought a massive amount of employee resignations: just last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.3 million Americans, or 2.9% of the entire workforce, quit their jobs in August. Not all of those resignations was avoidable – the extremely unique combination of external factors in the last year and a half have ultimately changed the way employees think about their jobs and how their career fits into their larger context and experience.
However, there’s now more of a spotlight on developing an employee retention strategy more than ever before in recent history, and a comprehensive internal communications and marketing strategy will be a huge focus in the next year. Rather than only pushing employee communications when it’s “required” – such as Benefits Enrollment, or during the onboarding period for new workers – the strongest organizations will adopt an ongoing, strategic communications plan. Keeping employees consistently in the loop on business updates, reminding the workforce about exciting benefits and programs on a regular basis, and promoting a positive company culture will go a long way toward cultivating a work environment that employees will want to stay in for the long term.