HR Answers: Key Talent Strategy Trends in 2022

stack of wood blocks with arrows pointing up to a 2022 block at the top of the stack
By Hema Crockett , Jamie Jacobs

5 minutes

Focusing on skills development, leadership coaching and engagement opportunities will help boost employee retention and organizational growth.

In order for organizations to stay on top in 2022, it’s critical to have the right strategies in place that not only considers employee preferences and the changing talent landscape, but one that also sustains and aligns with the desired culture and overall vision of the credit union. This is especially true for the increasing changes the HR role has been and will continue experiencing. Below are a few trends to rethink, understand and prioritize in the new year.

Building/Rebuilding Skills

Over the past two years, here have been significant changes to the way we work, when we work and where we work. While some changes have proven to be positive—such as increased flexibility—there are many changes for which we can’t yet predict an outcome. Therefore, it’s important to shift talent strategies around needed skills rather than the role or job title.

This change is necessary for a couple of reasons. First, with roles and job descriptions continuing to shift rapidly, employers are looking for experts with specific skill sets and reskilling their current employees to prepare for the pace of change. In fact, 40% of HR leaders say that they are unable to build skill development solutions fast enough to meet the needs of evolving skills, according to Gartner. With remote work being a more permanent solution than we have seen in the past, employees also have more flexibility to obtain online certifications in areas that focus on specific skills. Another reason this change in mindset is important is to retain top talent. Rather than staying stagnant, training and upskilling employees can lead to higher-performing teams, innovation and talent retention to better cater to the needs of the organization and shifts in business strategy.

The Gig Talent Economy

The independent workforce has been growing at an exponential rate, and it represents a trend that will transform how organizations engage with talent moving forward. According to Paul Estes, author of the “Gig Economy With Paul Estes” newsletter, “There are approximately 60 million independent workers in the United States, representing $1.5 trillion in U.S. GDP and growing. Projections estimate that 50% of our U.S. workforce will be independent workers by 2025-2030.”

As business and HR leaders, it’s important to consider the gig economy and how it might impact the organization as a whole. Remote work has made it easier than ever to find and engage with independent contractors all over the world. Not only does this provide a wide range of highly skilled experts in a convenient way, but it also saves the time and cost it would take to hire a full-time employee, especially if you are looking to fill interim roles or talent for short-term projects. In order to achieve outstanding business results, organizations must build their teams with the best talent possible.

Leadership Coaching

For many leaders, navigating, building and engaging a remote workforce was brand new territory and a big challenge due to the abrupt shift. This shift has not only had a significant impact on leaders themselves, but has also impacted how the entire organization operates, makes decisions and solves problems. In fact, according to Gartner, only 44% of employees say they trust their company’s leaders to navigate a crisis well.

Leaders who feel prepared and supported in their roles can directly contribute to the overall health of an organization. One way to set your leaders up for success is to bring in external coaches for professional development as they continue learning how to navigate. This is a great opportunity to meet leaders where they’re at on their journey while supporting them as individuals. Allotting resources for leadership development will positively impact the organizational culture and can reduce burnout and stress, increase trust for both employees and leaders, and create higher collaboration and greater development opportunities for employees looking to move up to leadership positions.

Talent Engagement & Retention

Having the talent necessary to deliver on strategy is one of the things that keeps business leaders up at night. Organizations are thinking about new ways to create a complete talent ecosystem, adapt to the changing ways people want to work and connect with their employees in personal and meaningful ways.

Creating internal talent marketplaces allows companies to leverage the talent they have and create opportunities for people to develop skills outside of their normal job functions. Breaking down work at a more task-based level (as compared to a full-time job description) can allow managers to create opportunities for employees throughout the organization to help on a project team or on a specific initiative, expanding their experience and skill sets. There are technologies like Gloat and Hitch that allow companies to leverage existing talent in new ways. This also allows people to gain knowledge and experience without having to leave your organization to get it.

Additionally, creating alumni network groups is a growing part of the employee experience. A network of company champions can be leveraged as a great referral source, sourcing network (you’ve heard about boomerang employees, right?), and even as gig talent. Who better to help with a project than someone who already knows key stakeholders and your organization’s systems, and who already has existing internal relationships?

The concept of retaining existing employees is not new and remains a hot topic today. We know that having meaningful relationships with peers and managers are some of the main drivers of people staying in organizations. Finding new ways to build these relationships in the era of hybrid and remote work can prove to be challenging for both leaders and employees. When you layer on the increasing statistics of employees experiencing mental health challenges, it makes it even more critical for managers and all workers today to understand what it takes to create a mentally healthy foundation for inspired human connection within your workplace.  The August 2020 Inspired Human Connection Survey with Qualtrics showed that more than 50% of people self-reported seeking treatment for a mental health related concern. This means that employees (including managers, leaders, candidates) and their families are likely being impacted by mental health issues in some way. Creating learning opportunities for people to understand the difference between disengagement and depression and how to articulate belonging can be a great differentiator for your credit union, with a huge impact on both how you attract and retain talent and support the challenges facing employees today.

As we continue to face changes due to the pandemic, exciting opportunities and unfamiliar challenges, it’s safe to say work as we knew it will never be the same. Now is the time for HR professionals and business leaders to not only anticipate these changes but start adjusting their processes and strategies to prepare and guide their teams in the right direction for the future.

Hema Crockett and Jamie Jacobs are the co-authors of Designing Exceptional Organizational Cultures: How to Develop Companies Where Employees Thrive. With more than 35 years of combined HR experience, and known as authentic, transformational leaders, Crockett and Jacobs have built strong reputations for creating and developing high impact human resources teams that drive business results within tech, biotech and global Fortune 50 companies.

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