Articles — Jan 24, 2022
New Year, New Era: 8 Things Employers Should Get Ahead of in 2022
Over the past two years, employers have grappled with challenge after challenge, ultimately resulting in a permanently altered work environment and employee expectations. Now, as the focus in 2022 shifts from anticipating the end of the pandemic to “learning to live with the pandemic”, employers are trying to decipher what this new era looks like for their organizations and employees. By taking a more proactive approach to areas like workplace culture, benefits and technology, employers can be better prepared in comparison to previous years to handle the challenges this year is expected to present.
Here are 8 tasks we expect employers to be faced with throughout 2022 and our recommendations for how to get ahead of the curve.
1 – Managing COVID-19 vaccination and test tracking
COVID-19 vaccination and test tracking will be a norm for many organizations in 2022 as the pandemic persists. As an added responsibility to HR’s already heightened workload, organizations requiring testing and vaccinations for their employees will need a solution to manage this. To support these employers, bswift teamed up with parent company CVS Health to develop and implement a COVID-19 vaccination and testing confirmation solution. As we continue into the new year, ensure your organization is prepared with a streamlined and efficient solution if you plan to track this information for your employees.
2 – Planning for long-term remote and hybrid work
With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, we expect “return to work” conversations to shift to “managing long-term remote/hybrid work” discussions. Employers must recognize that the current work environment is likely here to stay for longer than they may have been expecting. While many were previously focused on having their employees adapt to this work environment, employers must instead take a closer look at how the environment can be better adapted to employee needs and create new solutions for any challenges they may be facing. The goal should be to foster a remote or hybrid environment that is as efficient and painless as possible – a win-win for both employees and employers.
3 – Increased use of health services
Since the onset of the pandemic, many Americans postponed nonessential health services and procedures for their safety. This year, Americans are expected to increasingly seek out the care they have been deferring over the past two years. In addition, the pandemic has resulted in poor nutrition, less exercise and a rise in substance abuse and mental health issues for many Americans. As a result of all of this, health services usage is expected to see an overall uptick this year. Employers will need to ensure employees can easily access, manage and use their health and wellness benefits, and this starts with intuitive benefits technology, coupled with compassionate service.
4 – Navigating employee fatigue
Employees are expected to be fatigued as we approach the two-year anniversary of the start of the pandemic in the United States. Gartner found that 54% of HR leaders say their employees are fatigued from months of change, and that today’s employees can only absorb half as much change before becoming fatigued as they could manage in 2019. HR can provide support by relying on tools that simplify the employee experience as much as possible. When it comes to benefits and HR resources, partner with technology providers who can help you deliver this information via a streamlined and contemporary platform.
5 – Delivering benefits and initiatives for the whole employee
The concept of the “whole employee” will take center stage when it comes to benefits this year. Employers who aren’t investing in benefits and resources to support today’s expansive view of employee wellness will be underdelivering for their employee population. We expect to see employers increasingly leaning on a variety of voluntary benefits to cover the areas of physical, mental and financial health which they may not have already delivered with their traditional benefit offerings. Areas like work-life balance, burnout management and career health will need to be addressed with PTO policies, effective managerial training and engaging career development programs for employees.
6 – Creating a foundation of empathy in the workplace
As employees continue to navigate ongoing change and fatigue, organizations this year will need to deliver compassionate experiences in all aspects of the employee experience. In our latest study, we found that 73% of employees want their company to take a more empathetic approach to HR communications. Empathy should serve as the basis for all messages and interactions which occur within the workplace. This not only includes the ways in which managers lead and interact with their teams, but also the tools employees use on a regular basis. Going into next year, employers should consider relying on technology platforms that put the “human” at the core of the experiences they deliver to their employees.
7 – Focusing on diversity and inclusion
We expect diversity and inclusion-related initiatives and investments in the workplace to be a focal point this year, with 78% of employees reporting in our recent study that they want their HR teams to improve equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. A recent Gartner report also found that 76% of employees and job seekers say a diverse workforce is important when evaluating companies and job offers. An increasingly diverse workforce will also mean a wider range of needs and priorities within the workplace, and employers may need to invest in a workforce culture strategy that takes this into account.
8 – Being well-equipped to successfully navigate change
The events of the past two years have taught employers to be prepared for whatever may come. Reflecting on how far we’ve come since the onset of the pandemic, employers are realizing that managing risk and having contingency plans in place for their internal and external processes are essential. In 2022 and beyond, agility and flexibility will be expected of technology and service providers. As an employer, you need to know that your partners can always move at your pace and deliver innovative solutions for your unique situations on a whim. Reevaluate how your partners have or have not been able to support your organizational change through the pandemic and invest in those who can do this for you moving forward.
Learn more about Jin Oak Ha, on LinkedIn! Follow bswift for more industry content.