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Wading into Another Year of Unknowns

Most leaders understand that a positive culture is critical to success. But too few know how to build and sustain the human-centric workplaces employees not only look for from employers today but refuse to work for any that lack humanity. The pace of change and challenge over the past few years will continue to define us in 2022, as will the vicissitudes of the job market. This lived experience has taught us that what propels growth today is putting employees first and creating cultures around wellbeing and resilience. Far from our history of top-down management practices, we’ve learned that kind, empathic leaders attract and retain the best talent and achieve the highest levels of success. Although it’s hard to think about wading into another year of unknowns, we should remember that when great leaders are faced with difficult times, they find unimaginable opportunity.

2022 gives us a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rethink work, as we explain in our annual eBook. We see five main areas to prioritize, and we offer critical insight and tools to create cultures where both organizations and everyone in them thrive: (1) recruitment, (2) building community, (3) employer brand, (4) leadership, and (5) hybrid/remote work. Following are a few highlights from TalenTrust’s 2022 eBook, which will be available for complimentary download in its entirety in mid-January.

Recruitment: An even tougher war for great talent.

People decide to work for you for the same reasons they buy your products or services: largely because they’ve come to trust or like you based on what you say and do. It’s not one thing, it’s everything you do that attracts and retains the top talent you need. People choose you because you’ve created a powerful candidate or employee experience—one that provides career opportunities and flexes to the various needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. It’s time to untie your culture from the past and focus on what people want from employers today. Consider the following  trends as you reimagine and innovate your recruiting strategies and practices for 2022:

  • Talent demand will consistently outpace supply for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the “Great Resignation.”
  • Your employer brand will become increasingly crucial in attracting candidates. Be who you say you are.
  • Remote work will move diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from buzzword to cornerstone.
  • New tech tools will help you leverage every stage of recruitment. Don’t fear technology, use it for support.

Building Community: Culture and engagement are out. Community is in.

Employees today experience their companies in different ways: some onsite, some from home, and others in various hybrid situations. In the midst of this dramatic work-life evolution, leaders and employees alike find themselves confused, afraid, and unprepared. A successful forward path begins with being purposeful about what employees experience working for you. Recognize that even small changes to your policies can make a big impact on employees’ day-to-day experience. View every individual holistically: work and personal lives should not be seen as “either-or,” and they should not be at war with each other.

These are steps you can take to build a community where everyone feels safe being themselves and policies mitigate rather than cause stress for members: Listen. Be Inclusive. Foster wellbeing and resilience. Aim for creating your unique Camelot, where people are appreciated, celebrated, and supported as the valuable assets they are and nurtured by empathic leaders.

Employer Brand: Far more than a recruitment marketing tool.

A strong employer brand enhances your candidate and employee experience, strengthens your culture, generates pride, and makes employees want to stay. It also attracts new customers. LinkedIn research shows that 75 percent of job seekers check out your brand and reputation before they apply. Maintaining a positive and compelling brand that both attracts and retains people (and customers) requires a well-defined and consistent strategy and a compelling employee value proposition (EVP).

No one today is satisfied with the often broad or generic statements of the past. People want specifics abut how you are handling change, what you’re doing about workplace safety, what technical support you provide to remote and hybrid workers, how flexible your policies are, and how you build community remotely. It’s important to tell your story honestly and spread your brand widely.

Leadership: Hands-off management. Hands-on feelings.

A paycheck is not enough on any level anymore. People want much more from employers—and they have choices about where they want to work. No one should have to, or will, endure the poor management practices of the past. The most effective leaders recognize that when they lead with their humanity first, they empower others to be more authentic, kind, and attuned to feelings. Relationship over process. Coach over boss. Outcomes over output. These are what will continue to define success in 2022. Forget about you and dare to care for your people. It’s not only the humane way to lead, but it makes good business sense.

Hybrid / Remote / Onsite: A seismic shift.

Most people have a preference for how they want to work going forward. Rather than mandate what employees can and cannot do, let them make their case about how and where they can do their best work and accommodate them as best you can. We will never go back to what we always thought was normal. Every leader must now learn how to lead in a virtual and hybrid world.

Leading virtually was beginning to trend before the pandemic when it became a necessity. Many of the traits and skills used by the most effective leaders of traditional workplaces are transferable to the virtual world—and there are also some unique and significant challenges. Research has been done on what the most effective virtual leaders do differently, and it’s in large part based on trusting, training, and communicating.

It takes a community to accomplish anything of importance. Over the past two years we’ve realized that we all fail or thrive together. In this moment, we have the opportunity to completely rethink our workplaces and break the status quo that has kept us from reaching our full potential. We’re all pioneers in this strange new world of unknowns. Let’s support each other in making it positive.

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