2022 Workforce-Workplace Forecast - Part 2
By Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist
Monday, 10th January 2022

Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist at 4Hoteliers.com

Every year usually beginning in December, I write the next year's workforce/workplace forecast, in part due to the global pandemic, many in the workforce have re-evaluated their previous values and attitudes.

Over the last year, I have written about this re-evaluation; to read any of the Herman Trend Alerts I have written in the past, you can access the archive.

Today, I have covered the second part---7 of the 12 trends I wanted to share for the coming year. You can read Part 1 of these trends here.

6. Unconscious Bias Still Alive and Well
Many things were put on hold during COVID and addressing issues of diversity and inclusion was one of them. Of course, those issues did not magically evaporate. In fact, the attack on the Capitol and subsequent expressions of political ideology have made matters worse. Employers are aware of the insidious nature of unconscious bias and know they must tackle it; the problem is that most do not have the will. Sadly, many leaders disproportionately promote and bonus those who look, act, and are most like them.

At the same time, those who are seen as being different from "the norm" receive harsher assessments for the same work performance (or better) and conduct---often expressed in "neutral" highly valued traits. And because the bias is unconscious, often even the most senior leaders don't know why, how, or that they are making such biased judgments. Unless companies fire those who hurt others with their unconscious bias and promote those who encourage inclusion, organizations will continue to lose the war for talent. In this very competitive marketplace, potential victims know they don't have to tolerate bias. At the first micro- or macro-aggression, they can quit and move to a bias-free company ready to welcome them with open arms. Having an impact requires more than good intentions.

7. Employers Concerned for Wellness/Wellbeing of their People
The COVID Pandemic has taken a toll on the psyches of workers around the world. From the additional stresses of remote work to the discomfort of mask-wearing to the fear of contracting this deadly disease---not to mention the challenges of dealing with homeschooling and lack of affordable childcare, employees have had to deal with more issues over the previous 2-1/2 years than ever before. Mentally, many are in uncharted territory and feel like they have no GPS, no roadmaps, not even a compass to guide them. They need help and they need it now. I expect to see unprecedented use of EAPs and other avenues for handling mental health issues. But wait, there's more. . . Employers, in record numbers have come to understand the toll that worrying about finances takes on their people; that's why they are looking for Financial Wellness assistance for their employees.

Many are turning to the Best Money Moves platform. Led by award-winning financial writer, author, and radio talk show host Ilyce Glink, Best Money Moves uses artificial intelligence to power a mobile-first platform that measures employee financial stress, then helps to alleviate it down with a unique content-mapping system that delivers the right information, tools, solutions---with a company's own corporate-paid benefits---to the employee, just at the point that they are looking for help to reduce and resolve their financial pain points. Not only does this valuable platform teach the basics and support employees to get out of debt and save money, but when the need arises, it also serves as a conduit for additional financial needs of the employees like short-term loans and help paying back student debt. (Ilyce and I will be discussing this entire 2022 Workforce-Workplace Forecast in a live-discussion and webinar on February 24, 2022, at 12 noon EST.)

8. Learning and Development will Evolve to Serve the New Generations
Many folks in the new generations are simply not interested in sitting in a room and being lectured to. That is not the way they want to learn and grow. The new coaching app provides experiential live coaching at scheduled times on any Android mobile device.

Currently available only on Android devices, the start-up expects to offer its services on Apple devices soon. The beauty of this app is that users can access the same product to receive live coaching on wellness issues like sleep and nutrition, as well as work issues like building more effective teams and promoting yourself at work. (My Learning Community on the app is titled Experience Rules for Sales Professionals and it is based on my new book.) Other types of experiential learning that companies will discover work well are apprenticeships, internships, and other kinds of on-the-job opportunities to acquire skills.

9. Refocus on the Employee Experience
Companies are discovering---some the hard way---that employee experiences matter a lot. Especially in this very competitive labor marketplace, how employees feel about the work they do, the environment they are in, and the culture of the organization all come together to create a (hopefully) positive work situation for them. Employers who ignore the importance of the employee experience will find themselves unable to recruit and retain the people they need to get the job done. There are many factors that can contribute to that positive employee experience. The companies delivering the best employee experiences will be considered employers of choice.

10. Importance of Being Recognized as an Employer of Choice®
The Great Resignation has highlighted the importance of being recognized as an Employer of Choice®. In our lifetimes, it has never been more important to achieve this recognition than it is today. You can find out more about what workers are looking for in the companies they join, are engaged by, and choose to stay with, read my new book, Experience Rules: How Positive Experiences Will Drive Profit Into The Future. To learn more about becoming recognized as an Employer of Choice®, please contact info@employerofchoice.com.

11. More Diversity on Boards
According to ISS Corporate Solutions, the number of directors from under-represented racial and ethnic groups jumped by 25 percent last year. Diverse perspectives make boards more effective. With a wider number of perspectives, they will make better decisions. Of course, in the United States, it helped that last August the US Securities and Exchange Commission, began requiring that companies listed on the stock exchange include at least one woman and one member of an underrepresented racial, ethnic, or LGBTQ group on their boards of directors.

According to ISS data, women now make up almost 30 percent of the directors among Russell 3000 Index companies and black directors saw a 200 percent increase at S&P 500 companies. My forecast is that boards will continue to become increasingly diverse---not only by race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, but also by age. The recent Theranos decision highlighted the need for age diversity.

12. Big Data in HR Marches On
Big companies were beginning to see the benefits of big data in the field of human resources when COVID hit. The Pandemic caused a definite hiccup in some data collection and processing. When people are concerned about their very lives, suddenly big data seemed a lot less important in the large scheme of things. And now with new variants showing up, there's no telling when companies will be able to return to previous levels of data collection. Of course, they will---eventually. And when they do, we will continue to see major efficiencies as a result of analysts' processing.

The use of data and AI is one reason we are seeing slower hiring. No company wants to hire a mistake, and assessments can help recruiters and hiring managers to make the right decisions the first time. In the past, Big Data helped companies to be more efficient and drive more profit and it will again.

On a more personal note, as we embark on 2022, as I forecasted last year, more variants will appear. I only hope we can stay ahead of them when it comes prevention and treatment. I am really looking forward to a time when I no longer feel like I must wear a mask into the supermarket or have to wear a mask in an airplane. Unfortunately, I do not see that time coming in 2022. I hope I am wrong.

© Copyright 1998-2022 by The Herman Group of Companies, Inc., all rights reserved. From 'The Herman Trend Alert,' by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com

The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group of Companies, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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