Ready or not… future of work, here you come! Coming up, a quick read on management trends specifically relevant to the work era we are living in. It’s an era of humanity, one where it’s not about how work looks, but about how work feels.
Taking care of employees and fulfilling many of their expectations has become more than a nice-to-have. At this point, a people-first culture in organizations is desired, expected, respected, and proven to drive business results.
What is people-first company culture and why does it matter?
The term “people-first culture” is used to describe an organizational culture that values people over profit.
Ironically, when employees are prioritized, engaged, and provided the opportunity for well-being and connection, companies are generally more innovative, resilient, and even profitable.
Of course, everyone in a company contributes to its culture. However, it starts at the top and arguably it’s very much in the hands of all types of leaders. Without further ado…
Here are 5 management trends for 2022, highly focused on driving a people-first culture:
Trend 1) Prioritization of reskilling and upskilling
Changing business needs and looming uncertainty have resulted in the surging demand for new skills within organizations.
Indeed, today leaders feel the need to future-proof their workforce. Similarly, about 70% of employees feel there is a gap between the skills they have and the skills they actually need to best perform their job. Reskilling and upskilling have become the talk of the town and initiatives to invest in employee learning and development as a vehicle for success are likely here to stay.
In general, one-and-done corporate learning programs are not going to cut it though. Many managers want to leave traditional seminars behind and are opting for L&D initiatives that employees would find more engaging. Microlearning (through bite-sized pieces), and training that truly supports the modern workforce, who is more inclined to learn new skills on the go, is becoming the norm.
Trend 2) Growing inclusivity and connection amongst the workforce
There’s still a long way to go regarding inclusion at work. Only 32% of organizations are purposely creating diverse and inclusive teams to drive performance, and only 42% are developing their leaders to be inclusive. Nevertheless, according to Korn Ferry consulting firm, many organizations have had diversity, equity, and inclusion more in mind than ever before.
Makes sense, social distance, and unprecedented times have led to a stronger human desire for togetherness, reevaluation of priorities, and more empathy. Indeed, with the hybrid work model becoming ever-present, and as the non-desk workforce continues to grow, distributed organizations won’t be able to ignore the need to include and connect every worker.
Challenges like language barriers and distance can certainly make it difficult to make everyone feel included and for them to build relationships. This is why management efforts should be continuous and persistent in driving a collaborative and inclusive organization (as the consequence of a people-first culture). No employee is to be left behind, or stand alone.
Trend 3) Implementation of HR tools that support remote work
Not surprisingly, the role of technology in effective people management will be huge for 2022 and years to come. HR tech in particular is having a moment. In consequence (in part) to challenges resulting from a transforming and more remote world and workplace. Managers are having to choose among many options for tools to drive digital employee experience.
Some managers opt for having many HR tools, others prefer only a few comprehensive ones. The important thing is accounting for the many touchpoints in the employee experience. Modern employee onboarding, communication, and learning will likely be even more people-first, taking into account short attention spans, information overload, and the idea that they should fit into employees’ flow of work and are empowering even virtually.
Mark a tech-forward future in your organization!
Trend 4) Front and center: employee well-being
In a recent survey, 66% of professionals said there is now more emphasis on employee well-being than pre-pandemic.
Combatting employee burnout is among top management trends. Employee burnout is now a real fear faced by people leaders. This, especially considering its effects on morale and thus productivity and performance.
Yet, high levels of stress are very much present. 81% of survey respondents say they feel more burned out now than at the start of the pandemic.
With essentials to employee well-being including job control (autonomy) and social support, more and more companies are seeking ways to provide these. Examples are offering opportunities to connect with co-workers, company benefits to support people’s mental and physical health journey, flexibility in work times, and increased respect for non-work times.
Looking ahead, employee well-being will likely play a bigger part in many organizations’ strategic planning. As a key part of driving people-first culture, managers would have to continuously design and support initiatives, and lead by example to really ingrain employee well-being in the workplace.
Trend 5) Focus on people analytics for business success
Certainly, data is highly valued in the journey towards sales and profit. With people-first cultures on the rise, the importance of people analytics has multiplied. HR is no longer an administrative function, but one more empowered to contribute to business objectives and affect the bottom-line.
Fortunately, HR technology has brought forth the opportunity to make more data-driven people management decisions. For example, novel tools may help track employee engagement levels in real-time, instill employee listening and centralize functions. In sum, people analytics can help monitor, predict, monitor, and understand employees. This, for the purpose of driving a better employee experience to attract and retain great talent.
Truly, management embracing a mindset shift from intuition to data-driven, training HR teams in analytic and strategy, and ensuring continuous listening, is the future.
In a business world where your organizational culture can be anything, manage with an aim of it being people-first. This is definitely an overarching trend you should want to jump in on. Your employees and business will thank you.
Future of work, here you come!