Talent Management

Reconnect: 2022 HR Trend #2

16 March 2022

4 min
This second HR trend for 2022 is about making work human again – bringing connection back to the center of work, focusing again on creating deep links and relationships at work, and going further through collaboration.

2022 is a year for new togetherness and ‘humanness’

The events of the last couple of years have served to redefine the very definition of connection and collaboration at work. When we’re not sitting together in an office eight hours per day, what does it mean to be a team at work? What does effective collaboration look like and how do you foster the social side of work when people aren’t all in the office at the same time?

This second HR trend for 2022 is about making work human again – bringing connection back to the center of work, focusing again on creating deep links and relationships at work, and going further through collaboration.

But why does ‘reconnection’ need to be a focus for HR in 2022? What’s the context driving this?

In short, because attracting top talent and keeping them has become more challenging. And a major key to doing that is improving people’s work experience. Employee experience in 2022 will not be focused on perks and benefits, but on practices and policies that reconnect and create a deeper sense of togetherness between employees in organizations.

We spoke with Rishita Jones of NRG HR on the importance of ‘reconnection’ in 2022 HR:

For access to the full video interview, download our ebook, ” HR Trends 2022: Realign, Reconnect, Redeploy”:

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…or continue reading for the key takeaways from our discussion with Rishita Jones on why reconnecting is a major HR trend for next year:

‘Reconnect’: Why this needs to be a focus for HR in 2022

“We’re faced with a crisis of disconnection. And the great resignation is a huge sign of that, as is the current mental health crisis that we’re facing. Both of these are global trends.

“So what I think the pandemic has done is accelerated two things: one, the digitization of nature, and two, the changing needs of our people.

Reconnection is key to these two central dynamics that are playing out currently because digitization is to be seen as not to replace people and what they do, but to replace repetitive, monotonous and time-consuming tasks. This will allow us to free up our time to deliver value to our people in our business, to connect with one another, to connect to our people, to actually bring humanity into the way that we work.”

A sense of belonging

“This brings me to that second dynamic the changing needs of our people. Because what the pandemic has highlighted, and the great resignation again intensified, is that we have a changing needs of our workforce. And actually, we see conflicting needs happening right now.

“Employees desire freedom, but they also want a sense of belonging. They want to make money, but they also want meaning and flexibility. And yet, they also want stability.

“So to retain talented employees, companies will need to provide growth opportunities and structures that help them reconcile this series of dualities because actually, people want a place where they can grow and develop personally, while also feel that they belong to a community.

“And ultimately, this is also where reconnection comes in. They want their managers and organizations to accommodate the facts of life: parenting, caregiving, illness, loss. They all affect a person’s daily temperament, schedule, and performance. So 2022 is really about reconnecting with our humanity.”


The futre of work is employee well-being

“[Employee well-being] is a key factor in determining an organization’s success and it’s long-term success and effectiveness. If we look at some statistics, the COPD, for example, has said that mental health is responsible for 56% of long-term unplanned absences and only 40% of UK businesses have an employee well-being strategy.

“So, mental health is our next, if not current silent epidemic. If organizations want to move the needle on improving employee well-being, the systems and policies of work themselves have to change.”


Reconnect: go beyoond Band-Aid solutions

“It’s not about launching a meditation app or creating a yoga room for employees. Yes, they’re great. They can be very helpful, but you can’t tackle something so big and immense like this with these Band-Aid solutions, because we’re ultimately not addressing the root cause of the problem.

“So first, as companies, we must measure the mental state of the workforce and understand what’s driving this stress. Then, we must make the structural changes to policies and the way that we work.

“If you think about it this way, if someone’s been stressed with an overly packed schedule, then meditation for two minutes is not really going to help change that. You really need to look at the way that your working is: do you need to reduce meetings to prioritize? Do we need more realistic deadlines?

“That’s where managers can help. Structurally, we need to think about how we see these things in our organization.

“On the other hand, what we’ve seen the pandemic exacerbated a lot is this inequality in socio-economic barriers. So if somebody is experiencing stress because they have problems with childcare, they’re not going to benefit from speaking with a therapist or doing yoga work for one hour. Right.

“We need to go beyond solutions to actually what is driving this and really get personal. That goes back to that reconnection.”

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