The new year offers employers of all sizes a chance to reflect on how their organization and teams have adapted to recent unprecedented challenges. It's time to turn that reflection into empowered resolutions; to keep refining and improving what informs decisions and what equips employees to do and be their best. How will the HR function continue to evolve and how can HR teams prepare?

Now is the moment to embrace change and leverage data and technology to better connect with your people and grow your business. Consider these emerging trends and how they might shape the way you manage your people in 2022 and beyond.

The new face of work

It's no exaggeration to say that COVID-19 affected workplaces across the world. According to ADP Research Institute's "People at Work: A Global Workforce View" study, within a year, COVID-19 significantly impacted the global workforce. Of the 64% that were negatively impacted, 23% took a pay cut, and 28% lost their jobs entirely. These challenging times provided an opportunity for staff to reevaluate their priorities, and with the world slowly getting back on track, they feel empowered to make employment decisions that best suit their personal and professional goals.

To create a culture of connection while growing their business, employers must turn their attention to the wants and needs of their people more than ever. "Amid all the change," says Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product and Technology at ADP, "one common thread has only grown stronger: People power performance."

But how can organizations update their processes and policies to match the demands of the current employee landscape? These HR trends tell the tale:

The value of visibility

While the daily operations of some businesses couldn't be done virtually, those that quickly moved to remote operations have now shifted largely toward hybrid frameworks. The result: creating a situation where work gets done from varying locations.

Making the best use of distributed workforces means increasing employee visibility. This requires reliable access to in-depth "people data" to have more insight into employee engagement and performance. Equipped with this information, managers can better support hybrid teams and develop a culture built on mutual trust and respect, which is critical to retaining and attracting talent. According to recent findings from the ADP Research Institute®, U.S. employees who trust both their teammates and their leaders are seven times more likely to feel "strongly connected" to their organization.

Amid all the change, one common thread has only grown stronger: People power performance.

- Don Weinstein, CVP, ADP, Global Product and Technology

The priority of purpose

Speaking of strong connections, it will be essential for corporations to ensure employees feel a sense of purpose in their work. ADP Research Institute found that U.S. workers who feel they are Strongly Connected to their employer are 75 times more likely to be Fully Engaged than those who do not feel connected.

Flexible employment programs can assist to meet staff expectations and empower them to develop professionally. Organizations must also embrace the need for improved diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies to drive true and measurable progress.

The role of reliability

With hybrid work here to stay, businesses now face increasing compliance and operational challenges in addition to existing complexity around staff management, recruiting and retention. According to ADP's HR Survey Series with HR Outsourcing, 20 percent of organizations with 25 to 99 employees say they're struggling with compliance and regulatory issues. As return-to-work initiatives evolve, this number will likely increase. Consider the need for timely information around COVID-19 testing and vaccine tracking, for example: Depending on employee work locations, organizational mandates and government legislation, the nature of required data may rapidly evolve.

As a result, businesses need access to real-time, reliable people data they can use to make informed decisions, meet compliance expectations and ensure staff feel safe at work.

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The impact of innovation

Work is changing rapidly, and organizations need to keep up by removing roadblocks such as cumbersome manual processes or redundant task frameworks. Here, innovation is driven by automation, such as self-service tools that remove time-consuming administrative tasks from HR professionals' schedules and let them focus on the people that help their businesses succeed.

There's also a need to facilitate further employee development. According to ADP Research Institute's "People at Work: A Global Workforce View" report, 28% of staff have taken on new or changing roles as labor markets have shifted and business priorities have evolved. Now, many staff members want to continue their journey by adding new skills and certifications to help broaden their horizons. While this makes employees more valuable, businesses can only reap the benefits if they provide ongoing opportunities for skills development and career growth.

In practice, this can also mean shifting away from hiring to fit a particular role and toward hiring based on skills. Skills-based hiring allow employees to bring their authentic selves to the table and can help to drive innovation among their teams and for the business as a whole.

Conclusion: The future is flexible

New employee expectations aren't going away. To succeed in a post-pandemic world, organizations must recognize the power of people, embrace the need for flexibility and deliver on the promise of data-driven HR decision-making.

Join the companion webcast on December 9 at 2:00 P.M. Eastern: Major HR Trends to Follow in 2022. Go deeper into these trends with ADP subject matter experts during our complimentary webcast. Register today.

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Tags: People Management and Growth Trends and Innovation Diversity Equity and Inclusion Employee Engagement and Productivity Leadership Turnover and Retention Workforce Planning Large Business Midsize Business Multinational Small Business Articles Business Owner HR