While the world is constantly evolving and shifting, there have been few shake-ups comparable to the pandemic.
Everything from schools to bars changed dramatically and it left HR teams scrambling to provide a better employee experience under a new set of conditions.
Elements Global Services (Elements), an employer of record (EOR) solutions provider, has seen the changes companies have experienced first-hand.
UNLEASH catches up with David Pepper, VP of Elements Global Services, to get a better picture of the emerging trends going into 2022, the impact of the pandemic, and how technology can help businesses.
Adapting to change
Pepper explains that “hybrid work has thrown the talent pool wide open.”
In the current climate that has seen workers spend more time at home as they adapt to COVID-19 regulation: “Key skills are available regardless of location, and technological tools mean businesses can have the flexibility of resource balanced against cost.
“On the other hand, managing key roles remotely needs to be closely watched as this could create a downturn in quality.
“Employee engagement will become critical as talent will have a wider market to move if not fulfilled and recognized within their current role.”
As technology enables remote and hybrid work, its importance can not be stressed enough.
Pepper notes: “Without technology, the business world would not have survived the past 18 months.
“Technology has proved crucial to the navigation of business.
“Businesses that would not have embraced remote working before the pandemic have been forced to adapt and technology has ensured that business-critical operations were able to continue.”
On top of this, it appears that technology will be vital moving forward out of the worst of the pandemic.
In terms of the key technologies, Pepper comments: “Employee engagement technology is something to keep an eye on. It will continue to improve and will create differentiators within businesses that will be competing for key talent.
“The ability to provide personalized user experiences with technology will differentiate employers. Organizations that provide packages that are tailored to the employee’s needs will ensure they retain and attract the best talent.
“A second tech to watch is blockchain, which will become instrumental in the ability to manage employee data and pay employees globally.”
Nonetheless, Pepper notes that there are other areas of focus to look towards. This is particularly important when it comes to office spaces and onboarding.
Pepper explains that companies need to adapt to the ‘Great Resignation.’
In terms of onboarding and making up for losses in personnel, he claims technology is key: “The hiring and onboarding process is the ‘first impression’ of the organization, and as such, the candidate experience is critical.
“Within this process, HR technology companies will need to understand the need for technology that can adapt with ‘plug and play’ needs.
“You need technology that can perform the core requirements, but flex and adapt to new markets and employee needs. It needs to be providing a consistent candidate experience, but one that is personalized to the individual requirements.”
Pepper expands: “Some examples might be automation for documents a new employee needs to fill out and likewise to alert a hiring manager that those documents are complete.
“This ensures a level of compliance, and also frees up time for innovative or engaging training, through videos or live sessions.
“The use of such HR technology can give new employees a clear plan for their onboarding period and when implemented properly can make the experience more efficient and effective.”
For those who have already been hired or have remained with businesses, Pepper states: “Many organizations want to move to a hybrid model of office and remote working. This balance will be critical from both sides of the fence.
“Employees will want the flexibility and opportunities that come from both, businesses will want the type of growth, teamwork, and collaboration that is fostered by personal interaction,” adds Pepper.
However, as businesses grapple with these functions and attempt to keep staff engaged, there will be questions about whether hybrid work and constant technological innovation are sustainable.
HR in 2022
Looking at next year, Pepper draws his attention to remote working and says it “is here to stay as businesses that were reluctant to embrace this prior to the pandemic have now been shown that it can be done.”
He notes: “In essence, we have opened ‘Pandora’s box’ and need to now deal with those challenges ahead.”
Of course, without the assistance of clairvoyant intervention, 2022 is still a mystery.
Nonetheless, Pepper offers his thoughts on the future by reflecting on the past: “Over the past 20 years, technology has changed the way that we communicate and work.
“The last 18 months have seen an evolution of this technology and companies will adapt accordingly.
“Agile organizations will continue to adapt and embrace enhancements, and employees will migrate to organizations that offer the flexibility that they desire.
“We will return more to traveling for work again, but a balanced hybrid model will become the norm”.
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