With Great Resignation comes great responsibility. As HR departments seek to backfill vacated roles or hire for new ones, recruiters are tasked with navigating a whole new landscape forged by the events of 2021.
"The decrease in labor force participation — combined with the significant changes organizations, industries and employees are making as the pandemic lingers — creates significant ongoing attraction and retention challenges," Willis Towers Watson Senior Director of Talent Management Consulting Lesli M. Jennings told HR Dive via email.
Jennings said that she and her WTW colleagues have observed employers take a variety of actions to combat these talent challenges. But overall, she said, employers' tactics typically fall under the "employee experience" umbrella. For example, employers have been focusing on flexibility as an advantage, including hybrid work models, more workplace options and differentiated pay strategies, Jennings said.
Employers have also revamped their approach to compensation and benefits, she added, with pivots to equitable total rewards, skill-based pay, sign-on bonuses and creative recognition. Similarly, companies have boosted mental health assistance, financial education training and time off for employees.
In order to get talent from application to onboarding, HR teams will need to bring their A-game. Here are some specific issue areas that should be top of mind for recruiters, talent acquisition professionals, managers and HR departments in 2022.
Trend #1: Neurodiversity is key
Beyond gender and race, HR professionals are now centering neurodiversity in their inclusion efforts. Mandy Price, CEO of diversity, equity and inclusion technology company Kanarys, observed how major companies have set the tone with their neurodiverse recruitment programs and their "self-ID" campaigns. These help current employees: "Microsoft, for example, has made things easier for the employees with dyslexia by providing them with assistive technology," Price told HR Dive.
But they also help new hires and provide a welcoming environment for job candidates. "We've seen that Hewlett Packard has implemented a buddy system where employees that have autism are paired with another individual that has specific understanding around and has participated in autism awareness training, so that they can help with the onboarding process," Price continued. She also highlighted JPMorgan Chase's use of pymetrics to recruit talent.
Pymetrics games help JPMorgan match candidates with the right job fit, as opposed to looking at "previous outdated metrics which weren't based on actual people's skills and talents," she explained.
Trend #2: Companies may nix location-based pay
Ian White, CEO of data analytics company ChartHop, observed that more employers are doing away with salaries based on location, due to the advent of WFH or working from anywhere. "We run compensation cycles for hundreds of companies. Often, location adjustment has traditionally been a big piece of compensation. You know, people typically look at the cost of talent and the location, and they adjust accordingly," White told HR Dive. Now, geography is hardly a factor in the workplace experiences of many knowledge workers.
"It's one thing if you're going to ask people to relocate to an area and commute to an office. You're asking them to be in a particular place. But if we're working remotely, and two people are doing the same work? [Still,] equal work means equal pay," White said.
Trend #3: DEI initiatives are a Gen Z dealmaker – or breaker
"For a long time, DEI was something that was viewed as a function of HR," Price said, adding that now, Gen Zers are putting diversity, equity and inclusion work front and center. "Younger job-seekers don't see DEI as an added bonus, or you know, something where we just celebrate during the [awareness] month. She pointed to a finding from a 2020 Monster survey, wherein 83% of Gen Z respondents said DEI commitments are important when choosing an employer.
The younger generation is challenging employers to go beyond mere unconscious bias training, she observed. "This is something that is an absolute requirement to work at a company," Price said.
Trend #4: Former employees can be a talent solution
Jennings noted that shifting tides across industries and with talent have "put pressure on organizations to identify new sources of talent, both internally and externally."
Richard Wahlquist, CEO of the American Staffing Association, believes that a key source of talent in 2022 will be "word-of-mouth referral." Essentially, an element of trust that exists between workers that does not exist between job-seekers to their potential employers.
"We'd like to see objective ratings, not the ones that were 'paid for by Amazon,'" Wahlquist continued. "Talent are looking to third parties to say, 'Hey, what do you guys think about working for ABC company?'" Former employees who "hopefully, left with a good taste in their mouth are your best source of recruiting," Wahlquist said.
He went on to discuss the ever-controversial "boomerang employee" as a talent solution. "Why invest in rehiring them only to have your heart broken again? [But] boomerang employees can be one of your best sources of talent," he said, adding that they can be some of the most loyal employees after experiencing other workplaces. "The grass always looks greener until you're in that other neighborhood."
Trend #5: Fluidity is key
Ernie Paskey, the North America assessment practice leader for Aon, told HR Dive that managers have to become capable of navigating the new waters of the pandemic. The key to doing so is fluidity, he said. Paskey explained how, from his perspective, HR professionals fall into three categories.
"One camp has some hubris and says, 'I know HR. I know what's going on here. This is our response.' They just have a strong viewpoint, that may be correct or not," he said. The second camp is what Paskey calls the "ossified" or "calcified" HR professional.
"'We've done HR this way. We're gonna continue this way. We're gonna ride out this current storm.' They're going to lose on the talent front," he said. And lastly, Paskey categorizes the third bucket of HR professionals as those willing to unlearn everything they've known — ones that say to themselves, "I can't assume that past patterns or precedents are applicable going forward."
Paskey encouraged these HR professionals to ask themselves questions such as, "Can I be creative in shift assignments? Can I have two people do a job (job-sharing)? Can I have employees pick the shifts that they work? Can I have a different mix of benefits?" The managers that continue to think creatively and with agility will lead successfully in the workplace, he explained.