CHROs are under pressure again.
After overcoming a nightmarish scenario during lockdowns and the uncertainty at the pandemic's beginning, they are now tasked to create employee-centric policies that focus on mental health. This is again new territory for many CHROs, and many will be starting their playbooks afresh.
An EngageRocket report “HR 2022 Outlook” noted that creating such forward-looking policies is becoming urgent as employee resilience levels, mental health, and employer confidence wane. The research found a 17% decline in employees who are confident in their company’s future between 2020 and 2021. Burnout also increased by 9% in 2021.
The report highlighted seven key trends that Asia Pacific CHROs need to consider when creating these policies.
1. ‘New work’ will manifest in new and unexpected ways
It’s not the new normal, but ‘new work.’ And in this new paradigm, an employee views their work as more than gainful employment. In addition to the transactional exchange of labor for compensation, they also look for purpose, fulfillment, and wellbeing. The problem is that many companies do not fully acknowledge and appreciate “new work” in the way an employee wants.
2. The talent war fast becoming a zero-sum game
Asia Pacific companies are not investing in the talent war enough. There is an assumption that the market will right itself when jobs become scarce. It is one reason why only a handful of companies — large and small — are widely known as top employers in a region. The reality is that companies not investing in the talent war are getting left behind and maybe too late for some. The report added that this results in a sort of “winner takes all” zero-sum game due to limited talent availability in the short term.
3. Employee mental health and resilience linked to growth
In 2022, mental health and resilience will no longer be buzzwords. Instead, companies will be forced to invest real money in improving employee wellbeing and ensuring that they stay resilient and confident in the face of new challenges and opportunities. This is a critical area of concern for CHROS as resilience is the no.1 predictor of an employee’s intent to stay but has seen the most drastic decline between 2020 and 2021.
4. HR needs to become decentralized
The report noted that the typically centralized HR function will (and must) give way to a “hyper-local model” where HR can outsource the last-mile connectivity with every employee via the managers. This can apply to different aspects of the HR function — from strategy and policy-making to events and engagement.
5. Diversity & inclusion will be a significant competitive differentiator
According to McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in leadership were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than their bottom-quartile counterparts. Many Asia Pacific companies are yet to fully invest in diversity & inclusion (D&I) as “a key cultural as well as operational tenet,” said the report.
6. People analytics will drive HR policies and change
In 2022, companies can no longer disregard people analytics. Analytics, virtual working technology, and upgraded learning platforms are among the top priorities for CHROs. However, HR’s confidence in using data and analytics declined by three percentage points since 2019.
7. New productivity KPIs needed
CHROs need to consider productivity measures better suited to new work and remote/hybrid working. Collaboration, communication, positive work-life behavior, and coaching mindset might be better performance indicators, said the report. Whatever the metric, old KPIs are not designed for the post-pandemic workplace.
Image credit: iStockphoto/imtmphoto