A Few Predictions On Work In 2022

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The offices also provide a place where likeminded workers can meet safely
The offices also provide a place where likeminded workers can meet safely AFP / Mahmud TURKIA

I am already tired of it.

It happens every year at this time. The same articles on the same topics. They are everywhere. You know the ones I am talking about.

It’s the one on the “101 Holiday Tech Gifts.” Or the one on the “16 New Year's Resolutions from CEOs.” It always seems like the same stuff on rotation at the end of every year.

Sorry, here is another one.

I believe in 2022 the future of work talk isn’t going to slow down. So, here are my 5 predictions for work in 2022. You’re welcome.

1. Increased focus on culture and values

Many companies have mission statements, but that doesn’t mean anybody knows them.

Learning and development teams spend most of their time on training company policies, not on developing the human behind the job. But, this will change in the new year. With a workforce that is severely disconnected and disengaged due to everything from remote work to bad leadership, companies will feel the pressure to start investing more in strengthening their culture with investments in coaching and mentorship.

In 2021, we saw some surprising stuff on 1Huddle where the majority of games played had nothing to do with soft skills, safety/compliance or even product training. In fact, the most popular game topic was “Culture and Values” – 61% of all games played on 1Huddle in 2021 were on topics like corporate mission, core values, brand standards, company history and team.

Culture for the win.

2.  Leaders will have to get more political

Workers had a lot to talk about this year – from COVID to Black Lives Matter to the Great Resignation. With 46% of the workforce now being Millennial and Gen-Z, we have a majority of our workforce that is interested in not just getting paid to work, but also in how their work impacts their community.

Expect this new workforce majority to demand more of their leaders, especially more vocal positions on topics that go beyond work. In 2021, we saw this on 1Huddle. The most in-demand games were on social justice topics. We saw workers voice interest in more learning and training opportunities around everything from voting rights to diversity topics to inclusive leadership.

Time to level up your content game folks.

3. Demand for training will soar, but most companies will fail to invest

I am not trying to be a downer.

But, unfortunately, training workers will continue to be looked at like a “nice to have” in 2022. It's unfortunate. It's shameful actually. But, too many companies today are spending more time trying to mitigate risk and become more efficient than they are trying to develop their workforce.

Don’t agree? Well, here is some historical data for you…

●      Today, the U.S. ranks last in terms of dollars invested in federal workforce training when compared to 17 other leading industrialized countries.

●      80% of workforce training is focused on safety training, not skill development

●      86% of workers are doing work with no recent training in the last 5 years

The numbers don’t lie.

4. Companies will continue to invest in tech to automate, not upskill

A major negative impact of COVID was on the human resources function within companies. At the height of the pandemic companies were not just scaling back on marketing spend, but also scaling back on the people within their organizations that were responsible for recruiting, training and developing their workers. This decision crippled talent operations and has been a major reason that companies have struggled to attract and retain workers over the last 6 to 9 months.

Much of the talk around a “labor shortage” has focused on workers being unwilling to return to work. However, if you dig deeper you will see that much of the blame falls on companies and their failure to maintain a strong recruiting and development culture. It will be tough to simply restart the engines on recruiting and training – it has already proven to be hard. The reality is, the longer it takes, the more comfortable companies will become in operating with less. This is already happening. Just look at the November 2021 Jobs Report which historically reveals a positive surge in hiring in the retail sector around the holiday season, but missed big this last month.

And, don’t even get me started on all the robots flipping burgers…

5. Fight for talent will get real

Workers are in the driver’s seat. Isn’t that where they should be?

The one thing you own as a worker is the trade for your time and labor. I believe that in 2022 workers will continue to not just question if they like where they work, but they will question who they work for. This new challenge is not something many companies are ready for and it will result in a revolving door for brands that have failed to show workers they care and will be a major opportunity for brands that are taking the time to listen and invest in their workforce.

Then again. These are just my opinions. Now, back to work.

Sam Caucci is the founder & CEO of 1Huddle  

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