EXPERT INSIGHTS

2022 Employee Communications & Engagement Trends

January 27, 2022

The future of work continues to be in flux. Here’s what to expect – and prioritize – in what’s sure to be another turbulent year ahead.

The Future of Work. Work, workers and the workplace have undergone immense change over the past two years, and 2022 will be no different. New coronavirus variants continue to impact return-to-office plans as enterprises fail to reach a “new normal” and are instead stuck in a state of “no normal” where uncertainty and ambiguity linger.

  • Build communication and engagement practices with a remote-first, tech-savvy approach that ensures reachability and inclusivity of all employees, regardless of where or how they’re working. Look to metrics to understand communication preferences and effectiveness.

Making Hybrid Work. Where employers view the hybrid model as an embrace of a more accommodating approach, employee definitions and demands around flexibility come with great complexity and, at times, confusion. How organizations respond to those evolving needs will influence culture, engagement and retention.

  • Prepare for continued disruption to back-to-office plans and ongoing needs for flexibility among your employees. As well-being remains a top priority, it’s critical to understand and act on what matters most to your people, ensuring they feel safe and valued.

The Great Reshuffle. The global pandemic and the opportunity for self-reflection that came with it changed the relationship between people and their work, leaving the quit rate at an all-time high. Employers can no longer rely on traditional and transactional means to attract and retain talent, as job seekers now place greater emphasis on relational factors.

  • Brands must take an inside-out, people-first approach to attracting and retaining talent. Start by building a strong Employee Value Proposition that connects the internal, employer brand to the external consumer brand in a way that resonates with wish lists of today’s talent market.

Progressing with Purpose. Employees continue to urge their employers to make a stand, take action and align company values with a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts. Employees want to drive positive change and when companies provide resources and opportunities to help them do so, engagement and retention strengthen.

  • ESG strategy is integral to company purpose, and purpose-driven plans are paramount in charting a course for strong workplace culture and values (and therefore recruitment and retention). Through brand activism, renewed employer branding, sustainability actions and DE&I efforts, companies can align values to their current and growing workforce.

Leader Lessons. People look to leadership to model the ways of working and organizational culture tenets they believe in. Leaders who demonstrate empathy, vulnerability and humility connect with employees as they continue to navigate change in what’s sure to be another turbulent year ahead.

  • Leaders showed a new level of humanity within remote work environments, and employees responded positively. It’ll be important to maintain that increased access and authentic engagement as work formats shift toward in-person and hybrid environments.

Data-Driven Decision-Making. Organizations are exploring and leveraging more tools that enable them to dig deeper into employee sentiment and behaviors beyond the long-term business and cultural issues to also inform quick action today’s constantly changing workplace.

  • Supplement annual engagement scoring and combat survey fatigue with quick-hit pulse checks that collect actionable data that inform immediate needs and address resistance or dissatisfaction.

 

If you have questions or are seeking counsel related to Employee Communications and Engagement, email Carla Keppler at ckeppler@golin.com