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Global HR Outlook Q1 2022

The bull run of hiring activity has not stopped since late 2020. The start to 2022 has seen a continuation of this momentum which means employers must remain committed and creative in attracting and retaining top talent. Like last year, we are seeing interview processes shortened, roles decentralized, and enhanced compensation and benefits programs on offer.

Arguably, the greatest opportunity for improvement for many organizations is talent acquisition. Forward-thinking employers now have a heavy focus on a smarter, tighter, and shorter interview processes (we spoke with an HR leader who had completed a 21-interview process for a CHRO role recently!). This, along with the need for faster, more creative, and more effective means of talent identification, is sustaining the high number of talent acquisition leadership searches we are seeing. In 2022, the profile of the talent acquisition function will continue to rise as employers look for competitive advantage. We also expect to see a continued higher level of collaboration between talent acquisition and talent management and more combined/hybrid roles.

Total Rewards is another talent-short specialization which remains busy. Benefits and linking reward to performance effectively will remain heavy priorities within the HR function this year. In addition, these priorities will continue to forge a tighter link between rewards and the talent specializations.

Employee and candidate experience remains top of mind for CHROs and CEOs. For many organizations, the HR operations function is rebranding to ‘people experience.’ While still leading all the necessary transactional work, the enhanced use of AI and other innovative platforms such as open talent hiring is offering a bespoke, personalized, consumer-like experience. People analytics and HR technology will be pivotal in helping organizations transition out of the pandemic and optimize output and performance. Inclusion, well-being, and flexible working are also key priorities from an ‘experience’ standpoint.

A contrast remains between what employers and employees aspire to when it comes to remote/flexible working. As a broad generalization, we are seeing less opportunities for CHROs and top HR leadership to work remotely; however, there tends to be more flexibility around remote opportunities for their teams. We are also seeing certain pockets of HR, such as total rewards and talent acquisition, getting higher levels of flexibility due to the general talent shortage in these areas. Notably, in US campus recruiting, we are seeing circa 70%-80% of the talent asking for and receiving opportunities to work remotely or very flexibly with employers having to either accept this or pay higher salaries for in-office roles.

Most HR leaders expect that at least some of their company’s employees will work remotely after the pandemic. Planning an overarching strategy while considering and accounting for regional variances will be essential in 2022. This shift to a more hybrid and agile approach will be a massive driver of transformation, and one HR leaders must be prepared to support. On the other hand, establishing boundaries and not setting precedents which are not in line with company culture or goals will be key. CHROs will be giving plenty of thought to firmly establishing how flexible organizations can be in accommodating the demands of existing and potential new talent.


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