7 Trends Leaders Need to Watch for in 2022

trends in workplace

Preparing to address likely scenarios will give your organization an advantage as it moves forward to fulfill its vision and mission.

As you look ahead to 2022, what are the most important trends you need to be aware of and lead through? Wise leaders tune into trends in workplace culture and make plans to help their organization and employee’s flourish. There will be unexpected issues that surface in 2022 but preparing to address likely scenarios will give your organization an advantage as it moves forward to fulfill its vision and mission.

Trend #1: The “Great Resignation” will cause organizations to fight to attract and retain top talent.

People are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Since April 2021, 15 million people have left their jobs. Experts are forecasting that the quit rate will continue or accelerate in 2022. A Gallup survey reveals that 48% of employees are actively looking for a job or willing to consider a new job. 

How can you retain and attract top talent in this environment? Focus on sustaining a great culture with engaged employees. If employees have an emotional connection to their work and organization, which is how we define engagement, the chances improve that they will stay and contribute to your organization’s mission.  

Trend #2: Employee Compensation and Well-Being Will Be Key Issues for Leaders to Solve in 2022.

As we look at the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) database, issues related to employee compensation and well-being are increasing. As for-profit corporations increase entry level pay due to a tight labor market, the gap between industry and non-profit compensation is increasing. At the same time, employees are feeling the strain of mental health issues, which puts a focus on PTO, medical, and retirement benefits. 

Leaders will need to address raising compensation and benefit costs in their financial models. However, the issue goes beyond pay. New research from Oracle shows that 88% of workers feel that the meaning of success has changed. Employees are prioritizing work-life balance, mental health, and having a meaningful job. The workforce is exhausted from being “on” for long hours with digital access. 

Christian organizations and businesses can set a high standard of care for their employees with a focus on well-being, meaningful work, and appropriate compensation and benefits. 

Trend #3: The skills of the front-line manager will become increasingly critical to organizational effectiveness.

The front-line manager is the key link between the employee and the organization. A strong connection is at the heart of retention. BCWI research shows that front-line manager skills and impact are below pre-COVID levels. With the prevalence of remote work, employees’ sense that managers care less about them as people. A classic Markus Buckingham quote is proving to be even more accurate: “People join organizations and leave managers.”

Great leaders have an opportunity to step up in this environment to model caring while they coach and equip their front-line managers to care for their direct reports. 

Trend #4: A Hybrid or Remote-First Approach will be adapted by many organizations.  

The idea that work only happens in an office is not coming back. The technological tools for working from anywhere were being used pre-pandemic, and the ability to pivot to remote work for many organizations illustrated that a fixed place for work is not required. An overwhelming percentage of remote workers desire the flexibility to continue to do at least some of their work from home. 

Rather than fighting against this trend, savvy leaders will seek to equip their employees to be successful in accomplishing their jobs, regardless of location. Support for remote work includes rethinking ways to create synergy and great communication between people and teams. Organizations that can leverage the positives of hybrid and remote work models, while mitigating the feeling of disconnect, will help their employees thrive in these now-normal settings.  

Trend #5: Leaders are out of touch with employees and will increasingly rely on engagement surveys and focus groups to gather employee input and feedback.  

Before discounting this insight as just focused on the BCWI Engagement Surveys, note that employee surveys are a regular tool of many large corporations. Microsoft utilizes pulse surveys throughout the year and surveys more than 2,500 employees every day. 

Of course, building a healthy organization through employee feedback depends on two factors: the quality of the survey, and the plan for implementing results. 

The BCWI Employee Engagement Survey has been tested extensively and includes statistical correlation with organizations in the Christian non-profit and church sector. Questions include biblical worldview and other unique factors of faith-based organizations. 

Trend #7: Expanded focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Many organizations made commitments to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion over the past few years, and employees expect real progress. This was not a short-term fad, and the work is not finished.   

Recently, we had a podcast conversation with David Bailey who equips and empowers leaders for reconciliation from a biblical perspective. He believes reconciliation is a discipleship process that takes reflection and self-examination, which are core spiritual practices. Christian organizations can become lights in the world by building cultures of reconciliation leading to stronger diverse relationships.

Next Steps

As you think about these trends and how they impact your organization, how can you prepare yourself and your team in this season? Divide your action items into short-term wins and long-term adjustments. Step confidently into 2022, knowing there will be surprises, but prepared to lead wisely during ongoing change. 

Al Lopus is the president and CEO of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), which provides research-based measurement tools and strategic advisory services with a single vision: to help Christian organizations set the standard as the best, most effective workplaces in the world. He is the author of the forthcoming book Road to Flourishing: Eight Keys to Boost Employee Engagement and Well-Being (IVP).

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