11 Important Human Resources (HR) Trends To Know in 2022

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 5, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Human resources (HR) trends are practices and techniques that companies often use to understand and meet employee needs, add value to the business and align specific functions with commercial demands. As industries and society evolve, many HR departments update their practices to enhance both company and employee experiences. HR professionals who want to increase the efficiency and value of their organizations may benefit from learning about these trends.

In this article, we discuss why it's important to learn HR trends and recognize 11 developing trends.

Why is it important to learn HR trends?

It's important to learn HR trends because market climates, employee needs, industry practices and company policies often change as time progresses and technology evolves. World events and societal shifts also often affect how employees and companies approach daily operations. For example, many employees now desire more flexibility as technology now allows many work-from-home opportunities. Companies often observe these trends and incorporate them into the organization to enhance practices and the employee experience. Observing trends often helps organizations determine what changes may optimize the business.

Related: What Is HR Development? (And How To Create a Plan)

11 important HR trends

Here's a list of HR trends that may be helpful for HR professionals and organizations:

1. Treating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as an integral strategy

As the country grows more diverse, many companies seek to represent that diversity at all levels of an organization. This is especially true for leadership roles. Treating DEI as an integral strategy means more than creating an inclusive workplace. It also means taking action to promote inclusion and ensure equity. This typically helps companies build a more positive employee experience. Many organizations make these efforts to specifically benefit people who have historically faced inequality in the workplace.

Encouraging discussions about DEI can often help organizations change corporate culture. Companies that actively promote a diverse environment may even attract more talented candidates. Here's a list of potential actions an organization can perform to ensure inclusion and equity throughout the workforce:

  • Creating a zero-tolerance approach to bullying

  • Ensuring that diversity remains an important part of work culture by observing leaders modeling the behavior the organization wants to see

  • Addressing bias in diversity training

  • Incorporating bias assessments into performance reviews

  • Applying DEI metrics to a company's key performance indicators (KPIs)

Related: 10 Diversity in the Workplace Benefits

2. Learning the difference between hearing employees and listening to them

Many organizations face challenges when attracting new talent and maintaining a substantial employee retention rate. As people continually search for better opportunities, some companies have shown a greater appreciation for their employees. These organizations often change their communication styles. The term "hearing" implies perceiving sound, while "listening" implies giving thoughtful attention to someone. Companies that listen to their employees often don't focus on controlling a conversation or forming a response before completely hearing an employee. Some upper management professionals have emphasized using active listening when communicating with employees to truly understand their thoughts and concerns.

Active listening refers to typically making eye contact with the other person, taking notes or genuinely trying to understand why the person relays their message. It also includes holding responses until the other person finishes speaking, thoughtfully processing the information then offering a response. Listening to people typically demonstrates respect and inspires feelings of trust, validation and understanding. Empathetic listening typically inspires motivation and belonging. Here are a few ways in which upper management professionals may develop better listening skills:

  • Giving a person your full attention and avoiding multitasking

  • Letting the other person finish speaking before responding

  • Trying to understand the actual meaning of a person's message, including nonverbal cues

  • Asking thoughtful questions

  • Building a company culture that encourages employees to express themselves

3. Upskilling and reskilling your workforce

Some companies feel as if new hires, such as recent graduates, don't completely possess all the right skills to excel at their jobs. Competent employees typically ensure that an organization can grow and change in today's environment. This means that many companies are upskilling and reskilling their employees. Upskilling refers to the process of learning new skills. Reskilling refers to learning how to do a different job with new skills. Reskilling often helps companies create a more adaptable workforce, while upskilling can provide employees with better career advancement opportunities.

Here's a list of actions a company may perform to upskill and reskill employees:

  • Encouraging training and development for all employees

  • Rewarding successful development accomplishments

  • Using multiple methods for training, such as face-to-face, online and hybrid options

  • Providing focused feedback

Read more: Upskilling and Reskilling: Importance and Differences

4. Nurturing a positive company culture

A company's culture involves attitudes, beliefs and behaviors among employees and management. As hybrid and work-from-home options become available, some companies wonder how to maintain a positive work culture. Many employees value a work-life balance for all team members. Five elements of a positive work culture include relationships, peer support, communication, diversity and technology. Here's a list of ways employers may enhance their work culture:

  • Helping employees maintain relationships and forming new ones as new employees appear

  • Teaching employees how to better collaborate while providing resources to maintain them

  • Adapting new communication technology

  • Including diversity, equity and inclusion into the business strategy

5. Using data to enhance employee experiences

Employers have increasingly emphasized employee experiences to maintain employee retention as many people continue to seek better working conditions. Many companies have used technology and data to learn more about their employees' opinions and personal lives to improve employee engagement strategies and enhemployeeyees' experiences.

Data may provide assistance in the form of a personalized onboarding program, which may help new employees feel valued and supported. Companies may also use data from professional rewards and recognition programs that emphasize an employee's accomplishments. Emphasizing engagement with these programs may help some companies gain more data and insight into employee values.

6. Creating more wellness initiatives

More companies have started emphasizing employee wellness support to help with productivity, employee turnover and client satisfaction. This includes wellness in different forms, such as financial, social, mental and physical. Employees who feel well are more likely to perform better at work. Some examples of financial wellness initiatives include providing elder insurance, tuition forgiveness and access to financial planners. Some physical wellness examples include on-site workout facilities or discounts on gym memberships in the employee's area.

Mental health wellness initiatives may include encouraging communication between supervisors and peers and providing access to telehealth professionals and a certain amount of sick or rest days. Social wellness initiatives may include providing access to employee engagement platforms. Incorporating more of these initiatives into a workplace often helps employees improve their focus and productivity because they may provide some relief across many channels.

7. Providing care for caretakers

Many employees take care of others in their lives while maintaining their careers, such as elderly parents, children and spouses. Management leaders often face challenges caring for those in their workplaces and personal lives. Some companies have emphasized additional support and recognition to those in management positions to provide some relief as they perform their duties. Here's a list of actions some companies perform to provide additional support to managers:

  • Providing clear goals and expectations

  • Gathering and listening to feedback

  • Recognizing efforts

  • Providing additional tools and resources for job duties

  • Providing more training opportunities

8. Emphasizing the role of teams among employees

When people work from home, participating in a virtual team often helps them form new relationships and access new resources. Teams may contribute to a more positive work culture when all employees feel valued as equals among their peers. Many organizations have even designed superteams, which combine a larger amount of people and technology to produce a higher work output. Successful teams often emphasize the role of a work culture that celebrates growth, adaptability and resilience. Other factors contributing to this success include enabling employees through upskilling, reskilling and mobility and using new technologies.

Read more: How To Build an Effective Remote Team (With Benefits)

9. Implementing innovative recruitment

As companies compete for talent, some have started implementing different tactics to attract and retain qualified candidates. Many companies now use social media to contact potential employees instead of conventional job boards. This approach often helps recruiters target specific groups of candidates within a market on a social media platform. Since social media profiles typically provide more information about an employer, candidates now typically prefer employers who remain transparent about their values and goals.

Candidates also usually consider the overall imagery and tone of company social media posts before applying for a job. Companies may choose to advertise attractive benefits when attracting potential candidates on social media. This includes career advancement opportunities, nonmonetary benefits, a competitive salary, work flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.

Related: 13 Recruiting Strategies To Help You Find the Best Candidates

10. Balancing remote work flexibility with on-site business requirements

Some employees prefer working remotely over working in an office. Many employers have developed strategies for maintaining employee needs and preferences while still addressing on-site business requirements. Organizations can typically encourage employees to return to the office by using some of these tactics:

  • Crafting an equal back-to-office strategy that addresses those who can and can't perform remote work

  • Offering a place of community and engagement

  • Using rewards and recognition as motivation

  • Communicating with transparency

  • Using change management strategies

11. Using skills-based hiring

As technology advances, many jobs require new skills and competencies. This is typically true with the rise of artificial intelligence, which has both automated and created jobs. Many companies have emphasized skills and competencies when hiring new employees to meet the demands of the current industry. This also means that some organizations look specifically for certain skills instead of a person's degree or credentials. Skills-based hiring typically increases the number of potential external candidates, but it also usually increases internal employees' opportunities for career advancement. This means that an employee may earn educational pathways for specific industries.

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