Top 5 workplace trends for 202217 Jan 2022
Even the best leaders can’t also be fortune-tellers. Sure, we can guess what this new year may have in store — but at the end of the day, we know we need something clearer and more specific to guide our decision-making in 2022.
What we do know is that Australian workplaces — and, in fact, workplaces all around the globe — are changing rapidly. Our goal, then, is not just to stay ahead of competitors and deliver the best service for customers, but to identify and act on the latest trends to achieve workplace optimisation.
Here’s how to keep up with the future of work.
The importance of workplace trends
Don’t let the term “trend” worry you. These shifts in values, habits and approaches aren’t about making ourselves look fashionable — and while they may change over time, they nonetheless represent important underlying concepts in workplace culture.
Take, for example, “The Great Resignation,” which started in the U.S. and is gradually spreading. In August 2021, 4.3 million Americans quit, while the U.K. saw more than one million open jobs for the first time ever, according to the BBC. This resignation trend may not last forever, but it does signal a significant shift in the expectations of the American workforce. Employees across the world are clearly looking for better treatment, more flexible environments and organisations that actively invest in them. They’ll continue looking for these things, even if The Great Resignation itself becomes a distant memory.
To make the most of these fluctuations, identify trends with the most relevant underlying values. That way, the changes you make will be impactful and lasting rather than fleeting and performative.
5 workplace trends to focus on
Here are five trends we should focus on as leaders:
- Building employee resilience
Employee well-being depends on an individual’s ability to navigate the ups and downs of workplace culture. We may not be able to guide our employees in taking control of their own lives, but we can help them build resilience and deal with change confidently, comfortably and effectively.
- Offering flexibility
Remote or hybrid workplace culture also appears to be an important trend. In an interview with Computerworld Australia, Neha Kumar, CIO advisory director at Gartner, explained, “I feel like with the lockdown, there has been a sobering realisation that this is here to stay, and this is how it’s going to be.”
Kumar went on to say that although the pandemic-driven shift to remote work was unavoidable and fast-paced, leaders like us now have the opportunity to position this change effectively and intentionally. For example, we can use hybrid or remote work options to let workers take control of their own well-being.
- Investing in diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are hardly a workplace trend, but nonetheless, they’ve become vital in many companies’ discussions. Focusing on both elements not only creates a rich, welcoming environment for all employees — it may also introduce a competitive advantage by giving us access to new voices, ideas and approaches.
- Developing soft skills
Another noteworthy trend is the development of soft skills, like interpersonal communication. While perhaps not the most obvious way to keep up with the future of work, soft skills nonetheless support a stronger, more connected workplace culture and help employees reach their full potential.
- Empowering current and future leaders
As leaders, part of our job is supporting the next generation of front-runners and trailblazers. Sometimes, that means taking the time to brush up on our own skills, too. Management training helps support and empower both current and future leaders, all while showing employees that your organisation is eager to invest in their progress.
Get ahead of workplace trends
It’s not always easy to guess what’s coming around the next corner. However, by paying attention to current trends, we can begin to understand the underlying values — which, in turn, can guide our decisions in 2022 and beyond.
For help building soft skills, training future leaders, building a diverse workforce or otherwise keeping up with the future of work, contact ICML today.