Trends in IT Talent Solutions 2022
As we close out the first week of 2022 and lean into the strategic plans that we have set for ourselves and our organizations, I thought sharing a few of the trends we here at Synergy are seeing would be an interesting read. I also know that if “strategy” is anywhere in your title or purview, then the last two years have been an unprecedented challenge. COVID-19 and its worldwide effects made 2020 a year that business will never forget, and 2021 served as a year when we learned what it meant to be resilient. It would seem fitting that 2022 would be keying in on recovery and redefining the ‘next normal’. The topics you will see here address this in a number of ways, but it bears mentioning that the perspective I will be coming from is one focused on Workforce. Synergy is in the business of crafting workforce and talent solutions that address the specific needs of our clients in all of their technical areas. Much of what you will read in this overview and the subsequent deeper dives in the weeks to come will highlight this, but many of the topics expand well beyond the IT department.
I hope you find them interesting, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.
1. Employee Engagement
The concept of Employee Engagement centers around the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization. So, the question that many companies are asking themselves is, “is my workforce committed to our organization and its goals?”
If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘YES’, or, worse still, they have started to see people leaving the company to find work that is more aligned with their values, then a hard look at your Employee Engagement strategy is in order. Next week I will take this topic on in my blog, ’10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement’.
2. Remote and Hybrid Work Management
You have read it multiple times in the last three months and every day another large corporation makes their announcement that “remote work is here to stay”. In our field, nearly every candidate we speak with asks, “is the opportunity fully remote?” within the first few sentences of the conversation. COVID-19 sent the workforce home and it revealed that productivity could indeed be maintained in many instances with fully remote teams. Some companies are not willing to go fully remote but have opted for a hybrid model where employees work from home on some days and in the office for others. The concepts are easy but what some companies may struggle with is how to address the management of the fully remote or hybrid workers. I will drill down into this topic in my blog, ‘9 Tools to Help with Remote and Hybrid Work Management’.
3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Much the way Employee Engagement will be hot, so will companies’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. Making work environments, whether in office, hybrid, or remote, more communicative, compassionate, and culturally inclusive will be on the minds and agendas of most companies in 2022. Identifying and removing bias in the workplace, making sure all employees are listened to and heard, and evolving the business to include new and diverse perspectives have been key to measurable successes in cash flow per employee and overall revenues. In my upcoming blog, I will highlight ‘8 Ways to Drive Diversity Outcomes’.
4. Reskill / Upskill
By definition, upskilling is the process of learning new skills and reskilling is the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job. Or you could say that upskilling is about specialization and reskilling about versatility, but whichever way you choose to think about it, 2022 will be a year that is a focal point for many companies. The skills gap between what resources companies need to continue to grow and, in some cases, survive, and the talent in the marketplace to fulfill those needs continues to expand. On the heels of the pandemic and ‘the Great Resignation’, finding new ways to solve the talent need is paramount. Both upskill and reskilling complement the efforts of the HR and Recruitment departments and provide an alternative to costly external vendors. I will take on this topic in my upcoming blog, ‘8 Reasons to Look Internally and Up/Reskill’.
5. Small Reusable Teams
Sometimes referred to as Tiger Teams, the small reusable teams I am mentioning here are assembled based on strengths and weaknesses and are engaged when needed to solve very specific and important issues. There are a number of reasons I see this as a 2022 trend. Two major ones are the unique set of issues companies are facing and the limited available workforce to accomplish their goals. Some benefits of using a Tiger Team include the diversity of experiences of its members, hyper-focus on the issue to be solved, and a blend of planning and action. My upcoming blog, ‘7 Reasons to Consider Tiger Teams’ will share more on the topic.
6. Gig Workers & Independent Contractors
A growing number of technical workers are joining the Gig Economy, a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. It seems natural that in 2022 and beyond, companies will work hard to leverage this vital talent pool. It is critical though to do it correctly, as running afoul of the rules regarding Reclassification can be costly. The gains from the talent to complete the technical work will outweigh the costs to engage with the technical resources carefully and properly. This topic will get attention in an upcoming blog highlighting some of the key things that need to be addressed to utilize this type of technical resource.
7. Working your Values
This topic cannot be underestimated. People realized during the pandemic and are continuing to realize as they return to work, that working with a company that they are ‘value aligned’ with is very important to them. Deciding what is important in life can be very difficult indeed, and if the past two years have reminded us of anything it is that life is short. In 2022 people aligning their work life to their life is squarely in focus. As businesses, we must evaluate and respond to this and the larger the organization the harder that can be. Top issues being cited, researched, and remediated include work environment, flexible hours, paid leave, continuous learning, and purposeful work. I will dig into this topic in an upcoming blog and anticipate it being one of the most commented from this Trend series.
8. Referral Programs
Recruitment referral programs are not new in 2022, but they are certainly important. If your organization currently has a referral program in place, then you may already be benefiting from it. If they do not, then it may be the perfect time to institute one. Referral programs are basically incentive-based achievement programs for employees referring good candidates that the company ultimately hires. They come in a variety of types with many offering cash over time for the new employee that was referred. The efficacy of these programs is hard to argue as Dr. John Sullivan, noted HR thought leader, citied 88% of corporate employers list referrals as the number one source of above-average candidates. I will highlight in detail how your organization may benefit from a program like this in an upcoming blog.
Facing 2020 and 2021 our respective companies were forced to face unexpected reinvention and 2022 delivers our first real opportunity to be more purposeful about the matter. Change is never easy and sometimes it takes catastrophic events to put us in the frame of mind to make transformational changes to our business, and yes, I’d say a pandemic qualifies. We were able to learn so much as we were forced with handling remote working and sudden shifts in policy and structure. My upcoming blog will look in-depth at intentional reinvention and the ways you may choose to rethink and remodel your organization.
10. Rethink Recruitment
Talent acquisition professionals have faced two solid years of challenges and unfortunately, in my opinion, they will be offered little relief in 2022. Adaptability is now one of the strongest attributes of a solid IT recruiter. Responding to the shifting requirements of the talent pool and client needs without much change in the tools has even made some reconsider their job choice. In 2022 however, I believe you will start to see technology catch up and companies that involve themselves heavily in recruitment will re-work the business processes to accommodate their success. Additionally, their skills will be in high demand and for companies that don’t make the investment in tech or process re-engineering, the recruiters will have options of where to ply their trade. Being that Synergy’s entire business model centers around technical resources and how best to engage with them, I will spend a great time of time on this topic in my upcoming blog post.
11. Worker Well-being
Well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy, sometimes very hard conditions to achieve in a stressful work environment. The pandemic sent us home and gave us time to think not only about how not to get sick but also how important it is to feel well. Contributors to well-being include physical, mental, emotional, and social factors and it is my belief that in 2022, as employers, we will have to assess and support our employees with all of these categories. Choosing not to address Worker Well-being may have your key people choosing to move to a company that more suitably addresses the topic. This is a broad topic and I will cover it in detail to round out my 2022 Trends series.
Happy New Year to all that took the time to read through the list of Trends! Some of these you may already be seeing or feeling, some may not have arrived in your workplace as yet. Having worked in this industry for as many years as I have, and having been a part of great teams now and in the past, 2022 offers a bit of a reset. With old ways outdating themselves and new and important topics now making it to the top of mind, I feel excited about getting to think and react to the ‘next normal’ and adapt to continue to serve our client base. I hope you will come back and enjoy the deeper dives on each trend I highlighted.