The conundrums facing modern management figures are changing at a seriously fast pace – particularly given the ever-evolving scenario with the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most of these challenges look to make changes in the workplace to give employees a greater degree of freedom, improve culture and foster a healthy atmosphere, it’s up to leaders within an organisation to see these changes through and adapt quickly when necessary.
In this blog, we’ll be exploring some of the issues that may face business leaders in 2022, and how best they can manage them.
At the height of the pandemic, many businesses around the world were forced adapt to a remote working schedule. Even though many organisations have now transitioned back to a phased or hybrid return to the office, the unknowns surrounding the Omicron variant has prompted a return to working from home.
Given this trend, leaders must ensure that their employees are once again set up for remote working. Employers are likely to want to continue making the most of the advantages of this working format, which will mean that leadership figures will need to carefully manage productivity and encourage continued communication.
As per a study conducted by Deloitte, 80% of employees want inclusive companies, and almost half of respondents believed that their company needed to improve diversity, race and gender equality.
This tells us that every industry leader must strive to familiarise themselves with diversity-related issues in order to create a truly inclusionary working environment.
As we can see, these issues are now at the top of the agenda – both internally and externally – so we can expect to see leaders working towards a more inclusive working environment in 2022.
Due to extenuating circumstances, such as the pandemic and Brexit here in the UK, many industries are reporting considerable skills gaps. For example, there are thought to be skills gaps in up to 70% of the technology industry, and many other industries are finding similar gulfs in appropriately trained workers.
To address this, business leaders must understand where gaps exist in their own organisation and look to develop their employees to fulfil specific skills gaps.
According to a recent report by McLean and Co. only 21% of organisations are currently taking steps to address skill shortages, and only 24% frequently analyse where skills gaps exist in their business.
Earlier this year the CEO Leadership Report surveyed over 360 CEOs and more than 2,000 HR professionals and the results found that just 38% of them deemed their mid-management leaders to be “very good” or “excellent”.
This suggests that, as things stand, organisations are failing to develop middle-management to eventually take on C-Suite positions.
In 2022, businesses must roll out strategies designed to equip middle-management with the skills they need to lead and therefore be considered for roles within the C-Suite.
Crucially, this training must focus on training leaders for the here-and-now, as well as those that are able to develop empathy and an emotional connection with their teams.
While employees and management may be open to the idea of change in the working environment, implementing large-scale changes can create further issues with change fatigue – particularly prevalent given what we’ve experienced these past few years. If this is the case, then working to reinforce change management should certainly be on your list of priorities for 2022.
As a study by McKinsey found, companies are five times more likely to adapt to large-scale changes once leadership figures adopt and model the changes they’re asking of their employees.
Leaders must prioritise the way they manage organisational change since it is likely that almost two years of upheaval in the workplace has greatly contributed to fatigue and burnout.
The global shortage of talent in the job market – now widely referred to as the Great Resignation – is posing challenges for organisations of all kinds, when looking to recruit top-tier talent.
In 2022, employers will need to review their hiring policies to ensure they’re finding those with high ceilings when it comes to their potential.
Hiring new talent has always been a lottery, and that won’t change. However, as a consequence of these changes in the employment market, the penalties for hiring the wrong person could mean that you miss out on that one person that your organisation craves.
Revaluating your approach to recruitment, whether that be through more vigorous interviews, or skills tests must be a key point to address heading into 2022.
There was once a time when employees clocked in and clocked out; no questions asked. But these days employees care far more than just their salary.
While, clearly, wages are a key pointer for employees to remain with a business, they are now just as concerned about the environment they are being asked to work.
In 2022, businesses must find new ways to bolster the overall health and wellbeing of their employees – this could mean anything from offering perks to preparing them to take the next step in their careers.
In addition to everything we’ve covered in this piece, employees are also keen to know that their health and welfare is taken seriously; this means everything from ensuring correct COVID protocols are met to ensuring that mental fatigue and burn out are addressed quickly and correctly.
Now that remote working continues to look increasingly likely heading into 2022, it’s crucial that organisations rally to create a healthy working culture. And for those that must continue with a hybrid working approach, safety must be taken very seriously.
If an organisation is to continue to be productive and maintain a strong core of employees, any great leader must adopt a man-management approach to ensure that each employee is treated in a way that they respond to.
Any organisation that can produce an effective plan to address these challenges will continue to be productive and diverse in 2022, which means that everyone from board level to employees can reap the enormous benefits of a culture of continuous improvement.