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There’s a “slowly but surely” atmosphere when it comes to the recovery of the labour market in the UK. Job vacancies hit a record 1.1 million between July and September of 2021, which demonstrates greater levels of business confidence. At the same time, unemployment rates in the UK have been steadily declining these last few months, a trend set to continue in the coming year.

In the context of Covid, the government’s furlough scheme played a crucial role in protecting jobs. Now, it’s up to HR to take charge, by ensuring their workforce has the right skills and driving employee engagement to deliver the company’s vision.

With such a scenario for 2022, HR and talent management leaders are looking to the new year as a blank canvas, ready to reach new potential. For this, technology remains front of mind for companies in the UK looking to innovate hiring practices and enable future initiatives to further engage talent.

As you start planning for 2022, let’s dive in and learn a bit more about the UK HR trends for the new year and era to come.

Trend 1: The Great Resignation

It’s a trend that we’ve seen an increase this year and it’s looking like it’ll keep going. A recent study highlights that 69 per cent of UK workers are looking to change their current job and it takes more than a pay raise to entice employees to stay.

It’s a cause for concern when it comes to talent management. Keeping the numbers in mind, it’s important to analyse the data, find the issue and rethink work as a company. This allows for a better understanding of the gaps in the organisation, developing a strategy for lowering turnover and driving retention. Reasons for this enormous exodus have ranged from burnout to wanting more flexibility. Let’s look at some of the numbers in the UK again.

The Culture Factor

A survey of 6,000 employees in the UK showed that 24 per cent of people are planning to change their current work position in the next three to six months. Many of these employees want a change due to burnout and a lack of sense of belonging at work, which is why this year, company culture will take centre stage.

For employees, feeling like their work is valued in their company and that their part of a team is what essentially gets them to go to work every morning. Without it, there’s no point.

Salaries aren’t the be-all and end-all. Companies need to be looking at ways in which culture can foster a sense of belonging as well as career growth. Some key elements companies can keep in mind to boost employee retention in 2022 include:

  • A social onboarding experience that makes new hires feel like part of the team. They can get to know their teammates and discover company culture before day one, which speeds time to productivity.
  • Upskilling and learning are critical for employees to reach their career goals and aspirations. Access to mobility opportunities that drive professional growth and the opportunity to manage their careers can have a bit impact, as Avature customer L’Oréal discovered.
  • Working on team building, creating a support system for employees inside the workplace and fostering peer recognition. With the help of Avature, USI has managed to achieve this and much more.

The Brexit Factor

As a direct impact of Brexit, the UK is suffering from a labour shortage like never before. On group that has been hit especially hard is HGV drivers. With the UK no longer forming part of the EU, many EU drivers have had to return to their home countries or look for other options due to new immigration policies.

The lack of drivers has reached a critical point, with a survey by the Road Haulage Association detailing that it’s now at the 100,000 mark, failing supply chains and fueling concerns towards food and goods shortages for the holiday season.

With government leaders scrambling to find a solution to a problem that has already reached unimaginable proportions, companies need to look out for a few elements in the year to come, such as:

  • Setting up apprenticeship and training programs that incentivise candidate uptake. Some organisations fund HGV driver training and the tests required to gain a driving licence, guaranteeing participants a job if they pass their test.
  • Reaching out to employees who are dealing with the overwhelming amount of work left behind and making their well-being a top priority.
  • Championing internal mobility that might encourage existing employees across other areas of the organisation to move into this role. Some companies have already started offering fast-track programs for current staff!

The Recruiting Opportunity

For talent acquisition teams, the Great Resignation presents an opportunity to attract talent.

Understanding the reasons behind candidates’ resignations is necessary to prevent the cycle from repeating itself. Listening to candidates is essential if organisations want to develop the right value proposition. The coming year is about more than just perks; it’s about what appeals to the human aspect, fostering growth and belonging.

With this in mind, it’s worth investing in a CRM that supplies advanced recruitment marketing tools to effectively activate and deploy engagement campaigns and offer a personalised experience to candidates. To do so in 2022, recruiters might want to consider our next trend…

Trend 2: Sourcing and Recruitment on Social Media

With the rise of video resumes, social media recruitment is looking to thrive this coming year. To put this into perspective, a survey showed that the average UK company spends a quarter of their recruitment budget on social media.

One example of this growing trend is the #TikTokResumes, which has been gaining traction, especially among the younger audience, currently surpassing 355.9 million views worldwide. But there’s much more to social media recruitment.

Apps such as Instagram can be a great ally to companies and HR leaders looking to build their employer brand. and these apps can give candidates an inside look into the organization’s work culture. For UK companies looking to attract top talent in 2022, social media can be an insightful and unique tool to connect with potential talent.

Trend 3: The Rise of Skills

A skills-based approach proved to be extremely beneficial during the pandemic. While companies dealt with major hiring freezes, agility remained front and centre in every strategy. Employees were quickly moved to where they were needed according to the skills they possessed and where they were most useful to the company at the time.

The key to any hiring strategy that includes skills is to first understand them. An end-to-end platform can help companies to track and collect the data available, without it getting stuck in siloes. Integrating AI and machine learning into the platform can allow organizations to make use of this data in a scalable way.

When implemented ethically, these tools can give the company a snapshot and in-depth analysis of the skills present in their workforce, perform candidate matching for roles, track how skills are being developed and map out career paths for mobility.

Trend 4: Moving Towards a Hybrid Work Model

After three lockdowns and several phases of restrictions, one thing’s for certain in the UK: back to work will probably look a bit different in 2022. With only one in three employees expected to return to the office, the year to come is looking to the hybrid work model as a solution that is here to stay.

One survey points out that, in Great Britain, half of the employers expect the demand for flexible forms of working from employees to increase. They also highlight that transitioning to some sort of hybrid work model is essential for companies if they want to avoid turnover and foster employee retention

While fifteen per cent of companies are still navigating the transition, the right technology can be a tremendous asset to deploy these strategies and reach their hybrid work model goals in the coming year. This can include everything from video solutions to better communication within remote teams, to contingent workforce management solutions that allow companies to support all types of employees.

With organizations defining which work model best fits their needs, listening to employees remains a constant in the final decision. The traditional way of working is long gone and the coming year will have more and more companies looking into a more personalised approach to the hybrid work model.

To Conclude…

As we ring in the new year, resolutions remain a constant. And in the HR industry and UK labour market, in particular, the talent landscape is shifting. With new policies in place, the coming year is presenting a set of unique challenges for companies to tackle.

Those organisations that keep employees in mind and that put the time and effort into revamping their talent processes and programs accordingly will certainly reap the benefits, not only in the coming year but the ones that follow.