Standing strong in the face of COVID-19 and the Great Resignation

Shifting business models and growing employee needs have made 2021 the year of reinvention for everyone. It turns out that companies across the U.S., and particularly the recruitment arena, face the most challenges as workers now seek jobs that offer benefits to fit the transitioning landscape of work/life balance, stability, and well-being. Amidst one of the most significant labor revolutions in our nation, employers have an opportunity to gain an edge over how theyhire and retain skilled talent by providing exceptional recruiting and hiring experiences for candidates.

Nearly half (49%) of job seekers working in sought-after fields like technology say they’ve turned down a job offer because of a bad hiring experience.  A significant number of employee respondents with PwC’s Employee Financial Wellness Survey state that having “flexibility and/or work-life balance” as a work perk has the most impact on their satisfaction at work.

With the Great Resignation wave all over the U.S. and ever-emerging variants of COVID-19, businesses are forced to take precautionary steps to safeguard their workforce and satisfy their employees. This article reveals five of the best and most relevant hiring trends in 2022 that companies and HR departments are adapting to keep their A-game strong amidst the chaos.

Business practices for talent acquisition and human resources have evolved immensely over the past two years, from conducting remote interviews to digitalizing the whole onboarding process. It has become increasingly important for employers to put systems into place which ensure hirings are inclusive, unbiased, and efficient.

Progressive employers recognize that adopting innovative hiring trends and cultivating a nurturing culture will support current employees and attract new talent, which allows them to meet and exceed their recruitment and retention goals.

Here’s a list of five industry hiring trends that are predicted to rule in 2022 and beyond:

1. Remote Work Prevails

Offices across the U.S. were met with eerie silence as more workers opted to work from home during the pandemic to stay safe. In 2021, cautious workers started to return to the office. Still, the convenience of working from home remained for employees. Hence, businesses adjusted to allow for a hybrid work model. Employees were offered the flexibility to work remotely.

Remote work environments have swiftly become one of the most impactful work perks of the decade. The work-from-home model not only eliminates commuting time but also breaks the monotonous 9-to-5 tradition that employees no longer prefer.

“83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, compared to 73% in our June 2020 survey.”
- PwC US Remote Work Survey

Implementing secure collaboration systems for employees to work onsite or from home can significantly impact the talent a company attracts and retains. For the employer, it saves several expenses and provides safety for employees to continue to work without the threat of catching COVID or any other infectious disease.

2. Automation and AI

Candidate Relationship Management, applicant tracking, and video conferencing on platforms like Zoom have gained immense popularity since 2020. Adding AI tools and automation to the hiring process has radically altered the role of recruiters and saved employers time to focus on more business-critical operations. As the world progresses, recruiters are more likely to automate traditional tasks like candidate screenings and initial interviews. One area experiencing massive growth in this regard is asynchronous video technology. Candidates can record a short video of themselves answering initial interview questions, and the video will then be sent to the appropriate talent acquisition specialist. Video technology like this is famous for expediting the hiring process on a massive scale.

“By leveraging AI tools, one consumer goods company saw a 30% increase in several qualified applicants while another tech company saw the job descriptions attract 28% more women and fill the positions 50% faster.” - Deloitte

Moreover, AI technology will help hiring managers source candidates, review resumes, and schedule interviews. Companies can leverage AI to comb through cover letters and screen answers to interview questions.

AI and automation in the hiring process are welcomed now more than ever because of the improved employee experience, such as removing linguistic barriers and cultural biases in job descriptions, screening, or onboarding. Such technology also learns from data gathered and adapts intelligently to move candidates through any part of the hiring process in a customized way that fits the applicant and benefits the employer.

3. Extended Employee Benefits

Extended employee benefits are no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have hiring trend that dominates the employee-centric job market. While medical and dental coverage remains the most desired benefits for employees, workers now also root for flexible working hours, safer working conditions, a better paycheck, and better control over their finances.

An On-Demand Pay solution is a highly recommended financial wellness option for employers to provide to their employees. It offers improved financial control for employees without putting stress on the company's cash flow. Additionally, it gives employees peace of mind by providing them access to their earned money at any time.

“72% of employees would be attracted to another company that cares more about financial well-being than their current company.”
- 2021 PwC employee financial wellness survey

An On-Demand Pay service allows employees to have control over their pay by accessing their earnings before the scheduled payday. It is usually an employer-sponsored service that allows employees to withdraw their earnings for a minimal fee and no cost at all to employers.

Adding a financial wellness solution like this to your plate, in addition to more traditional benefits like a 401k, boosts the hiring process and gives companies a competitive edge in talent acquisition and retention.

4. Revamped Company Culture: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Companies are welcoming and supportive of geographically diverse teams now more than ever. Forward-thinking employers recognize the massive array of benefits that come with diverse teams. With remote work becoming the new norm and businesses exploring untapped potential across the globe; Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) stand among the topmost priorities of employers and employees.

While the changing social climate might be the immediate contributor to this, organizations have long recognized that diversity, inclusion, and equality are the key drivers of the business's success.

“You’ll win top talent in a tight labor market by competing on more than salary. Our analysis of this data shows that your firm’s culture and the experience you provide people is your differentiated asset.”
- Bhushan Sethi, Principal, Joint Global Leader, People, and Organization, PwC US

The curtain between business and consumer has become increasingly transparent. A company’s treatment of employees and its culture and values can have an enormous impact on how the market perceives a company or product.

Hence revamping company cultures from top to bottom and maintaining complete transparency across teams via unbiased communication and inclusive work perks will keep the employees and candidates hooked.

5. Upskilling of Existing Employees

The unprecedented uncertainty that prevailed during the pandemic initially slowed down the hiring process, sometimes as slow as a freeze. In response to this, employers shifted attention toward existing workers to lead new projects as business needs change. As a result, HR administrators and recruiters have had to modify and update the ways they assess existing and new talent alike.

Potential and transferable skills like adaptability, problem-solving, and the ability to wear multiple hats are now being stressed and highlighted by hiring managers looking for employee longevity and satisfaction.

“The future of talent acquisition lies in reskilling rather than finding someone better in the market. If you need to hire today, you need to reskill yesterday.”
– Rajesh Ahuja, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Infosys

This new normal in the employee work model accelerates individual and team learning and facilitates growth and training opportunities that may have previously been overlooked or underutilized. Practical HR tools now identify skill gaps and suggest suitable training programs to upskill employees.

When the pandemic forced businesses to operate with limited human resources, it also elevated the significance and rank of existing employees. It paved the way for employees to work outside their roles and upskill themselves. This trend is likely to prevail in years to come as companies move toward breaking silos and nurturing robust and cross-functional teams to manage projects and grow business

Future of Hiring

The recruitment journey has certainly come a long way and will likely grow and expand according to the changing employee and employer needs. Employers and their workers both tend to agree that Diversity & Inclusion, extended employee benefits, and efficient onboarding all top the list in terms of what to focus on next to attract and keep awesome talent.

Considering the statistics and research provided above, it is obvious that we are living in an employee-dominant era where employers have an opportunity to gain an edge in the talent market by providing an exceptional recruiting experience to hire and retain potential talent.

It is time for recruiters to step up their game. Whether you are the company or the candidate, the first impression could be the last impression, so make sure yours is a positive one.