This is my attempt to make sense of the trends we see and identify which will have the largest impact. I am adding two things to this year’s forecast. First, I am rating the likelihood that each of my predictions will happen, and I have included a few that I think are very unlikely to happen but are frequently talked about.
#1. Recruitment Process Outsourcing will continue to thrive and grow globally.
With an annual growth rate exceeding 18%, it is bound to impact almost all organizations this year in some way. Most large firms already use RPOs for some of their recruitment needs and are expanding their scope. RPOs investments in technology and talent intelligence offer a sophisticated level of service that most internal functions are hard-pressed to emulate. I predict that RPOs continued growth is 90% likely.
#2. Hybrid and remote work will continue to be significant in how people choose to work.
With the continued pandemic, these work types will continue to become habituated, and every year, it becomes less likely that we will return to pre-pandemic in-person work.
Even though many organizations are asking workers to return, many workers are reluctant to because of the virus and their lifestyles have changed. Workers in their 40s and above are most likely to want to go back, at least some of the time, but younger workers will continue to resist. Many have moved away from the physical office, and others do not want to commute. As new variants emerge, this will reinforce the need to work remotely. I predict that hybrid and remote remain the primary way people choose to work as 90% likely.
#3. Hiring and Retaining Employees, especially the younger generation, will remain challenging.
The fact that workers are unhappy, disgruntled, unengaged, and leaving in droves proves what I and others have said for years. We need to treat people are investors, not assets or capital. Despite many HR gurus expounding on people as assets, I believe the term implies that people can be disposed of as desired and depreciated. Employees have felt this for some time. The millennial generation has consistently talked about being disrespected and not listened to in the workplace. Unless organizational culture changes and allows more flexible working arrangements, reduces the bureaucracy, and becomes more transparent about salaries, it will remain hard to hire and retain the younger generation. They may come to work because they need the money, but they will not be committed or necessarily engaged. I predict with 85% certainty that hiring will remain challenging throughout 2022.
#4. Recruiting will be run more like a marketing function.
Recruiting is fundamentally about attracting talent to the firm. This requires knowing what motivates candidates and how to reach them with the right messages. With a significant shortage of talent, this has become more important than ever. To keep recruiting in HR is hindering its ability to develop market intelligence and build targeted campaigns that attract the right people. At the very least, recruiting should be led by a marketing expert. I predict this is 80% likely to happen in large firms.
#4. There will be a focus on hiring for a broad array of skills rather than degrees or other rearview mirror credentials.
Skills assessment and peer review will play a more significant role in hiring. As organizations become more comfortable with a remote workforce and learn how to manage and use it effectively, there will be less need to hire permanent works for many skills. Savvy managers will look for people who can solve problems and have the agility to deal with the unexpected. Consultants or contracted professionals will fill more of the need for deep expertise. I predict that this will be 60% likely.
#5. Internal Mobility is the buzzword for 2022, and I would like to predict that a large percentage of roles would be filled internally.
But whether there is any significant internal movement will depend on several factors coming together. First, HR policy will have to change in most organizations to make it easier for employees to find and attain new roles. Secondly, there will need more development and job-specific training, both in-person and virtually. Third, organizations will need an HRIS system that contains skills information about employees that can be tapped by hiring managers and recruiters. Most do not have this. And finally, recruitment will have to take on a more strategic role. Recruiters will need to be part of the discussion on which roles can be filled internally and which should be filled externally or with a gig worker. I see all these factors coming together only in a small number of firms. I predict this will get more talk than action and is only 50% likely to happen in a widespread way.
#6. People Analytics slowly, very slowly, will move toward becoming core to HR and recruiting.
Even though many HR and recruiting professionals understand the power of predictive analytics, what they report remains descriptive. HR and recruiting functions lack the expertise to do predictive analytics, and reliable data is still hard to get even when they have the skills. To do useful predictive analytics requires a clearly defined question that you want the data to answer, significant amounts of good data, the expertise to develop algorithms to analyze it, and enough trust in the results to take action. I predict this is only 25% likely to happen except in the largest organizations where it might be 50% likely.
Very Doubtful Predictions
Augmented and Virtual reality will become part of the attraction and selection process.
Walmart started using VR as part of its assessment process for managers in 2019. Some firms are using VR for onboarding new employees and others for giving candidates a virtual tour. As Facebook transforms into Meta and more AR and VR enter the gaming space, it is possible that useful AR/VR will become a larger part of recruiting. But so far the adoption has been slow and implementation often requires headsets and other hardware that is not commonly used. There will be little significant progress in 2022 – less than 10% growth.
Diversity of ideas and cultures will grow in value and importance.
I wish this would actually happen, but I am doubtful. Many organizations have improved their ethnic and gender diversity, but they have not made much progress in hiring people with diverse ideas. Organizations are unlikely to hire anyone who does not fit their belief system or behavior culture. Despite research that shows that hiring diverse people increases innovation. According to the Harvard Business Review, more diverse companies experience increased innovation resulting in 19% higher revenue. The number one reason recruiters give for rejecting candidates that meet job requirements is that they do not fit the culture. I give this only a 5% chance of actually happening.
Candidate experience will be better executed.
Over the past few years, I have heard a lot of talk about candidate experience, and the CandE awards have influenced many organizations to improve how they treat candidates. Yet, candidates are still complaining about never hearing back after submitting a resume, poor communications, confusing career sites, and posting non-existing jobs. My own experience in perusing career sites reinforces this as most of them are heavy on hype but offer little substance or guidance on how to apply or what will happen when they do. Chatbots, when used well, are great, but only a small number of firms use them, effectively or at all. So even though it will be much talked about, I have little hope for substantial improvement. I give this only a 25% chance of getting much better in 2022.
Talent Intelligence will make sourcing easier.
The ability to understand the labor market, know where talent is located, and tap into it as needed is a recruiter’s dream. The increased ability of technology to find people on the Internet and screen them for skills using A.I. has grown over the past decade. But to search tools successfully requires a well-trained recruiter and policies and practices that allow recruiters to assess and hire people wherever they are located and no matter their lifestyle or background. As mentioned above, cultural fit still trumps s ills, and local is still regarded as better than far away. I give this only a 25% chance of being realized.
This article was first published in the Future of Talent Newsletter and has been republished here with permission.
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