People And Purpose Will Drive Workplace Culture In the Coming Year

Workplace revolution is a strain that is being felt globally

By Rahul Goyal


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The workplace as we know it is in the midst of a momentous transformation. This has been fueled by the continued impact of the COVID pandemic and the strain it has placed on businesses amid record labor shortages and shifting worker priorities. As a result, it is workers who will define the future of work and employers who are faced with the pressure of adjusting to new and emerging demands.

This workplace revolution is a strain that is being felt globally. The ADP Research Institute found that 64 percent of the global workforce was negatively impacted by COVID-19, including 28 percent who lost a job, were furloughed, or were temporarily laid off, and 23 percent who took a pay cut. These labor market shifts have led workers to reevaluate their needs, including how and where work gets done. The next step for employers is to better understand their employees' needs, motivations, what drives their productivity and leverage those insights. It will be essential for businesses to support and empower their people, fostering a strong sense of connection and purpose to pave the way for greater progression and innovation as we head into 2022.

As we look to a new way of working, there will need to be more of an emphasis on disruptive technology, innovation, radical thinking, and new business models to grow and thrive. Companies around the world are beginning to understand the need for clear and meaningful objectives, for agreed expectations when it comes to work obligations and the importance of sharing how business decisions are made. Over the next decade, these responsibilities will be imperative to attracting and retaining not only employees, but customers and partners as well.

Workforce flexibility will go beyond perception and employers will look to adopt people-centric initiatives to create a workplace where everyone can succeed. Employees will continue to work in a remote and hybrid environment, operational and compliance considerations will grow, adding to an already complex regulatory environment. Businesses will turn to technology to drive effectiveness and increase capabilities by eliminating work tasks and refocusing efforts on strategic growth, benefiting both employers and employees.

HR & payroll services will play a pivotal role as people and purpose drive a new workplace culture. Employee health and wellbeing programs and purposeful working groups that have clear and concise messages emphasizing shared visions for the future will be important. HR practices, including onboarding, appropriate compensation and benefits, rewards and recognition plans, training and development, and work/life balance initiatives will be key when it comes to staff gratification and retention.

As employers seek to foster inclusion in new work patterns, connectivity becomes the barometer of workforce culture. As connectivity drives engagement, employers will need to focus more on their employees and integrate them into the bigger organizational picture, driving purpose and uniting their workforce at all levels. ADP Research Institute found that U.S. workers who feel they are strongly connected to their employer are 75 times more likely to be fully engaged than those who do not feel connected, exemplifying the importance of meaningful connection in the workplace. Diversity, equity and inclusion strategies will also evolve to make real and measurable progress. This will also result in a workplace being attractive for new talent. These factors must be at the forefront and will drive a positive and connected workforce.

Looking outside the box when hiring will drive innovation further. ADP Research Institute's "People at Work: A Global Workforce View" study found more than one-in-four workers (28%) report having taken on a new role or changing role due to pandemic labor market shifts. Employers can seek new and different ways to strengthen employees' unique skills and provide opportunities to develop new skills to accelerate performance, to draw on those individual strengths and with more opportunity for growth.

As a collective society, people are becoming increasingly attracted to a more sustainable life, it would be remiss for organisations not to incorporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility as part of its employee involvement and talent management agenda. At the same time, employers need to recognize and have empathy for the individuals that make up the collective. Mindfulness, a practice known to reduce stress and increase productivity, is increasingly being incorporated into workplace culture.

In 2022, there will be a blended approach to the employee experience. It will be about creating a consistent culture that works in person or virtually. Employers will need to consider how, where, and why teams are coming together. Consistently listening to your employees and acting on that feedback. And it can't be done without data. This is where employee engagement technology comes in. Understanding the aspects that impact employee productivity shows the range of technologies needed to deliver the best possible performance. Culture is always a work in progress. Planning for change and having the ability to adapt to unexpected events is important. It's also essential to consider how different people respond to change and how to keep your workforce engaged. Building a great employee experience and a rich, vibrant company culture is vital as we all continue navigating through uncertain times.

Rahul Goyal

Managing Director – India & South East Asia, ADP

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