Subscribe for 50% off
Subscribe

5 Work Trends Business Owners Should Focus on in 2022

Improving the working environment for those who choose to stay will be the key to success this year.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs in what's been dubbed, "The Great Resignation." Many are leaving because their previous working environments were inhospitable or in conflict with their interpersonal goals for happiness and fulfillment. Many would have stayed at their current places of employment, however, if there had been greater symbiosis between company and employee desires. Now, companies are finding new value in the age-old fact that you can't run a successful business without employees. Retention is everything, so here are some workplace trends to follow for retention and success in 2022.

Flexibility

Since the pandemic began, we've been hearing it said that flexible working is here to stay. But if you want to engage, motivate, and inspire your team, it's not just flexibility they need but your awareness that one size does not fit all, even where flexibility is concerned.

Introducing a system where employees are required to work from the office three days a week might work for some, but not for others. Or moving to a full-time work-from-home model might be fantastic for some, but not for others. Everyone has different needs, so in 2022 you should listen to employees' voices and individually determine which flex model is best for their goals.

It's about truly listening, then adapting, accommodating, and changing.

Related: How to Reach the "New Next' Instead of Chasing the "Old Normal'

Focus on compassion

Last year, as the line between business life and personal life blurred and most people took to video conferencing, we had our first real glimpse into our employees' homes: children wandering in the room while their mom or dad was in a virtual meeting, household pets barking or whining to get attention while their owners were in the middle of an important virtual presentation, or housemates noisily in the background of a one-on-one Zoom call. For some, this window into their real-life helped work relationships deepen, with new compassion and connection building between co-workers. But for many others, these interruptions just contributed to a dramatic increase in stress and burnout.

In 2021, KPMG research found that, globally, 94% of employees were feeling stressed. And in October, CNBC and global gender equality firm, Catalyst, released a report titled "The Great Work/Life Divide," which found that 54% of employed parents were considering leaving their job because their company didn't care about their concerns; 51% were considering leaving because they felt their manager didn't care about their issues at work.

Caring about your employees' well-being should be an absolute priority, not only for basic goodness but for worker retention. Being empathetic, understanding, and open about the issues affecting employees' working lives is fundamental to being a great leader. Ultimately, making deeper, more meaningful connections at work will make the environment a place where employees thrive. In turn, productivity and creativity increase. It's a win-win.

An increase in transparency

Workplace transparency increases employee engagement and promotes trust between leadership and the workforce. Yet, more than ever, employees are being left in the dark. Leaders should pursue a more collaborative approach if they want team engagement to be high in 2022 and beyond. Employees want to be involved in the conversations and decisions that affect workflow and direction.

Related: Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Gig Workers

Being transparent won't always be easy. Being honest about falling profits, impending layoffs, or company takeovers can be challenging. But an organization that creates openness between managers and employees will thrive. When you have an entire workforce that feels seen and heard, you'll have a team inspired to want to do better.

Worker expansion

As millions of US workers leave the corporate world, the ones sticking it out are taking on more than they signed up for. Those left in offices have seen their workload slowly but surely increase, and their responsibilities have grown without any salary increase.

While it might be a good short-term fix for your business to spread out the workload from employees who have resigned, it will only damage your company in the long run. When you overload your employees with as many tasks as they can fit in, their quality, efficiency, and engagement will take a nosedive.

To reduce burnout, find creative ways to lessen the pressure on current employees, and focus on hiring replacements for those who have left, so your teams can work effectively and the company can reach its goals.

Related: 3 Reasons Our Online Lives Are Here to Stay

Prioritizing purpose

Having purpose and being dedicated to a mission and vision can influence engagement positively, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and help people feel happier at work. Because of this, employees are encouraging their leaders to shift focus from solely profit to purpose, people, and planet. They want to work for organizations that allow them to prioritize pride and fulfillment in their jobs. When employees feel more connected to their company's mission, vision, and purpose, they are more passionate and dedicated to serving the organization.

Companies driven by a greater purpose and mission create value for employees. This is especially the case for millennials, many of whom, because of the pandemic, are reconsidering the kind of work they do. So, have a clearly defined mission and vision for your company, and don't just keep it in writing—speak it and live it, and you'll have a much better chance of your employees staying with you for the long haul.

This isn't just about making a better workplace. It's about making a better world, which is what the workforce is signaling it wants.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks