Focus areas for leaders in 2022

Professionals are navigating an unparalleled workplace transformation, where all of us are rethinking not just how we work, but why we work. Data shows that we’re in midst of one of the greatest transformations the world of work has ever seen, what we’re calling “The Great Reshuffle.”

As of the end of September, data showed that our members changed jobs on their LinkedIn profile 54% more year over year. Talent has similarly reevaluated what work means to them, and a tightening labor market has and will continue to put employees in the driver’s seat.

Amidst this Great Reshuffle, organizations must question long-held assumptions and processes to embrace new ideas around workplace culture to engage and retain employees in the year ahead. Employees everywhere are realizing and rediscovering what they want from their careers and embarking on a journey to find opportunities that best match their needs—whether that’s greater flexibility, better pay, or deeper fulfillment. But with job fulfillment down, there are ways to show talent that quitting your job doesn’t have to be the only option.

Below, I include predictions on some of the top workplace trends that business leaders will be focusing on as we head into 2022.

Internal mobility and talent transformation 

There’s a commonly held assumption that if you want to make a career change, you have to quit your job and go someplace else. But this isn’t the only option. In 2022, we expect more companies to embrace the motto: switch careers, not companies. And the way you’ll retain employees is by investing in their internal mobility and development internally.

As people are leaving jobs in record numbers, companies must look at new ways to provide employees with professional development opportunities so they consider staying longer within an organization. This includes fostering internal career transitions and skill-building to help retain employees who may be itching for a fresh start. At LinkedIn, we recently hosted our first-ever internal Career Month to start conversations on internal mobility within the organization, and companies like Uber are embracing this trend with a mobility program in place where 20% of the company’s recruiters focus solely on internal recruitment.

At LinkedIn, we found that after hosting our Career Month program, 94% of participants felt more equipped to pursue their career aspirations internally. This insight strengthened our hypothesis that employees will stay if they see investment in their careers and a path to progression where they are.

Replace hustle culture with employee well-being

Burnout has reached historic levels in the past year. The days of hustle culture being glamorized are long behind us as employees are now looking to embrace flexibility and work-life balance. According to LinkedIn’s external Glint survey from September 2021, we saw a simultaneous dip in employee happiness and a spike in burnout as a warning signal. Very few people want to return to the pre-pandemic work-life schedule.

This year, we’ve seen companies implement no meeting days, offer subscriptions to online therapy and meditation apps and provide time-off for the entire organization to help combat fatigue. As we head into 2022 mental health will remain a top priority for companies as focus shifts from short-term solutions to transforming organizational culture to meet the needs of employees. We know that employees who feel cared for at work are more than 3 times likely to be happy at work and this likelihood has increased by 35% since the onset of the pandemic.

In order to create long-term, cultural shifts within organizations, full leadership support is necessary. To create impact, managers must also be supported with training on how to talk about mental health in the workplace, educate employees on resources, and build habits to encourage a culture of happiness and well-being.   

Prioritize equity

It’s becoming more clear that income alone does not necessarily equal wealth. Historically, inequality has created vast racial wealth gaps in America that have been further strained by the pandemic, where Latino and Black professionals have experienced economic hardship at a rate between two and three times greater than white professionals. And we know Latinx and Black Americans have been hit hardest by the pandemic with 80% of U.S. adults experiencing at least one serious economic, psychological, or health hardship between April 2020 and March 2021. Among them, 48% experienced financial insecurity, 29% faced food insecurity, and 18% missed a housing payment.

In 2022, we predict that more companies will put a focus on building financial equity within their organization through programs such as culturally-inclusive financial literacy programs or student loan repayment plans. At LinkedIn, we’re looking closely at how our workforce, especially those from underrepresented groups, are using benefits like 401k and student loan reimbursement to determine where we can create tools and resources to better provide equitable participation.

Upgrade the hybrid workplace

The great hybrid experiment is here, and we know that the traditional office culture has changed forever. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, we know that those who prioritize flexibility and adaptability will stand out as leaders in this new world of work.

Companies like Okta are leveraging technology to understand how employees are using office space, and we’ll continue to see companies adapt office layouts to meet the needs of the new hybrid workforce. At LinkedIn, we’re building a reimagined workplace with innovative technology and features that support a hybrid workplace model and our commitments to sustainability and employee well-being. We also anticipate the “in-person, off-site” will be on the rise, with employers being more intentional about creating unique experiences that allow people to feel connected, valued, and excited about connecting in person.

We are just getting started in this new world of work, and as a leader in the future of work, we head into the new year excited to embrace these new challenges as opportunities to create a more inclusive workplace for the future.

Teuila Hanson is the chief people officer at LinkedIn.