DE&I   //   December 21, 2021

Employers should focus on improving employees’ experiences in 2022, say experts

People are at odds with their employers on what makes a great employee experience — a disconnect that will need to be swiftly rectified in 2022 if businesses are to retain their talent, according to analysts and workplace experts.

We asked a range of execs what they predict will be the top priorities for business leaders in 2022, and alongside finessing what the right hybrid models are, fixing the employee experience emerged as another major theme.

“The Great Resignation is set to continue in 2022, with 60% of U.S. and U.K. employees we surveyed planning on leaving their jobs next year,” said John Goulding, CEO of Workvivo, an employee experience app that aims to keep employees informed and connected to the company’s culture through one centralized digital hub. “Leaders are not prepared for this and have been slow to make necessary changes to meet the demands of the new workplace.” 

Goulding added that research the company has undertaken has highlighted that people are leaving jobs because they don’t feel valued. “2022 will be the year that employers overhaul their employee experience as a matter of urgency,” he said. “A fundamental rethink of companies’ cultures and employee experience is required to address these issues,” he added.

Meanwhile, against the ongoing backdrop of the so-called Great Resignation, concerns about staff retention will drive a surge of investment in tools designed to improve the employee experience, according to Angela Ashenden, principal analyst of Workplace Transformation at CCS Insight. She believes these will range from employee-centric initiatives to technologies that nurture community and peer interaction and support continuous learning and development to help individuals take more control over their career progression without leaving the company.

“Employees are ready to change employer to ensure they work for a company that values them, respects a healthy work-life balance, and is willing to invest in their development and career,” she said.

Symbolic gestures won’t solve DEI issues

Daniel Chait, CEO and co-founder of recruitment platform Greenhouse, worries that a lack of value gained from adopting a more inclusive approach to diversity, equity and inclusion will, unfortunately, trigger a widespread reversion to old ways of working in 2022.

“Change in DE&I happens only two ways: slowly, or not at all,” he said. “Companies made big proclamations last year about DE&I in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and other events. In 2021 many of them are finding out that there is real work to be done, and symbolic gestures alone do not solve the problems. My prediction is that in 2022 some companies will tire of the effort and fall back, hoping not to get called out.” 

However, he believes the companies that really committed to programs of change in 2020, and saw them through in 2021, will start to see real benefits in 2022 and beyond. “Those companies can serve as an example to others of how progress is made,” he added.

In a similar vein, Octavia Goredema, author of “Prep, Push, Pivot: Essential Career Strategies for Underrepresented Women,” is certain women of color will advance their careers in 2022 “by knowing their worth and asking for what they need to advance.” 

Meanwhile, female entrepreneurs will receive better funding support, argues Michele Romanow, co-founder and president of Clearco, which claims to be the world’s largest e-commerce investor. “In 2022, the face of entrepreneurship has to change,” she said. “Because before the pandemic, 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups, and that figure dropped to 2.3% in 2020. Traditional funding has failed this generation of founders, particularly women and those from minority communities. There is incredible entrepreneurial talent out there that needs to be unlocked.”