It’s fair to say that 2021 has been a busy challenging one, whether you’re in HR or business generally. We have all continued to roll with the waves that hit us.
I’d like to share my experience of the past 12 months, and how I believe we can take things forward, and I do that from the perspective of having two hats. The first as an HR professional, and the second as a small business owner.
Learnings from 2021 as an HR professional
HR has become increasingly strategic. The headlines in the news are referencing 2021 as the year of resignations. So where do we start with this war of talent, when we are also faced with the other issues of rising salaries and costs?
The first job is to listen. We have had to talk to our people and listen, really listen, this year. The unprecedented circumstances have forced us to stop and take a breath and open our minds. It has created an opportunity to observe, engage and, as one client said, it’s a good excuse for a conversation. Doing this gave us the clues as to what we really needed to do to retain our good people. Once you know that, then you can get creative and strategic to decide what you have to do next.
Good data informs good decisions. As an HR professional, you need to influence those that will listen to what you have to say and persuade them that it’s not about what they want to hear. Data can help you with that, so you are able to do the right thing with the resources and funds available to you. HR has had to be creative and commercial to improve and live a positive company culture, and that will only continue. We have been supporting our clients to get more digital this year with their HR, and that is definitely something we will continue to do in 2022.
The areas of focus were and still are:
- Employee experiences. This means different things for different employees and employers, but most definitely touches on diversity & inclusion strategies and addressing issues that affect their health (physical, emotional, financial) and wellbeing at work.
- Reward and recognition. Obviously, we must balance what the business can afford to do against the expectations of our people. In some industries, salaries have risen exponentially, causing issues for employers who are having to recruit or retain in a highly competitive market and still ensure that other staff aren’t then disenfranchised by being left behind.
- ESG and CSR initiatives. As I reflect on what candidates and employees are telling us about their pension funds, ESG is high up on their list of ‘show me what you’re doing here’.
- Grow your own talent. Look wider and seek more diversity in order to find opportunities to recruit colleagues that don’t look just like us. Avoid unconscious bias, be innovative and recruit more interns, trainees, apprentices and bring them with you.
Trust, support and take care of your most sought-after talent. Invest in them and their careers.
Learnings from 2021 as a business owner
It has been a challenging and rewarding year. The inevitable knocks create an opportunity to think about things from a different angle. What did I do, and what can I learn from that?
I have mapped out how well we did during 2021; not just the numbers, but a look back at lots of things we achieved and why we achieved them. The synergies of that went well because we did that provide a great template for what we’ll look to do in 2022.
We tend to live our lives and business days focusing on the urgent things, rather than the truly important, and those we set out to achieve. My mantra for 2022 is to translate my vision into action. The vision includes the important things at home, not just work. I’ll set my sights on what does December 2022 look like? And then work backwards with a plan to achieve that.
That means staying focused day-to-day without losing sight of the big picture vision. Spend more time defining and working on the big proactive goals and less time on the trivia, the interruptions, and the unimportant. Of course, there will be problems we need to deal with and the general day-to-day tasks, but I will be proactively planning time every day/week for the important stuff.
I hope that 2021 has been a good year for you and your business. I’m looking forward to supporting HR Now’s clients, old and new in 2022, as we all build for success and happiness.
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