Experts Share DE&I, Training Forecasts for 2022

Global HR

​Peering into the swirling mists of the new year, HR leaders share their predictions for organizational and employee development; diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I); and well-being initiatives. Read ahead for a look into the great beyond of 2022. 

Leadership Development a Top Priority 

“While people remain persistent in seeking their next roles, in some cases they will need reskilling and development support as they step into them. Helping employees propel their careers forward gets to the heart of what job seekers are really looking for. In 2022, we’ll see more companies prioritize the career growth of their employees through development channels like career coaching and mentoring.

“Even in a hybrid work environment, leadership and personal development are becoming top priorities as job seekers refocus their energy on rebuilding their careers after a challenging two years.”

—Cameron Yarbrough, CEO at Torch, a learning and development platform based in San Francisco 

Employer-Driven Education  

“In order to fuel their talent pipelines with career-ready individuals, employers will need to shoulder some of the responsibility in training their workforce in the skills and competencies they need. We see employer-driven education manifested in two exciting ways—through what we are calling Hire-Train-Deploy (HTD) models and an increased focus on education as a benefit via employer-sponsored education programs.”   

HTD models involve working with an outside provider to train job candidates in the skills an organization requires

“Education benefits are not a new offering, but in 2022 and beyond we [also] will see employers deploying these offerings more strategically. Employers aren’t just offering tuition benefits to tick a box anymore. From an employer perspective, tuition benefits platforms can be a powerful tool not only for retention, but for workforce development.

“Employers will be upping their game with tuition assistance, they are being more prescriptive about which programs they offer, they are focused on skills-based education and they are taking a bigger role in influencing the price of education.” 

—Todd Zipper, president, Wiley Education Services, headquartered in Hoboken, N.J. 

Employee Career Growth

“Employers will look towards learning and development benefits to help support the career growth of loyal employees, investing back into their learning and growth journeys.

“[Also], there will be no excuse for bad management in 2022, as employers will push for better management training. Horror stories from front-line workers have spotlighted a major problem that has been dragging down retention rates: bad managers. Improving management behaviors and preparing employees to de-escalate conflicts with customers has become critical to not just improving customer experience, but also employee morale and retention.”

—Derek Belch, CEO and co-founder of Strivr, an immersive learning platform based in Palo Alto, Calif. 

A Clear DE&I Divide 

“There will be a clear divide between the companies prioritizing and those deprioritizing DE&I. Companies that will double down on their DE&I efforts and successfully leverage best practices to expand their talent pipeline will not only deliver on the public DE&I commitments they made in 2019 and 2020, but also attract and retain top talent.

“Companies that will prioritize growth and attrition challenges over DE&I initiatives will see even higher attrition as a result, fail to attract and hire top talent, and fall behind competitors.”

—Samantha Lawrence, senior vice president of people strategy at Hired, headquartered in San Francisco 

Job Seekers Want Diversity

“DE&I will take a front seat in 2022 and be a prime focus for job seekers as they look to join companies that are actively improving these efforts across all levels with active programs that further enhance these initiatives.”

—Sue Arthur, CEO, CareerBuilder, headquartered in Chicago 

Critical Role of Boards in DE&I

“C-suite executives are prioritizing DE&I because it has become part of their environmental, social and corporate strategy that is overseen by their board. In 2022, we’ll see boards play a critical role in providing education, oversight, monitoring and support for the organization’s DE&I strategy, and they’ll continue to request companies be more data-driven when it comes to DE&I. In the new year, we’ll see more diversification of boards as more regulations and reporting will be required for boards.”

—Mandy Price, co-founder and CEO of DE&I tech company Kanarys, headquartered in Dallas 

Heavier Reliance on DE&I Data

“DE&I in the workplace will continue to evolve and be a priority for businesses across the globe. There is a critical lens on DE&I in the workplace as successful businesses know that DE&I cuts across key workplace issues including—but not limited to—creating healthy workplace cultures, hybrid work models, workplace vaccine and masking policies, and leaves of absence policies. 

“In addition, organizations will rely more on data analytics to identify areas of opportunity in creating equity at work. 

“Finally, there will be a robust focus on allyship and providing opportunities for all employees to be a part of creating an [equitable] and inclusive workplace.”

Mishell Parreno Taylor, global employment and labor law shareholder at San Francisco-based Littler and a longtime member of its Diversity and Inclusion Council

Addressing DE&I Strategies  

“We’ll see organizations increasingly tap their [employee resource groups] for referrals and use organizational DE&I strategies to attract candidates. Additionally, we’ll see less rigid university recruiting timelines as more of the world shifts to online and asynchronous learning and work. This will provide more opportunities for recent graduates who may not follow the typical job search timeframe in the spring.

“And to reduce any barrier candidates may face due to bias, organizations will increasingly implement mandated DE&I training for all interviewers.

“Finally, once candidates are on board, we’ll see compensation, bonuses and reviews tied to employees’ actions when it comes to mitigating bias and advancing equity. While this change may surprise some employees, I believe that is the way this industry is trending.”

—Markita Jack, head of DE&I at Iterable, a marketing platform headquartered in San Francisco 

Women in Tech

“Women in tech in 2022 will likely see a year of an incremental increase (2 percent to 3 percent) of new tech hires, and with the exit of Baby Boomers from the workforce, coupled with the 1 in 4 people quitting their jobs during the Great Resignation, there will also be an incremental increase of women in tech in leadership positions.

“Another trend that we may see in 2022 is the idea of women in tech evolving to include women leveraging micro-technologies like Instagram, Meta, Twitter, Twitch, etc. to further their entrepreneurial endeavors with digital platforms.”

—Zeanique L. Barber, digital transformation strategy director at Frisco, Texas-based MTX Group and strategic advisor at Zenith Latitude, based in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Mental Health Prioritized 

“HR Research Institute’s
research on employee well-being shows that 64 percent of HR professionals agree that mental health is among HR’s top five priorities. It also found that problems related to work/life balance and heavy workloads are most likely to cause stress for employees. HR professionals will need to begin to view mental health holistically as part of overall wellness in 2022.

“HR has learned a lot during the pandemic, but it still is just starting to grapple with the long-term implications of issues such as ‘long COVID,’ extended social isolation, the stresses of working from home, etc.”

—HR Research Institute

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