We’re so close to emerging from the worst of the pandemic, and executives around the globe are looking forward to what they believe will be a relatively easy year in contrast with the two awful years we are wrapping up. However, don’t get so excited about 2022 that you fail to prepare for an onslaught of emerging employee experience (EX) challenges.
Sure, executives have been comfortable talking about EX for a few years now. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US has mandated that quarterly and annual reports include details of how a company plans to approach human capital.
But none of this rising focus has prepared them for the commensurate rise of employee power. The very turbulence that your employees just survived has now placed them in a different state of mind. They want different things, they expect improved resources to enable their success at work, and they may even want different outcomes for their careers. And, looking around, they see evidence suggesting that they can ask for and receive the reasonable things that they want.
That’s the backdrop in which our future of work team compiled our annual EX Predictions report. In it, we predict things large and small for 2022, from the bold claim that 100% of companies will fail at adjusting compensation during the post-pandemic surge to the smaller but meaningful prediction that employee recognition programs will get a boost from 1% of total compensation to as much as 2%. The predictions all arise from the same tension: Companies have a lot of decisions to make — about where people can work, what tools they should have available for work, and how managers can shift to becoming more like coaches than supervisors. Today, just 48% of large organizations in the US have a dedicated program for EX. That number will rise to 65% as more executives watching their monthly quit rates go as high as 2% will suddenly become EX advocates of the highest order.
EX budgets will go up, yes, but so will investments in automation and robotics designed to complement the human workforce — so much so that we predict a large company will even announce that it’s capping its human workforce at its current levels and instead aiming to expand its capacity through automation and robotics. Such a bold move, rather than signaling the dehumanization of the workforce, will represent a commitment to those who already work there, giving them enhanced roles as automation confers upon them the equivalent of work-ready superpowers.
All of these things will happen and need to happen quickly, yet companies have very few data points on which to decide exactly how to make these significant shifts. That’s why many decisions they make will be wrong, at least at first. The smart companies are those that can listen to employees and respond dynamically from both a tools and a policy perspective to retain talent, augment human capital, and even attract some of those highly motivated, purpose-seeking employees who are newly available.
What mistakes will your organization make? More importantly, how quickly will you listen and respond to emerge from 2022 a more future fit organization? Stick with us throughout the year as we chronicle how companies and workers are managing the challenges ahead. Download Forrester’s complimentary guide to the year ahead, and, if you’re a client, read our full employee experience Predictions report.