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4 New Year Resolutions All Leaders Should Consider for 2022

The workplace is constantly shifting and changing, and so must your strategy — because what worked last year may not work in the next.

James Baldwin may have put it best when he said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Reflection helps us grow from our past and is an effective tool in helping us face what needs to be changed.

With that in mind, here are the top four reflections that I think should be resolutions of any leader next year:

1. Take action on DEI.

Following the death of George Floyd, many companies leaders jumped to action on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) — from pledges made to public statements.

However, that interest seems to have waned and there seems to be a desire to move on. DEI is never done and there needs to be a continuous effort. It’s just as important today as it was yesterday. Plus, according to the Generation Z Recruiting Study, Gen Z talent expects open communication on DEI — meaning it’s important to prospective talent as well as your employees, stakeholders and shareholders. The moral of the story, DEI matters and should remain a priority.

2. Listen to your staff.

Throughout 2021, we observed the Great Resignation as talent left one opportunity for another. Part of what drove that exodus was people seeking greater happiness as they yearned to derive greater purpose. I honestly believe that happiness and engagement will be the big trend we see in 2022 and employers who are more attuned to aligning purpose and happiness will win the day.

3. Re-imagine the employee experience.

Employee well-being and engagement are paramount and if the employee experience isn’t top of mind now, it better be in 2022. Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy a whopping $8.1 trillion.

When coupled with the impact of Covid, engagement grows more complicated because everyone is personally dealing with something difficult. It’s important to focus on employee well-being by acknowledging the enormity of our collective challenges. A lot of times, as people we don’t actively share our challenges, but as leaders, we have an opportunity to set the tone. Giving entrée to those experiences creates vulnerability by sharing and in the process it engenders greater psychological safety.

Leading by example, actively sharing, speaking up at company forums, acknowledging the toll Covid has had, less formality in meetings, and checking in on team members are all great ways to normalize connecting on a human level.

4. Re-visit your HR.

The pandemic has expanded and sped the evolution of the HR function. The role of HR has changed as a result. It’s not what it was a generation ago, let alone five years ago. HR leaders have to be all-encompassing in approach and it requires greater sophistication to deal with the complexities brought about by the pandemic. 

Many companies embraced a hybrid model of working with a mix of people in office and remote. With a distributed workforce, companies really need to think about each aspect, from onboarding to retention. This way of working is a big change and requires a comprehensive, holistic view to ensure you are incorporating a total workforce strategy in response– by putting equity at the center of the employee experience.

HR must think about the entire employment life cycle of attracting, hiring, onboarding, engaging, progression, and retaining staff equally from full-time employees to contractors. People teams are responsible for developing and/or refining the total workforce strategy so that it reflects marketplace realities as it relates to talent.

Some workplace solutions to explore? Form an alumni program to keep in contact with former employees and to remind them of what they left. Or, look at employee giving programs that allow staff to give their time to causes they care about, increasing workplace flexibility. Finally, revisit benefits to ensure they support this new workforce era.

Normal is not returning and change is our constant. Embrace change and stick to your resolutions.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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