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Top Priorities for 2022

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Although it’s impossible to predict the future, research indicates key priorities for employers that could have a major impact on their performance and profitability in the new year.

According to a recent survey by Gartner Inc., nearly 60 percent of HR leaders reported that building critical skills and competencies is their No. 1 priority in 2022. The survey of more than 550 HR leaders found the other top HR priorities for 2022 are: organizational design and change management (48 percent), current and future leadership bench (45 percent), the future of work (42 percent) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) (35 percent).

Among 339 HR leaders responding to the survey, 47 percent reported not knowing what skills gaps their current employees have, while 40 percent said they can’t develop skill development solutions fast enough to meet evolving skill needs.

Fifty-four percent of the 274 HR leaders surveyed reported that their employees are suffering from change fatigue. In fact, research indicates small day-to-day changes — different teammates, a new manager, small process or system shifts — are much more prevalent and 2.5 times more fatiguing to employees than big transformational changes. Managers who lead with empathy develop high levels of trust with their employees, create a culture of transparency and acceptance within their teams, and prioritize people over processes.

Additionally, 49 percent of HR leaders said they do not have an explicit future of work strategy, while one-third reported that their future of work strategy focuses exclusively on hybrid and/or remote work. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on the future of work far beyond where employees are located.

Also worth noting, of the 200 HR leaders surveyed, 36 percent said they struggle to  hold  business  leaders  accountable for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) outcomes. Achieving desired DEI outcomes will require HR to adopt a new approach that meaningfully impacts behavior and outcomes for individual leaders.

In this month’s Business Magazine, we’ll explore the many other trends that are impacting today’s workplace and the resources that are available to assist employers, including entrepreneurs. The Gannon University Small Business Development Center, for example, has been an invaluable resource to thousands of these start-ups in northwest Pennsylvania for 40 years.

We’ll also talk with Ken Louie, Ph.D., director of the Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE), on the economic outlook for 2022 and how it can help employers plan for what’s ahead. Plus, we’ll also address the recent COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate and have included a list of all the new and upcoming in-person and online training courses available at the MBA to assist your team and enable your organization to stay competitive.

To learn more about all the programs and resources available to MBA members, including our Economic Outlook IMPACT briefing — online and in person on December 9 — visit mbausa.org.