The top HR trends for 2022

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Devin Miller
April 20, 2022

Moving into 2022, the biggest HR trends will be around voluntary and financial benefits offerings, flexibility options, and employee well-being

Key takeaways

Top HR trends for 2022:

  • Putting workers first
  • Flexibility options
  • Incorporating AI
  • Voluntary benefits
  • Additional financial benefits

Recently, there have been major shifts in what employees and employers are prioritizing. In addition to a continuance of remote work and lingering financial impacts for Americans, ongoing trends like digital transformation and automation have caused big changes for HR and beyond. Companies are changing the way they approach benefits and HR workflows in order to accommodate the need for greater productivity and to stay desirable in a competitive hiring market.

So, what’s trending in 2022? It’s important to follow the latest changes so you can offer your clients the most competitive benefits packages. Here’s a look at the top HR trends for the year.

Putting workers first

Today’s employers are looking beyond their own bottom lines and prioritizing employees more than ever. That goes beyond increasing salaries also. Employers are starting to look out for employees holistically since a report found that full-time workers believe that well-being benefits are a key criterion when job searching. 

New benefits packages are therefore reflecting trends like the focus on employee well-being. Packages are coming with better health insurance offerings, more robust paid leave structures, and additional work-life balance considerations. 

Employees need to be seen as holistic beings, not just workers. Benefits offerings should consider wellness from a career, emotional, and financial perspective. This also means that an employee’s family should be included in wellness offerings. For example, benefits packages may now include education incentives for workers’ children or spouses, or better paid family leave.

One thing is certain as we move deeper into 2022 – workers need to be put first when employers are creating their benefits approaches. So, keeping this trend in mind will help you deliver the right services that people really want. 

Flexibility options

Since early 2020, the pandemic has caused a giant shift to remote work. Because employees have now experienced the benefits of working from home, they want work flexibility options to continue. A Gallup report found that 91% of U.S. workers who shifted at least some of their hours to a remote location hope to continue working from home moving forward. 

Aside from remote work, people also want more flexibility in general. Continuing uncertainty for parents about whether kids will remain learning in-person at school means they require more understanding from their employer regarding working hours and time off. They may want to shift to a non-traditional schedule, for example.

Another flexibility trend is a hybrid work model, where workers are in person some of the time and remote some of the time. This setup gives people the benefit of home work flexibility while still allowing them to socialize in the office and get out of the house. Accenture’s Future of Work Study 2021 found that 83% of employees say a hybrid work model would be ideal.

Incorporating AI

Another big trend to pay attention to this year is artificial intelligence (AI) in HR. Data is driving most companies these days and AI techniques make it easier to improve processes across the board, including hiring and recruiting. HR professionals can now depend on automation and advanced AI to screen candidates and even onboard them.

AI is now working in conjunction with trends like remote work since productivity remains a top priority for companies whose workers may be working from home. HR tasks and workflows can be streamlined by improving tedious tasks like data entry, and workers can then focus more on supporting employees and other key business priorities.

Voluntary benefits

SHRM found that the COVID-19 pandemic caused more companies to offer voluntary benefits to their employees. These are additional benefits that allow people to create a more robust, customized benefits package. Voluntary benefits, also known as supplemental insurance, include hospital indemnity, critical illness, and accident, life, and disability insurance, among others. Employees can opt to buy these benefits outside of traditional benefits packages from employers. 

Because workers are focused on flexibility more than ever, these benefits will likely continue to be popular in 2022. However, employees and employers may not fully understand the benefits of these programs without proper and ongoing communication from companies and even professionals like benefits brokers. For employers, voluntary benefits offerings can be provided at little or no cost to them, since employees often take on the additional cost for greater protection.

Additional financial benefits

The pandemic created all new financial problems for employees, causing shifts in their priorities. Around half of working Americans said that the economic impacts of COVID-19 made it more challenging for them to reach their financial goals, according to data from Pew Research Center. Among the people who say their situation has gotten worse, 44% believe it will take them at least three years to get back to where they were in 2020, and one in ten don’t think they can ever fully recover.

Because of this renewed turmoil and anxiety, employers are now especially focused on offering additional financial benefits to employees who may be struggling. Aside from traditional insurance packages and retirement planning support, additional common financial support offerings may include:

  • Tuition assistance or reimbursement
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Student loan debt support
  • Bonuses and raises
  • More paid time off
  • Emergency savings accounts (ESAs)  

Taking financial support benefits beyond a 401(k) and insurance shows employees that the company cares about their economic well-being and wants to support them. Thus, many employers are considering offering these extra benefits. 

Emergency savings support is particularly important in 2022. Over half of Americans (54%) say that not having enough money saved is one of the top five contributors to financial stress right now, and 40% say they couldn’t deal with an unexpected expense of $400. Thus, focusing on emergency savings can help workers get back on track.

The benefits of SecureSave’s ESA

At SecureSave, we are helping employees build and maintain an ESA to support them during unexpected financial hardships. Employers can offer our simple ESA and even match employee contributions. Our partners, including brokers, can stand out in 2022 by offering this popular benefit as part of a robust benefits package. 

Contact SecureSave to join our partner program and start referring companies.

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