Biggest HR Trends of December 2022
Everyone can agree that 2022 has been an incredibly eventful year for HR professionals everywhere, and its final month was no different. We discuss below some of the biggest HR topics of December that were trending online and on social media.
Industrial Strike Action
Many differing sectors across the UK went on strike across the country, including the long-running industrial strike action by rail workers since June 2022. Workers from other industries such as healthcare and the postal service have also conducted industrial action, which has prompted many reactions from across the nation.
One of the main catalysts for these strikes is the cost-of-living crisis, which is seeing many workers in the striking sectors suffer from loss of disposable income owing to lack of pay rises in line with inflation. HR can help staff manage these type of issues by making sure to effectively communicate any assistance or advice the company may have to try and alleviate these concerns.
Festive Parties and Bonuses
Many companies across the western world were throwing company parties or giving out bonuses to celebrate the festive season. However, it was revealed that for 2022, 32.5% of organisations did neither of these things. With the costs of running a business rising in line with the cost-of-living crisis, it is no wonder that many businesses and organisations cannot afford the money or time to organise such benefits, especially during the holidays. This is especially true for smaller businesses that have much less available funds to conduct such festivities.
Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits of ensuring employees feel rewarded and appreciated by the company. Employees that feel appreciated are often more loyal, strive to work harder for their company, and quite often remain with the company for a longer time. With the added heat of the festive period of company Christmas party and bonuses, it can be difficult to keep up with this trend.
So, the question remained: what could businesses do in lieu of the traditional party or Christmas bonus? Rewarding staff around the holidays does not need to consist of an expensive party or extensive bonuses. There are several alternative options that are more cost-effective for the business but still instil a sense of value for an employee. A simple thoughtful gift that does not break the bank is always welcome. A day in which they can leave early around the holidays can also inspire a lot of appreciation from staff, or just by ordering some snacks or lunch would go a long way. Additionally, some recognition and kind words about your staff and your honest appreciation of their hard work can also be more meaningful than a slapdash party or token bonus. In fact, 37% of employees say their greatest drive for doing great work is being recognised and valued by the company. This can be done either personally, via a company platform such as your people management system, conducting an internal business awards ceremony or by posting on the business’ social media.
Managing the Holidays
In the UK, the festive holiday period is undoubtedly one of the busiest times of year in terms of annual leave. Many employees want to take time off and spend the Christmas or other religious festival periods off with their families, which can quite often become a problem for HR.
For companies that always require a certain level of staffing, such as within the healthcare sector, staff requesting the same dates and times off work can cause issues. So how does HR decide which leave should be accepted, and which ones should not – and how should this be approached?
Luckily, most companies encourage their staff to book their holidays for the festive season in advance throughout the year, and therefore can operate on a first-come-first-served basis. Many HR professionals recommend ensuring that your employees are reminded throughout the year of their remaining holiday entitlement and any potential restrictions around the holiday period so that they have plenty of time to plan their leave. Using HR management software which includes a staff holiday management planner can help alleviate many of the issues surrounding leave around the festive season and allows employees to take control of managing their own holiday entitlement and requests.
But for those last-minute requests, or those made in tandem, it can be difficult to decide which leave to accept. One way to combat this situation could be to offer alternative arrangements to accommodate staff, such as reduced hours or flexible working over the holiday period. Management could also adopt a rotational approach to the festive season, with some employees guaranteed their time off this year, and the other employees the next.
Language in the media - and workplace
Jeremy Clarkson’s comments concerning Meghan Markle caused a storm in the wider professional community, but many within HR found it a way to address language in the workplace. The newspaper which published Clarkson’s article, The Sun on Friday, recorded over 17,500 complaints for the language used against Markle. Many readers equated the words with sexism and harassment, with popular comedian Josh Bishop commenting that his remarks were “blatant appeal to incite humiliation and violence on a woman.”
On the other hand, others believed that Clarkson’s comments were merely a joke and meant light-heartedly and should not be considered misogyny or bullying. Many also believed that his comments should be protected by the Freedom of expression article under the Human Rights Act 1998.
However, many HR professionals would consider that, if this type of behaviour had happened between two co-workers, that it would lead to disciplinary action or dismissal for gross misconduct in line with most company policies regarding harassment and bullying in the workplace, and potentially sexist behaviour.
Looking towards 2023
For many, a new year means a chance to refresh themselves or their business and strive for new goals or change up their current practices. The world of HR is no different, and many HR professionals and business owners look to 2023 and the challenges and opportunities it presents. One trending topic was the predictions of what HR trends in 2023 will look like, and the general conversation surrounding the future of HR in the new year.
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Written by Eleanor Holmes
Eleanor is a marketing executive at myhrtoolkit who writes on topics including HR technology and software, workplace culture, and marketing advice for HR consultants.