Last week Joydeep Hor, Founder and Managing Principal of People + Culture Strategies ("PCS"), hosted a webinar - "2022: Here We Go Again!". Joydeep shared his insights about the key issues and challenges organisations are likely to face throughout 2022.

The vibe of 2022

Before looking ahead to 2022, Joydeep first reflected on the current 'vibe'. After almost two years of organisations adapting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic there remains a high level of uncertainty amongst business leaders. In 2021 Australia's push to roll out vaccinations was seen as a 'silver bullet' solution against the spread of COVID-19. However, with the arrival of the Omicron variant the uncertainty around COVID-19 has persisted, public confidence in vaccinations has waned and questions remain about how organisations will deal with the next phase of the pandemic.

Where to now for vaccinations?

Vaccinations have played a significant role in Australia's fight against COVID-19 and many workplaces have introduced vaccine mandates. However, as the attitude toward COVID-19 shifts towards a "live with COVID" approach, Joydeep reflected on the question "where to now for vaccinations?". Joydeep reminded organisations that they must consider their position in relation to vaccinations in accordance with their Work, Health and Safety obligations, Government and health advice.

Joydeep also spoke about the issues associated with employers stepping away from vaccine mandates and the importance of adopting a consistent approach to ensure fairness within an organisation. Employees who did the "hard work" in 2021 to get vaccinated may feel they have been unfairly treated if vaccine requirements are no longer enforced.

Working from where?

Working from home ("WFH") has been one of the unique staples of the past two years in the employment space. WFH was forced upon employers and employees and while many employees have grown comfortable with WFH arrangements, employers ultimately decide from where an employee must perform their duties. In considering the question "working from where?", organisations now have the opportunity to consider what works best for them and their employees. Joydeep encouraged organisations to reflect on the benchmarks that their organisations hope to live up to, the values they hope to instil and the best working arrangements to achieve those objectives.

Employee sentiment and the "great resignation"

The changes to the workplace brought on by COVID-19 have had a noticeable impact on employee sentiment. Joydeep commented that it should not be a surprise that social isolation, along with the blurring between work and home life, has left employees feeling jaded, exhausted and fatigued. Resulting from this, organisations may see high levels of employee grievance raising and leadership impatience throughout 2022. However, Joydeep warned organisations not to over burden themselves worrying about staff retention to the detriment of their organisational values and goals.

Organisational change

It is not just employees that are going through periods of change coming out of 2021 and into 2022. Many organisations have deferred the introduction of organisational change within their business to provide stability in instable times. Joydeep commented that for organisations embarking on organisational change in 2022 it was important for the change to be viewed positively as organisational change can allow for many positive opportunities such as re-engagement between employers and employees.

How PCS can help

PCS offers a wide range of services to organisations to ensure they are equipped to deal with the issues faced over the coming weeks and months. Such services include strategic HR consulting packages, culture audits, organisational structure reviews and advice on all workplace issues including vaccinations and WFH/return to work.