The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is pleased to announce its ninth annual Top 10 Work Trends list. According to member surveys, these are the issues expected to have the most impact on work in 2022.
The topics on SIOP’s 2022 Top 10 list are multifaceted and complex—some have been on prior years’ lists. Others are more focused trends resulting from the distress of a global pandemic and critical social issues that came to the forefront in 2020 but still linger on.
Scan the list below for a summary introduction to each trend.
Trend #10: Enabling Organizational Culture in a Changing Workplace Environment
Trend Champion: Heidi Glickman, Ph.D.
While workers are working in-person, remote, hybrid, and internationally away from the office space, companies may struggle to maintain their unique organizational identity and ‘feeling’ or sense of the organization as a whole. How will organizations communicate and maintain their culture with everyone working in different places at different times? How does a company still pass on how it feels to work there, or a sense of belonging when there are no informal "water cooler chats"?
Compared to the top 10 Work Trends 2021, the focus on organizational culture and the tension or even paradox with the changing nature of work became much more applied and contemporary; ‘how to deal with this today?’ instead of strategic and future-focused.
I-O psychologists can help organizations build stronger relations with their workers in this new environment by identifying ways to reinforce organizational culture and commitment through involving both internal practitioners and their employees in activities and practices which bring them closer together while being apart or distant.
Read the Latest Trend Update
Trend #9: Employer’s Role in Employees’ Mental Health
Trend Champion: Keaton Fletcher, Ph.D.
Employees’ mental health has been an issue for a long time and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Organizations play a crucial role in safeguarding employees’ mental health. What can/will organizations do about the employee mental health crisis, if anything at all?
Compared to the top 10 Work Trends 2021, the theme of employee well-being remains crucial but became more nuanced like this trend for 2022. This mental health trend for 2022 is much more focused on employer responsibility toward employees' overall mental health, i.e., asking about it, talking about it, providing resources for it, etc. This way, it integrates or incorporates CSR, fairness, and social justice.
I-O psychologists can help organizations by identifying and pointing out opportunities for employers to optimize employees’ mental health and the importance thereof. In collaborations with internal stakeholders, I-Os can provide specific advice on employee mental health programs and interventions while keeping this high on the organization’s agenda. Also, together with policymakers, politicians, and government, I-Os can protect employees and safeguard their mental health by making the role of organizations explicit.
Trend #8: Creating Effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Interventions
Trend Champion: Sertrice Grice, MS
Things like implicit bias training and diversity workshops can be ineffective. Similarly, diffuse initiatives and activities may overshoot or miss the target of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). What kinds of interventions create real change and are feasible for organizations to implement?
Compared to the top 10 Work Trends 2021, this year’s trend, DEI focuses on generic practices as opposed to more specific and diffuse initiatives. Next to DEI interventions that need to be taken to address and minimize bias and increase diversity, associated overarching culture is also part of this year’s trends (#2).
I-O psychologists can test the effectiveness of DEI interventions and help organizations with the successful implementation of DEI interventions. This way I-Os ensure more inclusion in society.
Trend #7: Stress and Burnout
Trend Champion: Michele Gazica, Ph.D.
With high workloads and minimal time off, workers are stressed to the point that they can no longer properly fulfill their job roles and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Compared to the top 10 Work Trends 2021, this year’s employees’ well-being trend Stress and Burnout focuses on high-level functioning of employees which entangles different aspects, but is seen as a whole nowadays.
I-O psychologists help organizations understand the challenges employees face and help them update workforce practices that decrease stress and burnout and facilitate the adoption of healthy behaviors (e.g., introducing stress management tools), training, flexibility, and other key interventions.
Trend #6: The Great Resignation
Trend Champion: Ellen Peeters, Ph.D.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have quit their jobs at a record pace due to feeling unprotected, undervalued, and unfairly compensated by organizations. Although the pandemic hits worldwide, the effects on careers and employment may differ across the world. Do workers quit their jobs at an increased rate? Where? And why?
With regard to the top 10 Work Trends 2021, The Great Resignation was not part of the agenda as such, this seems to be a ‘new’ trend or movement. Potentially a movement out of ‘inferior’ jobs? Maybe this is caused or triggered by an increased awareness or skepticism of employees about working environment characteristics? Do employees safeguard their own boundaries and limitations better compared to pre-pandemic tolerance of stress and burnout? Or is it about prospects and careers? Do individuals experience an increased valence or their own ambitions? Or maybe individuals increasingly value an inclusive organization and leave less responsible employers?
I-O psychologists uncover dynamics that drive individuals in making employment decisions. This enables organizations to focus on retention, but also to tie different mechanisms and effects into each other and act upon potential risks, boundaries, and triggers.
Trend #5: Caring for Employee Well-being
Trend Champion: Maryana Arvan, Ph.D.
This trend on employee well-being highlights what workers are facing and ways organizations can identify the right resources to supply their teams. With psychological safety becoming more important, how can organizations better understand what that means and incorporate it into their culture and environment, ensuring companies are doing their part to support employees? How can employers safeguard employees’ well-being? Or how can they optimally care for them?
Previously, employee well-being has been playing an important role in Top Work Trends. However, this trend focuses explicitly on the role of the employer in taking care of employees’ well-being.
I-O psychologists can help the employer with the development and organization of tools or resources and actions focused on employees’ well-being by which they help the employer care for employees’ well-being.
Trend #4: Talent attraction and retention in a candidate-driven market
Trend Champion: Tony Cooley
As the fight for talent becomes more and more difficult, how can organizations re-think their selection processes, onboarding, long-term employee development to ensure the right people are brought in and are fulfilled in their role. What factors are driving candidates to leave their employees and what is attracting them the most to new organizations?
In 2021, there was a trend focusing on inclusive practices that appeared to be essential for potential employees. This year, the ‘inclusive’ approach is widened, in the sense that it is not only about inclusion in itself but about individual matches between the values of employees and potential employers.
Attracting Talent is one of the tasks I-O Psychology is best suited for. I-O psychologists can uncover contemporary reasons that attract talent; identify values that are the most important at the moment in attracting and retaining talent; and develop responses, activities, or practices of employees in the retention of these employees.
Trend #3: Managing the transition into post-pandemic work
Trend Champion: William Luse, Ph.D.
Remote, in-office, or hybrid, many organizations are still figuring out what will serve their workforce and customers/clients best. As companies contemplate their options, what data should they be looking for to determine their best option? What talent-related practices and structures would need to be updated if a company switched to a new way of working? What have we learned from past experiences?
This trend also appeared in last year’s top 10. However, we gained a lot of information, and experiences increasingly widened the scope. While previously, organizations were getting acquainted with different ways of working and remote work, many employees have experienced how it feels to be working from home and may have sought ways to cope with challenges, of which they were not yet aware of.
I-O psychologists help organizations in applying evidence-based practices, but may also challenge organizations to think outside of the box. They facilitate implementations and effectively communicate options and opportunities. I-O Psychology can empower companies to critically evaluate what their goal truly is, and which practices truly help to achieve them.
Trend #2: Ensuring Inclusive Environments and Cultures
Trend Champion: Ludmila N. Praslova, Ph.D.
It is important organizations understand viewpoints from all employees, not just those who are in the majority. Executives need to play an active role in ensuring their programs, processes, and overall culture encourages diverse thoughts and ideas. DEI can no longer be a taskforce or team that rolls out training and events, DEI needs to be incorporated into the overall business strategy. How can employers ensure DEI environments and cultures? Does it require an explicit and delineated approach or has an implicit and wide approach better outcomes? What are the risks of losing track in safeguarding inclusive environments and cultures?
This DEI-related trend became more generic for 2022. While trends in 2021 focused on measuring ‘progress’ on DEI, this year appears to take diversity more for granted and omnipresent instead of using measures or statistics to check whether DEI targets are being met.
I-O psychologists equip organizations in monitoring risks of losing an inclusive environment and culture. They also help them in finding the right balance in making environmental characteristics and cultures explicit yet leaving room for individuals’ own free interpretation of diversity and variety. I-O psychologists are aware of the individual perspective and are able to look across groups, yet take individuality into account. This strength of I-Os is undeniably crucial nowadays.
Trend #1: Employee engagement and organizational commitment of remote workers
Trend Champion: Lewis Garrad
With the growing demands of employees having remote or hybrid working models, organizations need to know what evidence-based methods drive engagement and commitment of employees who are not in the office. How can organizations transform their cultures to be virtually accessible, so in-office and remote employees have the same experience? Can organizations differentiate themselves from other employers by adopting best practices with a conscious focus on engagement and commitment? Is there a risk of losing employees if no effort is put into the retention of employees? Do employees feel that their employer is coping well with remote work and distance between employees? And are employees still ‘in touch’ with their work, activities, and employer?
Compared to the top 10 Work Trends 2021, this year’s employee well-being trends became more nuanced and fine-grained or ‘advanced’. Whereas for 2021, respondents recognized that remote or flex work was going to be important, 2022 respondents have a better idea of what exactly about remote or flex work is important, which raises new questions and challenges.
I-O psychologists help develop ways to manage ties with employees and cope with these challenges.
Each year since 2014, SIOP has surveyed its members about the top issues they are seeing impact the workplace. These lists provide insights into trends shaping the workplaces of today and tomorrow.
The Top 10 Work Trends represent broad, complex issues of modern society posing difficult challenges to the business world. Industrial-organizational psychologists can help organizations grappling with these issues find solutions that are right for their organizations and their staff.
Watch for additional information and updates to this page provided by the volunteer Work Trend Champions over the course of the year.
Are you using your I-O psychology expertise to conduct research related to these Top 10 Work Trends? Or are you applying your scientific knowledge to help organizations address these Top 10 Work Trends? If so, reach out to our Visibility Media Subcommittee Chair Heidi Glickman to share.
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