A Year in Review – 4 lessons we learned about the HR space in 2021

Date: January 19, 2022

As 2021 slips into the rearview mirror, our attention turns towards the challenges, goals and opportunities that the new year will present. 

But while we’re all excited to consign another COVID-ravaged year to the history books, we shouldn’t forget about the value of looking back and taking stock of the 12 months that have just passed. 

From hybrid working to the Great Resignation, HR professionals have demonstrated once again how vital their expertise is as we work towards the new normal. Companies are scrambling to find ways to keep their employee engagement high as the new year begins and how they can implement a rewards and recognition program.

So what are some of the key lessons that we can take away from the HR space in 2021 and how will they impact our lives over the next 12 months? 

People power

rewards and recognition program

One of the biggest takeaways from 2021 came from the seismic shift in power in the workplace. Dubbed the Great Resignation, in the US alone more than 4.5 million people a month were quitting their jobs, leaving employers scrambling to fill almost twice as many open roles. 

But as HR professionals know all too well the Great Resignation is really a great re-evaluation. The pandemic and the subsequent restrictions it placed on our day-to-day existence has forced everyone to take a look at their lives, especially the way in which the world of work fitted into them. 

The lesson for employers is not only that they are going to have to work harder to attract and retain the best people, but that they need to completely rethink their relationship with their teams and how they will continue to keep employee engagement high. Free coffee and the occasional bonus simply won’t cut it anymore. Instead, modern professionals are looking for employers who offer flexible working, a rewards and recognition program and a genuine emphasis on wellbeing

And make no mistake, in a competitive market if employees can’t find this from you, they will look for it elsewhere.

Open, closed, or something in-between

rewards and recognition program

What does the future of work look like? That was the question on HR Professionals’ lips as COVID restrictions started to ease in 2021. 

Far from a return to “business-as-usual” the past year has represented a fork in the road for many organizations. Do they continue to let their people work remotely? Or, do they attempt to encourage their teams to return to the office full time? 

It’s a difficult decision, which is why hybrid working has surged in popularity over the past 12 months - with one survey noting that it is the model of choice for 83% of employees. 

The challenge for HR Professionals is how to adapt to this new way of working. From communication to morale, hybrid working offers a host of new challenges. Chief among which is ensuring that you continue to maintain high employee engagement whether they're working in the office or outside of it.

As we move into 2022 the lesson we can take away from the past 12 months is that finding ways to recognize and reward your teams, with the help of a rewards and recognition program is vital to building a successful hybrid workplace. 

Purpose is more important than ever

Rewards and recognition program

Whether you’re in the office, working from home or something that combines the two - one of the things we’ve learned from 2021 is that purpose is more important than ever. 

Today’s top talent don’t just want a corner office and a hefty salary, they want to feel connected to their work and appreciated for the impact they have on their company. The challenge for organizations however, is how to ensure that teams feel connected even if they’re working apart. To achieve this, one of the most effective tools at HR professionals’ disposal is an effective employee rewards and recognition program

However, instead of outdated “Employee of the Month” awards, one of the biggest trends we’ll see in 2022 is companies customizing their employee recognition to match their culture. The key is to create an environment where your people can see the value of their work, where they can recognize the impact that their efforts have on their colleagues alongside the company as a whole. 

This kind of employee recognition results in higher levels of motivation, employee engagement and productivity, lower staff turnover, and an increased ability to retain and attract top talent. Put simpy, it’s a win win.

Digital rewards and recognition 

Rewards and recognition program

As we’ve adapted to remote working, digital has become an even more important part of our everyday lives. Used for everything from meetings to collaboration, one of the areas where digital-first tech has really taken off in the past 12 months is employee rewards and recognition. 

Efficient, highly customizable and specifically designed for the modern fast-paced world of work - digital employee rewards and recognition platforms like BucketList are set to become even more commonplace in 2022 as businesses look to bring their employee recognition into the 21st Century. 

Facing the challenges of hybrid working and people power, digital rewards and recognition offer the perfect tool for HR professionals that are looking to create engaged workplaces that stand out from the crowd. 

To find out more visit our product page. Alternatively, you can contact us for a free demo to find out how Bucketlist’s employee reward and recognition software can help you keep your workers happy and engaged.

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