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It's GOOD to Shift Mindsets: The Human Side of Work in 2022 -- Xaulanda Simmons-Emmanuel & Krystena Sterling

Wednesday, January 05, 2022 9:08 AM | Carol Emmett (Administrator)

It’s GOOD to Shift Mindsets: The Human Side of Work in 2022

As a society, we emerged from 2020 still in shock, pivoting our lives and work due the global pandemic. In 2021, we spent much of the year adapting to the “new normal” and what that means for the future. Needless to say, the last two years have been a whirlwind and we are just emerging out of the fog. As we seek to gain clarity of the future of work and emerging trends in 2022, it is evident that there is a culture change and shifting mindset that requires an intentionality regarding the human side of work and injecting more humanity.

As Co-Presidents, we wanted to understand the industry trends and how that will affect GOOD as an organization. As such, we scoured the Internet to see what percolated to the top of 2022 projections for organizations. Essentially, what we synthesized were three (3) key considerations that as organizations, leaders, and employees are worthy of further exploration as we embark on the new year:

1. Organizations are made up of humans...Let's humanize it!

In the past where employees were considered a means to (“get work done”) an end (“increase the bottom line), 2020 taught us that organizations can’t truly thrive without their employees and employees typically can’t thrive in organizations that don’t consider them as humans. Not assets or human capital…but human beings!

As such, the pressure is on organizations to re-design and re-engineer how they will not only get the work done, but also engage their employees in a way that creates inclusive, high performing work environments. These work environments will entail rethinking the organizational culture that explores the “art of possible,” embraces a changing workforce, redefines how technology is used to create an “ecosystem of physical and virtual workplaces – and the expectations around how to collaborate, engage, and relate to each other” (Delloitte, 2021, para. 6). Therefore, the human experience needs to be at the center of organizations move forward, while also adapting the places and spaces they will work (i.e., hybrid workplaces) and emerging technology that support daily collaboration and productivity while considering the future that artificial intelligence (AI) will play. Essentially, organizations must be intentional in assessing their strategies to bring both the physical and digital worlds together “creating “a new phygital workplace for their workforce to optimally enable them to do their best work in the best place in the best way.”

As a professional organization, GOOD continues to explore how to strike the right balance between the best way (virtual?) and best place (in person?) to do our best work (come together to learn, grow, and network). In our recent membership survey, 36% of respondents were very comfortable meeting in-person, while 36.07% were somewhat comfortable, 6.56% didn’t have strong feelings either way and ~20% were somewhat uncomfortable. While we yearn for that human connection, many members also commented that “I LOVE the virtual meetings”, found that they were flexible and convenient allowing many members to attend more often vs. having to commute or travel to meetings. As an organization, now more than ever, GOOD is entering a new phygital world. As leaders, we will continue to focus on the human needs of our membership to figure out the best way forward in 2022.

2. If we are going to lead…Let’s lead Intentionally.

A recent Forbes article, discussing the Top 4 Leadership Trends which highlighted the following areas of focus for 2022: 1. connecting to people, 2. focus on employee experience, 3. career pathways and succession planning, and 4. creating a culture of adaptability and accountability. This aligns with GOOD leadership’s focus, and we will continue to intentionally lead with these in mind. As practitioners, we are “dedicated to encouraging innovation, promoting excellence, and increasing awareness of OD in organizations,” we will be intentional in creating “a diverse and interactive community that provides continuous learning by sharing ideas, resources and best practices.” Creating an inclusive and meaningful member experience, that supports the career growth and future aspirations is our continued commitment to our members. Our flagship programming, the Bi-Monthly meetings are an all-time favorite of our members, with membership survey respondents ranking the following aspects as very value and valuable: speakers (93.45%), presentation topics (95.08%), sharing best practices (91.81%), networking with other OD professionals (85.25%) and interactive activities (78.69%).

“We encouraged leaders to take five key actions—reflect, recommit, reengage, rethink, and reboot—to begin planning and strengthening their position in the market.” On December 13, 2021, there was a Board Transition Meeting where the 2021 leadership did an official handoff to the incoming 2022 Board. In January 2022, we will host a Strategy Meeting to reflect, recommit, reengage, rethink and reboot for the coming year. We intend to lead intentionally by incorporating our members' feedback and recommendations.

3. "Hey organizations! I'm evaluating you, like you evaluate me."

According to the recent Korn Ferry report, Future of Work Trends 2022: The Era of Humanity, it states that there has been a fundamental shift in the minds of employees. “Power has shifted. From organizations to people. From profit to mutual prosperity. From “me” to “we” (p. 2). Employees are confident in their skills, worth, and value alignment which is a contributing factor to the Great Resignation. In a recent survey of 700 professionals, 30% indicated that they were considering leaving their jobs even though they did not have something lined up and 74% believed turnover will continue to be high in 2022. Therefore, employees are expecting leaders and organizations to be intentional in understanding their individual needs and desires, including but not limited to, flexible work schedules including remote work, enhanced benefits (i.e., sign-on bonuses, childcare & caregiver accommodations, educational reimbursement, medical care, etc.) and opportunities for career development to upskill or reskill to be marketable for the new ways of working.

We would argue that our members are also feeling this shift in their work, in their life and in their role with GOOD. The 2021 Membership Survey was GOOD’s evaluation and in the spirit of full transparency, members have access to the results.  While this is just the beginning, we want to continue to hear from you throughout 2022 and beyond. Please feel free to email Krystena and Xaulanda directly at president@goodnetwork.us. We’d love to hear from you!

"2022 is where it gets intentional."

In closing, while at times it may be uncomfortable, change is the only constant in life and work. “If 2020 and 2021 were years of unplanned reinvention, 2022 is where it gets intentional.” (Korn Ferry, 2021, p. 5). As a professional organization that values our GOOD members and community, we are excited about the emerging 2022 trends that are challenging us to focus more on the human side of work. It’s GOOD to shift mindsets.

Xaulanda Simmons-Emmanuel and Krystena Sterling, Co-Presidents


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