An Overview of HR Trends in 2021, and What to Expect for 2022 in Malaysia

Blog
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November 26, 2021
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By
Nicholas K

2021 has certainly been a time of near-unprecedented challenges for employers and HR professionals — not just in Malaysia, but all around the globe. In fact, 2021 has arguably changed the way we work forever, and how HR professionals will look at the workplace and talent management in the future. 

Most notable trends in HR during 2021, of course, have been related to the pandemic, and its effects on the workforce and economy. These include: 

  • A shift towards remote and hybrid work models, with a reported 65% of workers preferring to work from home post-pandemic.
  • The adoption of digitalisation initiatives
  • More priority on employee skill development   
  • A data-centric approach to HR

As of Q3 2021, the labour market situation in Malaysia has yet to fully recover to the healthy levels seen prior to the pandemic, although some improvement throughout the year has been noted. Meanwhile, employers and employees alike have had to adjust to unique remote work arrangements — a first, for many organisations. 

But there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel, with Malaysia now moving towards the endemic phase of COVID-19. Most states are now classified under Stage 4 of the National Recovery Plan, which means that workers are now returning to the physical workplace (subject to SOPs and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health).

What’s next for 2022?

You’re probably reading this in the midst of your company’s planning for 2022, and this time should also serve as a chance to reflect on how your organisation has adapted to the challenges 2021 has brought with it. As you ponder on these reflections, and strategise your HR approach for 2022, it’s important to think about what to expect for the year. 

With that in mind, let’s talk about a couple of emerging trends in HR for 2022 — and how that should affect your decision-making for the year, and beyond. 

1. People & Purpose work together

According to research in the U.S., workers who feel connected to their employers are 75 times more likely to feel engaged compared to those who feel a disconnect with management. This means that 2022 should be a year to build a sense of purpose for employees, with talent management continuing to be an essential pillar of HR for all successful businesses. 

Consequently, your 2022 plans should include a stated focus from employers on the people that drive the organisation — and a purpose that will unite them in their work. One way to do this is to implement people-centric initiatives to ensure that team-members stay connected, aligned, and engaged in a workplace culture that will empower your business to survive, and thrive in 2022. 

For an idea on the type of initiatives you can implement for your team, click here.

2. Mental Health — key to business growth

In Malaysia, mental health can sometimes be overlooked in the corporate space. However, 2021 has shown that a focus on employee’s mental health is hugely important — particularly with much of the workforce being forced to work remotely. This led to a certain degree of isolation and loneliness, as evidenced by multiple surveys, which ultimately had a negative effect on productivity and business growth. 

In 2022, it’s pivotal for HR professionals to place an emphasis on mental health, and initiatives and policies should centre around a culture of safety. This basically translates to a workplace where everyone (including managers, employees, and HR professionals themselves) will have the opportunity to speak and be heard, and to have a safe space to work in. 

Some initiatives that we’d suggest for your organisation includes a No-Meeting Week (or any other time frame that may be more suitable to your organisation), as well as a team of mental health first-aiders to act as a first point of contact for anyone that may be facing issues in this regard. Meanwhile, you can also look at policies to help with stress mitigation, such as flexible hours, or even mental health days for your employees. 

3. The rethinking of the traditional workplace

Even as we move towards the endemic phase of COVID-19 (and the reopening of the physical workplace), 2021 has taught us that a digital-first, agile approach is required for 2022. We’ve seen a rise in remote workplaces, and one of the key trends to expect in 2022 will be the hybrid work model

This combines the benefits of both remote and traditional work models, with many organisations now choosing to employ a dispersed workforce — spread across multiple regions/locations. This has also resulted in a redefinition of the concept of employee visibility, with a data-driven approach expected to be key to providing insights on your team’s performance — no matter where they are. 

This approach also requires a dynamic, trust-based system, with studies also showing that employees who have trust in their teammates and managers will also be likelier to feel connected to their organisation. If you’re keen to find out more about rethinking the 2022 workplace, be sure to fill out the form on this article for our free ebook on this specific topic. 

4. Digitalisation isn’t just for the pandemic

2021 has also seen a trend of digitalisation, with businesses around the globe going through a transition to digital tools such as VoIP phone systems, video conferencing tools, and cloud-based HR systems. But it’s important to understand that this digital revolution isn’t just a response to the pandemic, which has merely accelerated the inevitable requirement of a digitalised revamp. 

As such, 2022 will be an important year for organisations to continue to digitalise, and to ensure that their business stays agile and future-proof for the year, and beyond. A big part of that involves the use of the right digital tools — luckily for you, we’ve compiled the very best of these tools in another article, which you can read here.

And if you’re working in HR, the right HRMS will be key to ensuring that you plan your company’s HR strategies for 2022 in the best way possible — and for your organisation to succeed. 

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To hold it all together, you’ll need to digitalise your HR

It’s absolutely crucial to ensure that the 2022 transition — from the office, to the office, or to a hybrid model — is made as seamless as possible. This involves the use of various processes and tools, such as Digi’s super app, altHR.

Keeping track of everything can be challenging, particularly for employers and HR professionals in the SME sector — but it doesn’t have to be. The world is going increasingly digital these days, and this trend is set to continue in the years to come. HR professionals are often faced with daunting, often tedious tasks on a daily basis — tasks that have become even more difficult to handle in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. 

But help is available, if you know where to look. Let us streamline your HR processes by managing and automating day-to-day tasks, so you won’t have to worry about things like paperwork, privacy concerns, time-tracking, or onboarding challenges. Instead, focus on the crucial pillars of your business, and the happiness of your employees. 

Sign up for altHR, the all-in-one digital solution that covers everything from payroll and onboarding, to staff management and providing employees with information kits. You’ve done it the old way long enough.

Sign up for altHR

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Your submission has been received! One of our Customer Success Officer will be in touch with you shortly.
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Download our FREE Guide to the 2022 Workplace

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