Human Resources, People’s Officers, Talent Acquisition and Recruiters have always had a multi-faceted role, that considering current challenges, is growing ever more complex. In recruitment, HR is the spearhead for maintaining a strong rapport with employees and potential candidates. It is tasked with identifying their desires and concerns and adapt to satisfy these needs.

The Impact of the Pandemic

It’s impossible to talk about the challenges that HR specialists face in 2022 without talking about COVID-19. Of course the workplace was undergoing rapid and extensive change even before the pandemic. However, the impact of COVID has been a catalyst for debate throughout society about what the ‘new normal’ will be, and it is no surprise that the working environment is subject to these conversations.

‘The Great Resignation’

One trend that exemplifies this rapid change in a very palpable way is ‘The Great Resignation’ – first identified in the USA and now picking up pace in Europe. A 2021 Microsoft study claims that over 40 percent of the global workforce considered leaving their employer this year.

It’s estimated that twenty percent of millennials in western Europe actually did quit their jobs, citing a desire for an improved salary but also mental health and preservation of the work/life balance as leading factors.

Managing Culture Change

Adapting the workplace to address these issues is paramount. Over 350 HR leaders, speaking to McKinsey in 2021, said that over the next two years they wanted to ‘prioritize initiatives that strengthen their organisation’s ability to drive change in leadership, culture, and employee experience.’ An obvious example of adaptation are the hybrid and remote models of working that companies have implemented globally. A culture change towards hybrid work implies adjustments towards training, employee benefits, leadership styles and communication – with the payoff being increased employee satisfaction and productivity, when implemented well. The responsibility of HR rests with ensuring that such changes are managed carefully to avoid burnout, and culture change must be driven from the top to stand a greater chance of success.

Prioritising Diversity and Inclusion

A similar survey by Gartner found that HR leaders will prioritise diversity and inclusion in 2022.

This is a shared goal of organisations across all industries in creating more inclusive work environments, following a robust ethical and business case to do so. However, for some HR departments this will be an uphill battle. A Workday survey found that over a third of EU companies don’t have a long-term strategy in place for improvement in D&I.

Tackling (Managing) the Skills Gap

The same Gartner survey found that the leading priority for HR leaders to address this year is the development of critical skills and competencies. In response to trends such as the talent crunch, closing the skills gap must be a significant priority for companies in 2022. However, while talent retention is obviously a desirable outcome for companies, it is clear that recruitment must also work intelligently to fill talent gaps where they appear. A company that puts their faith in a specialist agency to handle the responsibility of talent acquisition can focus on the other specific priorities.

Final Thoughts

Looking at the wider picture, it seems that the ability to be agile and adaptive to change is the overall priority for companies in 2022. In the wake of the pandemic, industries are now learning to succeed in a world that is living with Covid, but want to become increasingly adaptable to ride the wave of future challenges. HR will lead from the front in many aspects of this evolution.


Continental Search Alliance recruits for mid-level to C-suite executive positions from scalable startups to the world’s largest tech firms, combining tech and digital expertise with extensive reach across EMEA and APAC. 


Written by Tom Boughen for CSA.