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Paulo LoureiroVP de Saúde e Benefícios da MDS Brasil

What are the main concerns for HR leaders in 2022?

On March 11, 2022, the world had seen 2 years of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, in Brazil, while flexibility increases, a great deal of doubt remains as to the next steps to implement in our daily lives. Is the pandemic coming to a close after all? Are we going to need new vaccine boosters? What of companies, what will the return to the office look like — shall we have a hybrid system, a full in-person arrangement, or stick to work from home?  

2022 has brought positive expectations regarding change in corporate environments. However, Human Resources departments still face challenges when it comes implementing work arrangements that fit the current circumstances, as well as accommodating the many ways in which these arrangements will suit employees.  Due to social restrictions and the present juncture — where we have yet to decide whether the pandemic has gone endemic — there remain uncertainties and convoluted analyses come to the fore, alongside with discussions on ideal work models. In-person, work from home, some combination of the two? Personnel management professionals saw the need for increased agility and flexibility to handle all the situations arising from the pandemic, without any previous preparation or planning. 

Never have so many conversations around mental health in the corporate world taken place as in the past two years! The phenomenon gained prominence on account of the new work formats that took shape, where both companies and employees had to somehow adapt to new realities. Not by chance, new and curious positions appeared in some companies, such as the Happiness Manager, who is in charge of controlling the emotional climate of the enterprise environment. Many uncertainties remain. However that does not hinder us — in fact it even motivates us to pay more attention to our teams, defining strategic planning that can anticipate and most of all offer solutions to different scenarios that may arise.  

Faced with times of uncertainty, we’ve mapped out some trends that will stand out in 2022, as well as a few key points in the development of employees. Let's dive in. 


Human Resources, Technology and Health 

Trends now in motion in the Human Resources sector necessitate, more than ever, objectivity, accuracy, flexibility, and, at the same time, a humane posture toward each new challenge and need experienced by professionals. People and Benefits Management challenges companies to look for new tools and mind-sets that will help them keep their employees engaged and motivated. 

The Human Resources sector is in a constant state of evolution, and that happens so that companies and corporations can better align and maintain a more efficient & social work-flow and relationship. A more disruptive HR would reinforce such relationships, using technology as an ally in optimizing people management through data collection and analysis. The sector should use technology as a smart tool that provides data which will help professionals manage people in a more strategic, effective and humane manner, providing insights into more delicate and complex matters with full efficiency.  

Services and technologies around the pillars of health and benefits can bring fluency and streamlining to administrative processes. This kind of specialist support brings significant advances so that HR will play an even bigger part in business growth within organizations.  With the rise of work from home, a sizable portion of companies, regardless of their scale, took up Artificial Intelligence as a data automation tool. In Human Resources this practice brings a number of positive impacts, reminding us that everything we do relies on an effective combination of people, tasks, and applicability of technologies.  

Among the main benefits technology brings to HR, we can single out process automation and a reduction in paperwork, allowing professionals to focus on strategic issues and the ease of decision-making — insofar as people management is involved — and also on speeding up applicant selection and recruitment.   


Employee wellness and mental health   

It is true that behavioural change has undergone acceleration. Before we take on the burden of caring for others we must take care of ourselves. A more caring attitude toward health, family, finance, social life and spirituality could make a difference to everyone's mental health. Whoever takes care of their team also needs to find balance within themselves. 

Attention to employee health needs to go beyond the immediately apparent, especially on account of the pandemic and its psychological repercussions. In this light, emotional intelligence is a key component necessitating work on self-knowledge so that each one of us can perform better within a corporate environment. Another key point is honing spiritual intelligence, valuing it more and more as a positive indicator of health and productivity. This important theme connects with the individual's purpose in life. To facilitate such work, it is possible to align objectives between the parties and demonstrate the impacts on the lives of partners, customers, and stakeholders.  


Quality of life, humanization, employee experience 

When it comes to developing collective awareness as an improvement in interpersonal relationships among employees, it is correct to state that the greatest challenge to companies and society at large is accommodating people's "quality of life”. For example, how do we help professionals maintain their mental health regardless of the dynamics of a day in the workplace?  

At the current juncture, what draws the most attention is customizing benefits. How does that work in practice?  By tailoring attention to each member of the team. That kind of management motivates and engages, boosting productivity. In addition to pay, challenges and quality of life within the company, and outside it, are factors that shape an individual's life.  

The greatest challenge for Human Resources is, then, to go beyond average solutions and not standardize benefits. It should be a personal mission for every manager in the sector to develop a humane outlook on everybody's needs. Consider cases where a person already subscribes to a health plan or insurance and switches to a different kind of benefit, returning to a package that will substitute equivalent amounts in meal tickets, for example. That kind of flexibility helps build better working conditions. 

Employees’ experience is another key element in the development of any organisation’s culture. Mapping out the work day is an important tool in that experience, as it helps measure results and outcomes. A leader who knows how to motivate their employees pursues a work dynamic with more engagement, less micromanagement, more creative freedom and fewer uncertainties. That kind of leadership needs to generate more autonomy for the people you lead, requiring responsibility, commitment, guidance, innovation, sustainability, and, above all, recognition. 


"Dealing with the future at work involves leadership, trust and engagement!” 


By Paulo Loureiro, VP of Health and Benefits at MDS Brazil 
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