2021 – A Write Off or Something to Celebrate?
December, it’s typically a time for reflection, but in reality, most of us are still up against deadlines and trying to get everything done by the end of the year so we can enjoy some downtime.
While you’re reading this blog, take a moment to check in with yourself. How has this year been for you, both personally and professionally? January might seem like a long time ago. We were back in almost full lockdown then. Fast forward to the summer, and things felt more positive.
Life began to return to some kind of normal with workers heading back into offices and after-work drinks creeping back in the calendar. Although, Thursday definitely feels like the new Friday as people embrace a hybrid working model of part office, part home-based.
How was 2021 for you?
Never has there been more of a time for the haves and the have nots. And some of this is purely down to luck as to which sector you work in. For many businesses, particularly SMEs, 2021 has been no better than 2020. The travel and hospitality sectors are amongst the hardest hit by both the pandemic and Brexit.
On the flip side, some organisations have thrived this year. The housing market has been buoyant, helped along by the Stamp Duty holiday and recruiters in sectors like healthcare have been busier than ever in a bid to keep up with demand.
What has been your take on the year? Are you in the mindset of ‘I’ve written this year off, and I can’t wait for it to finish so I can start afresh in 2022’? Or are you more ‘It’s been an interesting one, and as a result, I’ve made instrumental changes necessary for the years ahead.’
Whichever side of the fence you come down on, it’s fair to say most of us thought 2021 would be easier than the 12 months before. However, with fresh, unexpected challenges within the recruitment sector, we couldn’t have been more wrong.
What have we learnt in the last 12 months?
There have been some consistent challenges that have affected recruitment across the whole year. What are they, and what have we learnt from them?
- Candidate shortages – there have been widespread and heavily reported candidate shortages over the last year. Overseas candidates are not coming into the UK, so the talent pool is significantly shallower. Plus, candidates who are employed are increasingly risk-averse and not looking to move jobs.
- Record numbers of job adverts – leading on from the above candidate shortages, these have lead to record numbers of job adverts being posted. Even as we write this article, each week seems to be a new record high of ads being listed
- Unexpected changes – the last two years have taught us to expect the unexpected, and that’s still the case even in late 2021. As new virus variants come into existence and travel guidance changes almost daily, it’s fair to say we are by no means out of the woods yet
- Flexibility is still the name of the game – the above takes us nicely into the fact that flexibility is still very much the name of the game. Flexible working, video interviewing, the ability to change plans last minute is still crucial to adapt to both changing workforce demands and enforced guidelines
- Severe skill shortages – throughout this year and across many sectors, some severe skills shortages are having ripple effects that impact us all. From HGV drivers and logistics professionals to warehousing and supply chain staff. The impact of this was felt most acutely during the fuel panic buying saga in the Autumn. Whilst we haven’t seen the likes of these issues since there are still issues with skills shortages.
- Increase in wellbeing – the narrative around mental health and wellbeing is changing for the better. We are more aware of it and how the last year or so has impacted our mental health. For many, working remotely or being furloughed has contributed to feelings of isolation, whilst redundancies have had an even greater impact. We’re seeing more companies introduce mental health first aiders and training around mental wellbeing. Hopefully, prioritising mental health is a trend set to continue in 2022.
What does this mean for 2022?
As we look ahead to next year, is it a case of what will be will be for 2022, and we must simply get on with it or are there measures you can put in place to ensure your longevity?
One thing that hasn’t changed is that your employees and clients are still the most important aspect of your business. People will remember all too clearly how you treated them throughout 2020 and 2021. Keep prioritising your stakeholders and personalising their experience. Look after the people you have before you think about adding more to the equation (remember the analogy that you can’t fill a leaking bucket, plug the holes first!)
Whatever your outlook, from the team at Remus Rewards, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2022 and beyond.