As it becomes more apparent that a hybrid work environment is here to stay, companies need to prepare to be flexible in 2022, and business executives agree.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) Executive Views on Business in 2022 Pulse Survey published on Thursday, 43% of business leaders plan to keep hybrid work options for employees, and 30% plan on making remote work a permanent option. In addition, 77% of executives see hiring and retaining employees as the two most important factors to consider in 2022.
"As employers look to attract and retain critical talent, they're shifting their investment into their employees -- creating meaningful work opportunities, investing in learning and upskilling, and creating career advancement opportunities -- all while providing new flexible working options to meet employee personal needs," said Julia Lamm, PwC Workforce Transformation Principal, in a statement. "2022 will be an important year for employers to build trust between employers and employees, as they seek to stabilize their teams and position for growth."
The survey -- which included 678 C-suite executives -- also found that leaders plan to keep several initiatives to focus on this retainment and attracting talent. These include increasing career advancement and upskilling opportunities (36%), increasing compensation for employees (31%), and improving benefits for employees (30%).
Even though executives have a positive outlook on focusing on their employees, they are still concerned about the state of the current labor market. The survey shows that only 36% believe that voluntary turnover will return to pre-pandemic levels by year-end. In addition, only 31% believe that the talent shortages will ease.
Other recent reports echo PwC's findings that executives prioritize their talent in 2022. For example, a recent Fortune/Deloitte CEO survey showed that nearly half of participants say talent will be the biggest challenge they face this year. Similarly, PwC reports that almost half (48%) of executives see the ability to hire and retain talent as the biggest risk in reaching their organizations' goal growths.
But retaining talent is as simple as listening to employees' needs, and Lamm said that will be essential for businesses to do this year.
"Building trust between employers and employees means listening and responding to employee needs -- this is an incredibly unique time to take bold steps forward and implement new ways of working that are aligned to the expectations and needs of your people," Lamm told ZDNet.