5 leadership issues you need to get ahead of in 2022

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, challenges are still ahead and companies need to come up with ways of doing business and marketing, as well as improving a better employee experience for staff. As part of its latest Leadership Trend Predictions for 2022, talent acquisition firm Grace Blue identified five marketing communications trends that will impact businesses in 2022. From more investment in budgets and resources, to creating a more inclusive workplace, here are some trends that management of businesses need to take note of.

1. Invest in budgets and resources

Although we are entering the third year of the pandemic, marketing practitioners need to keep on their toes and continue to seize the opportunity to grow their business. To achieve their marketing goals, the company advises marketers to convince and reassure their boards to invest budgets and resources in marketing. Global CEO of Grace Blue Ian Priest even said the investment is the key engine of growth and holds the vision to innovate and to build a better world.

When it comes to where to spend their money and resources, in one of our previous articles, online spending is expected to increase in 2021 and continue increasing in 2022. With new commerce offerings on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, both users and advertisers will benefit from the ability to sell directly through the platforms. Furthermore, it helps to condense the path to purchase while also improving the measurability of a sale.

2. Build a positive employment brand experience to attract talents

Businesses demonstrating a positive employment brand experience will have the ability to retain and attract strong talent, added Juliet Timms, founder of Grace Blue. An employer brand of choice will be able to paint the image of what it is like to work for an organisation with clear values, and initiatives putting employees first. “In 2022, businesses that demonstrate a positive employment brand experience will have the ability to retain and attract strong talent. This will also help to stop staff flocking to competitors and avoid the need to buy them back, potentially, at a premium price. The recruitment process will need even tighter handholding than usual to advise employers and coach talents,” Timms said.

APAC CEO Helen Duffy added that one of the biggest challenges in APAC in planning the long term shape of your teams (leadership or otherwise) is driven by the uncertainty of people  movement around the world. For world leading markets in APAC, which need to be able to access talent from anywhere – be it those already in the region (e.g. China, Singapore, Hong Kong, both from other Asian markets or beyond) or talent you would like to bring into a country anew, it is crucial to support those who may well be facing challenges “at home”. As well as giving the stars local to the market the opportunity to take on their next challenge.

“In addition, take the long term view to commit to finding the best in the world to join them given a start date might be further away than usual. It is this diversity of talent which creates the best teams, allows them the evolve, support and challenge each other, and ultimately thrive,” she added. Leaders need to work out what they want to achieve, and the skills they need now, in the medium and in the longer term for the goals of the business – so people can support or cover for each other, fill the gaps, perhaps bring in interim support.

3. Create a workplace with inclusion and diversity

Traditionally, diversity was merely defined by gender and ethnicity, albeit the term has a far broader and more complex meaning than this. Moreover, inclusion means ensuring a business is prepared to adopt diversity in its broadest sense, said Sarah Skinner, Grace Blue’s CEO EMEA. Diversity and inclusion, and their continued emphasis are non-negotiable in 2022.

“Candidates will question the diversity commitments of any brand before engaging in a conversation about a new role with them. Leaders need to realize that their efforts to create a more inclusive workplace are being judged on a regular basis by potential employees, at all levels of seniority,” added Jay Haines, founder of the company.

4. Digital transformation

The pandemic has changed a lot of behaviours and while we are now more globally connected than ever before, yet until the pandemic subsides, we are less globally mobile than ever before, explained Sarah Skinner, CEO EMEA. The acceleration of the digital transformation that we have witnessed in the last two years means that technology is now woven into the fabric of every business and its operation. As a result, technology leaders should really be sat in the boardroom.

According to a PayPal Hong Kong study, today 91% of surveyed SMBs in the city agreed that they had witnessed a change in consumer behaviour online. The study also uncovered the trend that consumers were more open to using digital payment with 45% of the SMBs experiencing a core shift in consumer behaviour in the form of greater consumer receptiveness to digital payment options. The acceleration of the digital transformation means that technology is now woven into the fabric of every business and its operation.

In 2022, we will also see the first generation of young people who join the workforce with no experience in an office environment. This will test leadership teams and they need to question how they can best bridge this to create something sustainable for the future.

5. The rise of servant leadership

Looking forward, management of any business needs to centre conversations with their teams around their development and the development of others, explained David Nobbs, Grace Blue’s managing partner and head of consumer, EMEA.  “Modern leaders will have to focus on servant leadership, becoming the ‘chief empathy officer’, thinking about their team’s personal growth both internally and externally. They will need to support their development within the organisation in the short, medium and long-term.