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Articles Abridged: A Summary of What We Talked About Throughout the Year

Move aside, Spotify Wrapped, Aisling’s Articles Abridged is here!

For the past year, we have shared our thoughts and commentary on various workplace trends and issues on our social media and website. As we leave 2022, for our last post for the year, we would like to bring you a quick round-up of these topics that we’ve covered!

1) January

When we entered 2022, there were a lot of uncertainties going on: The reopening of a lot of businesses saw a huge chunk of the Malaysian workforce being required to come back to the office. However, the onset of new variants such as Omicron led to organisations pushing for the continuation of the hybrid workforce model for businesses that can afford to.

The hybrid workforce has certainly become more normalised now, but we are definitely going to be seeing more variations of it next year!

2) February

From navigating the multiple Movement Control Orders (MCOs); deciding on working arrangements; adapting to digitalisation and a new HR management system, and dealing with the challenges of talent retention amid employees’ concerns, the past few years have seen HR leaders dealing with various challenges, and it could not have been easy, given how rapid the changes could be within .organisations, particularly during an unprecedented pandemic.

To support the future of work, with an emphasis on the “human” element, we talked about the things that could be done to redefine the role of HR.

3) March

March was an eventful month – with the then Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announcing that Malaysia would enter the endemic phase of COVID-19 in April, to plans to enforce the new minimum wage rate, to yet another round of EPF withdrawal which was seen as a necessary step to ensure the livelihoods of many Malaysians.

4) April

In the US, the pandemic sparked an unexpected shift in power from employers to employees – leading to the highest quit rates in 40 years. The phenomenon quickly spread worldwide, becoming known as The Great Resignation.

Experts opined that while the situation might not be happening in Malaysia, what we are facing is better described as the Great Reshuffle, where an overwhelming majority of job seekers did not give up their employment status, or if they did it wasn’t for very long, opting for another job opportunity somewhere else that offers them a better opportunity or career advancement.

5) May

The pandemic has changed how we deal with our mental and physical health. We spoke about how leaders and companies should start considering new ways of implementing solutions that support and promote employee wellness.

As the world of work evolves, the authenticity of workplace wellness programmes is key to recruiting and retaining the best talent.

6) June

The nation’s brain drain has been growing at an average rate of six percent per year. There are now an estimated two million Malaysians living and working overseas.

It is easy to blame the cause on the rising cost of living. However, brain drain is caused by a number of other factors, which need to be looked at further, and it needs serious attention to ensure that those seeking skilled employment are able to thrive and grow.

7) July

In July, there were suggestions to start implementing a shorter work week. Studies and surveys, however, suggest that Malaysians actually prefer the flexibility of working whenever they want, over a shorter work week

One of the reasons is that many believe that a shorter work week would come with some trade-offs, such as having to work longer hours in order to squeeze five days’ worth of work into four.

8) August

In August, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta) shared in an article published by The Edge that Malaysian SMEs need between one million and 1.5 million workers. Malaysia’s shortage of skilled workers is not an isolated problem, as even developed nations are experiencing the same problem

It has been suggested that we increase our reliance on TVET graduates, especially since their skills are required for operations that require automation and technological transformation.

9) September

“Quiet quitting” was the buzz phrase that has been gaining traction among workers, especially Millennials and Gen Zs in the United States following the Great Resignation. In essence, this phenomenon can be described as workers refusing to go beyond what is expected of them in their jobs.

We looked into what constitutes Quiet Quitting, the factors contributing to it, and what can HR do to address the issue.

10) October

In Malaysia, general elections are held every five years. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolved the legislature on 10 October 2022 at the request of the incumbent Prime Minister, and the election date was announced to be on the 19th of November 2022.

As elections are about choosing the party that best represents our interests, we delved into whether the outcome of national elections has any impact on employment and whether voting directly affects hiring and firing in the economy.

11) November

Acting Your Wage was the latest trend causing a stir among young workers. The principle behind this trend is to do only what you are paid to do at your workplace. This is due to the different demands and expectations coming from these young workers as a result of the generation gap, their upbringing and the shift caused by the pandemic.

We spoke about how leaders can connect with younger employees and help them feel part of the team as part of an effort to attract and retain top talent.

12) December

Despite heading towards the end of the year, many organisations are still looking to reexamine their business direction, and as layoffs sweep through companies, both globally and in Malaysia, comes the latest trend – career cushioning.

Simply put, career cushioning is when employees look to add security to their professional life and prepare for the unexpected, whether starting to prepare for a job search or actively looking for a new job that feels more stable.

We discussed whether employees should be worried about this trend, and what can they do if employees are engaging in career cushioning.

For the past two years, employees have been seeking out greener pastures and demanding greater pay, better working conditions, more work-life balance, and more opportunity to further their careers as a result of the pandemic, which prompted them to reassess their priorities in life. This resulted in a fierce talent war all over the world and spurred various workplace trends.

It goes without saying that most HR leaders aim to make their company a great place to work, and this goes beyond just ensuring that the office has a fully-stocked pantry, a beanbag-laden seating area or a foosball table.  Ensuring that a company becomes the best workplace ever also involves nurturing an environment where employers are celebrated and appreciated and the ability to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of work.

We are excited to see what next year would bring!

Till then, we at Aisling wish you a very Happy New Year!

Read all our past (and future) articles for free on our website here. We share new articles every Friday!

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