Three Powerful HR Concepts Every Business Owner Should be Cognizant of in 2022

Sep 6, 2022

IBA, as the premier business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, is firmly established as a respected professional service firm in the legal, accounting, banking, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, and financial planning communities.  Periodically, we will post guest blogs from professionals with knowledge to share for the good of owners of privately held companies & family owned businesses. The following blog article has been provided by Todd McBee of Puzzle HR (

Post-2020, businesses have experienced a substantial change in the workplace. Amid the Great Resignation, employees are resigning in record numbers, and employers struggle to acquire and retain staff. As a result, daily operations cannot run smoothly, and practices used for the past decade are suddenly changing at breakneck speed. If employers want to survive in today’s business climate, they must be flexible and creative enough to reconstruct old ideologies.

Thankfully, change is possible and benefits everybody, but not without putting in the hard work first. So, every year, an international team from various departments, including Human Resources, partners together to reflect, evaluate, and predict the most trending topics throughout the industry and formulate how leaders should respond.

This year, the three most impactful trends for organizations are: re-inventing company culture, practicing true transparency, and staying ahead of compliance laws.

Re-Inventing Company Culture: Don’t Forget the Gray Collar

Should you don the metaphorical blue or white-collar? This question has been a hot topic of debate since the early 1920s. Until recently, society threw every job into one of these two categories. There have always been several separating factors between the two, the most prominent of which is perceived, social class. So, what finally took down this century-old way of thinking? You guessed it, Covid-19.

With the onset of the pandemic and the realization that many jobs are more similar than they are drastically different, the term “gray-collar” was born, describing the gray area most jobs fall within.

Most gray-collar workers find themselves at a crossroads between the technology and service industries, such as school administrators and non-doctor healthcare professionals. These positions now hold 13 spots on the “Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top 20 fastest-growing occupations” list.

Once deemed “easily replaceable,” people in gray-collar positions are now showing their white-collar employers how challenging it is to hire and retain qualified candidates. Employees know their value, so a consistent paycheck is no longer enticing enough. As a result, the power has passed from employer to employee.

With this power shift came a significant change in company culture and its role within an organization. Company culture, when done correctly, simultaneously attracts new talent and keeps current employees happy.

To stay relevant in today’s market, leaders need to demonstrate that gray-collar workers are highly skilled, handsomely paid, and exceedingly in-demand to entice young workers from other industries. Leaders must actively change the narrative from “everybody is replaceable” to “everybody wants to stay” by increasing staff retention, showing mutual respect, and recognizing each employee’s hard work and efforts.

Practicing True Transparency: The New Model for Ethical Leadership

Previously, employees, future talent, and consumers saw private, more mysterious companies as strong, confident, and attractive. The Age of Transparency has arrived, though, and confidentiality can throw an organization under public scrutiny. People demand honesty.

Employee-feedback company TINYpulse surveyed more than 40,000 workers and found that transparency was the top factor contributing to their overall happiness. Similarly, consulting firm Label Insight found that 94% of consumers were more likely to choose open and honest brands over more secretive ones.

Employers have access to more insight into their employee’s needs than ever before, but most employers still aren’t listening. With over two-thirds of employees feeling dismissed, it is time organizations use the available resources and devise outcome-based cultures.

Building a thriving outcome-based work atmosphere improves employee productivity, performance, efficiency, and motivation. Everybody succeeds by combining goal setting and accountability with trust, psychological safety, and emotional connection. Employees can see beyond their roles and focus on the big picture by keeping company information visible.

Staying Ahead of Compliance Laws: Compliance + Agility = Match Made in Heaven

Compliance, the HR professional’s nightmare, is in a constant flux state. The number of compliance laws has been increasing for decades, but the pandemic sent it into overdrive. Overall, the U.S. passed 10,000 more regulatory changes in 2020 than 2019.

With constant compliance changes on a global, national, local, organizational, and departmental scale, companies must rethink their approach to compliance to get ahead of the government. Instead of viewing it as something stagnant, organizations should treat compliance as an indication of the industry’s future and where they should focus. Looking outside the regulatory requirements to stay ahead of fines and regulations is the only way to obtain true compliance agility. Businesses are already moving faster than the government. Innovative and proactive organizations were already working from home weeks before shelter-in-place rules had been ordered. Rather than being reactive and waiting for something to happen, these companies shape the trends themselves.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

The world we live in today is drastically different than the one from only a few years ago. People have more options than ever before, so be adaptable to ensure your message stays relevant. People are essential, not replaceable. Employees and talent deserve a healthy work environment. As a leader, don’t run from change, be the change. Transform your message to fit the current narrative, and everybody will win.

Todd McBee is a Regionals Sales Manager with Puzzle HR, a human resources company providing outsourced fractional executive and service based support to privately held companies. For more information on the content of this article or human resource related issues, Todd would welcome your inquires at (425) 260-6454 or

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