Human Resources – Insights from The Hackett Group’s 2022 Key Issues Study

February 8, 2022
Season 3, Episode 6

The Hackett Group Senior Research Director Anthony DiRomualdo talked with European HR Practice Leader Dorothee El-Khoury about key findings from The Hackett Group’s 2022 Human Resources Key Issues Research. The research covers top priorities and challenge areas for HR in 2022, including the ongoing pandemic, the great resignation, the challenge of retaining and attracting workers, the shift to remote/hybrid work, creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and more.


Show Notes

Welcome to the Hackett Group’s Business Excelleration Podcast, where – week after week – we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours, and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode of the podcast is hosted by The Hackett Group’s Senior Research Director Tony DiRomualdo. His guest today is Dorothee El-Khoury, Head of France & HR Practice for the EMEA region at Hackett.

The Hackett group polls several 100 executives every year in the October timeframe to gauge what is top of mind for them for the upcoming year. Today, they will discuss some of the key highlights from the research on the HR agenda in 2022, namely the top 10 issues.

To begin, Tony elaborates on the number one issue overall: to act as a strategic advisor to the business. After being on the backburner for many years, this issue finally made it into the top 10 list in 2020. That is significant because Covid changed many things in the world and in business. For HR, it was a breakthrough moment, because they were being relied on to help business leaders deal with a flood of operational challenges. For the first time, HR at large was really appreciated for how they can help the business succeed. This being at the top of the list speaks to the fact that these issues remain top of mind as we move farther from the initial pandemic panic. These obstacles include the great resignation, the pressures around creating a diverse and inclusive workforce and the shift to remote and hybrid working models. Combined, all of these are reinforcing HR’s role as strategic advisor.

Then, Dorothee shares what she found most interesting on this list. In line with #1, she notes that numbers 2 and 3 really relate to how HR can support delivery of company strategy. The second is about being able to require critical skills and retain critical profiles. From the same studies, companies find that not having the right talent is a major risk to the company and can weaken their strategic position. Number 3 is about creating and maintaining a high-performance culture in the organization. This is linked with the new flexible and remote ways of working. The culture replaces what used to be a direct management oversight over employees as they work. These are much more linked to business objectives than they would be in the past.

Next, Dorothee identifies that what really surprised her about the list was in fact what isn’t mentioned on the list. The change in HR operating models is absolutely necessary for HR functions to continue driving in 2022. There is a productivity and efficiency gap due to business growth, but the HR teams and budgets remain stable. This gap must be bridged by branching away from the old ways of working. Tony’s biggest surprise was #8 on the list: maintain employee resilience and wellbeing. Tony’s surprise dates back to April 2020, when he wrote a blog post concerning employee wellbeing and ability to be productive under stressful conditions. Seeing this on this year’s list was a reassurance that it’s on the minds of leadership.

Finally, they discuss the things on the list giving them pause for concern. For Dorothee, the last item on the list, aligning HR skills and talent management, is slightly worrying that it isn’t a higher priority at this time. HR commonly underestimated how much they need to do in terms of bringing in fresh skills and perspectives.


  • 0:53 – Welcome to this episode, hosted by Tony DiRomualdo.
  • 1:33 – Introducing today’s discussion topic.
  • 2:33 – HR’s new role as strategic advisor.
  • 5:01 – Elaborating on findings #2 and #3.
  • 7:04 – The need for operational changes in HR.
  • 8:57 – Maintaining employee resilience and wellbeing.
  • 11:02 – Where HR is lacking in attention.
  • 13:55 – Thank you for joining us today!