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Workplace Trends 2021 Recap

At CIS, we interact with a variety of HR professionals daily. Based on our interactions, we have defined the top three workplace trends from 2021 related to corporate investigations.


In 2021 we saw a big shift to at-home work and many organizations leaned into the concept of a hybrid working structure, allowing employees to work from home or come into the office.

Some of the top companies in North America were not in a hurry to call people back to the office. Orgs like Amazon, Intact Insurance, Manulife Financial and most municipalities all developed standard flexible work policies. Empowering employees to have more control and make their own decisions plays a significant role in worker happiness. These workplace changes were partially made based on the challenges in retaining top talent. As many professionals left their workplaces this year for various reasons, remote work allowance was on the checklist of reasons to stay.

This workspace concept is not going away so we must understand the pros and cons of this new normal.

Although we’ve learned that flexibility fuels productivity, working from home can have a few people-pitfalls. Shared workspaces can cause distractions and working alone with limited interaction with others can leave people feeling disconnected and not part of their work team.

We know there are solutions to these problems, but first an organization needs to confirm that the problem exists. Many organizations have ramped up their touch points with remote staff. Finding new ways to stay connected helps leaders watch out for their employee’s mental health, job satisfaction and morale. Soft-touch interviews is one prime example of a tools that aids in this discovery on a continual basis.


Recently, workplaces put a lot of effort into improving the employee experience. In fact, many HR professionals reported that employee experience was a top priority in 2021.

With remote work increasing, organizations are realizing that this new work shift is here to stay. New technologies also generated a whole new workplace environment.

The creation of a new employee journey is in high demand, and this also includes an updated look and feel to the new hire process. Things rapidly changed in 2021 and so did the need for providing a seamless recruiting process.

Background screening plays a huge role in the hiring process. HR professionals require the latest technological offerings in automated software to assist them with their candidate screening requests, tracking and reporting.

Most screening partners now offer the advantage to decrease the time it takes for HR to process screening requests and increase communication with their candidates. Electronic identity verification is a must-have so that HR professionals no longer need to physically check identification, saving them time and money. In addition, HR is demanding mobile friendly support software to make processes easier while they’re working from home.


The phenomenon referred to as ‘The Great Resignation’ is due to people leaving the workforce in droves as the pandemic stretched into its second year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, four million Americans quit their jobs by July 2021. Canada does not track resignations, but smaller studies such as the Robert Half 2022 Salary Guide suggests that the trend of job quitting is happening in Canada as well. Workplace resignations peaked in 2021 which caused organizations across North America to ask, ‘what can we do to retain our people?’.

In this tidal wave of quitting, the best way to find out why people are leaving your organization is to ask those who are resigning. A direct approach through an exit interview process will help HR professionals determine what their org strengths and weaknesses and how to obtain retention.

A strategic exit interview should help the company better understand what could have been done to keep the departing employee. Effective exit interviews should also give insight into perceptions of company policies and procedures while gaining knowledge of the employee’s motivation, engagement and identifying specific problems.

Questions asked at an exit interview should be strategic to guide them into disclosing valuable feedback. Direct questions such as ‘why are you leaving?’ or ‘how could we have improved workplace conditions?’ will drive the respondent to answering with focus and honest intent.

Remember that the exit interview is one of the last deep conversational interactions they have with the company. It is often the best strategy to use a third-party service during this time to obtain the most valuable and honest information possible. Exit interviews can also help working relationships end on a good note.


What are your priorities going into 2022? For many leaders, the recent workplace trends have impacted how they plan for the coming year. If your organization is looking for ways to navigate changes and disruptions, or you’re looking to improve your employee experiences, connect with our trusted advisors today. CIS is here to help you Know More about your people.