Note: Catalyst is the official publication of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The resource features thought leadership from organization members on various topics, including innovation, business acumen and trends, career roadmap, and Gold Quill. The piece below recently appeared in the guide, and IABCLA thought it would be beneficial to share it with our members and supporters.

By: IABC Catalyst Subcommittee

With a new year comes new opportunities and challenges for communication professionals to look forward to and conquer. What communication-related trends, predictions and events — whether personal or industry related — are you adding to your professional wish list in 2022?

We asked members of the Catalyst Subcommittee to share their thoughts. Do you have a specific trend or goal on your mind for the new year? Join IABC members in discussion on The Hub to share your predictions and hopes for the year to come.

Personal Milestones

This year, some communicators are planning to take their work to the next level. “The scope of my consulting and coaching work will expand into corporate wellness initiatives in early 2022,” Tara Mogan Blom, MMC, ABC, says. “This pairs my 20+ years’ experience in organizational communications with my work as a certified wellness coach, helping individuals and organizations to maximize overall wellbeing, happiness and productivity.”

What else is on Blom’s checklist this year? “I’m looking forward to checking SCMP certification off of my to-do list in 2022,” she says. “It’s been there for a while!” Are you planning to earn your SCMP this year? Learn more about becoming an SCMP through IABC, and visit Catalyst to read members’ personal stories of how they achieved this goal.

The Evolving Workplace

As communicators continue to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the changing workplace is top of mind. And communicators will likely be some of the first to pose and address these questions. “As the workplace and state of work continues to evolve — especially since COVID will be with us for a while — how do we shape the employer role in determining work-life balance?” Joe Bobbey asks. “Is it employer-driven or employee-driven? How do we help leaders ensure fairness uniformly across workforce roles and responsibilities?”

With the evolving workplace also comes the influence of the Great Resignation and the employee economy. “Employees are going to be demanding multichannel communication, work delivery approaches and organizations,” Nkem Emezie-Ejinima says. “Companies will have to leverage their communications ecosystem to engage and collaborate.”

Being Proactive Professionals

Communication professionals can carve out their own seat at the executive table and seamlessly navigate across functions within their organizations. Emezie-Ejinima says this year, communicators can take a “less ‘reactive’ approach to internal communications and PR.” Likewise, Bobbey says, “We have opportunities for communicators to increase their proactive, strategic role with [the following departments]:”

  • IT: Find ways to create a culture of cybersecurity that complements the latest technology solutions.
  • Public Affairs: Elevate defenses against misinformation (beyond employees and customers) to broader audiences through thought leaders and public officials.
  • HR: Focus an organization’s value statements and corporate responsibility messages on efforts to improve employee retention and recruitment.

People- and Community-First Focus

Like years past, organizations, their people and their values will likely play a significant role in 2022. Emezie-Ejinima hopes to see a shift in how organizations and people define values. Similarly, she says that in the year to come, growth-focused businesses will leverage partnership and collaboration in an effort toward community building, sustainability and prioritizing impact-driven businesses. Finally, Emezie-Ejinima predicts that there will be a re-emergence on the individual. “There will be a strong move of ‘You Inc.,’ and every brand’s behavior is subject to public opinion and scrutiny,” she says. “There will be no hiding places for businesses and CEOs.”

Bonus Prediction: Global Energy Transition

Do you have ESG on the brain? Emezie-Ejinima predicts that in 2022, there will be more sustainable and favorable global energy transition. “The demand and supply of energy will affect technological advancement,” she says. How will communicators play a role in this? Only time will tell.