The focus on employee experience has never been keener, and equipping employees with the tech they need to do their jobs is a priority for many companies. This is especially important for frontline workers because, whether they’re doctors at a hospital or baristas at a coffee shop, they provide essential services — making these employees a vital part of companies that want to truly understand people's needs and receive real-world, real-time feedback. This is a priceless competitive differentiator for companies that often spend significant portions of their budgets on market research and can use this frontline worker feedback loop to enhance and perfect their services. Yet, despite frontline workers playing such a critical — and strategic — role, some companies continue to ignore them, causing them to feel unappreciated, unheard, and disconnected. We believe this is contributing to the so-called great resignation. In fact, according to the U.S. Labor Department, about 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September, a record high in 2021. This indicates that companies that don’t invest in their frontline workers' experience risk losing a large majority of their workforce, and now is the time to make that change before it is too late. Companies that invest in their frontline workforce as much as they do in their leadership now will come out ahead in 2022. —Ujjwal Singh, Head of Workplace, Meta
PREDICTION 4: Companies will increasingly shift customer service from phone and email support to messaging channels as a better way to get business done.
Over the past year and a half, you’ve undoubtedly had to call an airline to cancel a flight, a hotel to rebook a room, or the cable company to discuss your bill. And each call meant waiting endlessly on hold, getting transferred to multiple call agents and having to remember the name of your high school mascot three different times. Needless to say, it was a frustrating experience. People don’t want to spend hours listening to elevator music or have their email to the support@ address go into the ether — they want to send a message and get a quick and personal response. While business messaging is already commonplace across Latin America, India, and Asia, many companies in the United States and the EU are still using legacy channels that are ineffective, inconvenient, and impersonal. Expect that to change in 2022 as companies realize messaging is what their customers want — and it’s beneficial to a company's bottom line as well. Not only is messaging more convenient, easier, and more natural for people, but it also gives businesses the opportunity to foster stronger customer relationships and serve multiple customers efficiently. This will only lead to increased customer satisfaction and call agent productivity — and in the year ahead, that’s just smart business. —Emile Litvak, VP of Business Messaging, Meta
PREDICTION 5: VR will become a more multifunctional tool, making it easier for people to collaborate from afar or simply get stuff done.
Remote work lets us work from nearly anywhere, but with that flexibility also comes new challenges. Some people struggle with feelings of isolation from coworkers or difficulty focusing in distracting home environments. That’s where VR has superpowers: It lets people feel like they’re really together so they can build vivid memories of sharing a space and conversation. Those conversations flow much more fluidly with all the important body language cues, and with audio that gives you a sense of direction when someone speaks. And without physical limitations, VR brings infinite space for displays, persistent whiteboards, and easily expandable rooms. So whether it’s to brainstorm, work on a document, or just hang out and socialize with your team, VR will aid people’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely. In 2022, VR devices will get even more comfortable for longer wear, offer advanced optics for increased text clarity, and will enable avatars to mirror your real expressions — so you can be yourself at work. This is also the year VR will begin to connect more seamlessly with your existing workflows, including commonly used business tools, 2D services, and peripheral devices, like keyboards. It will be inevitable that companies begin to normalize VR in addition to tools like laptops, tablets, and phones. It’s the best way to create a shared sense of space and connection among dispersed workforces. —Mark Rabkin, VP of VR, Meta
These are the areas we are focusing on for the year ahead, as some employees return to their offices, others opt for remote work or continue to work on the frontlines, and we all begin to find what works for us. As we learn more about what’s most important in this new era — to keep employees connected, effectively collaborating, and engaged in their work — we’ll adapt. We look forward to seeing the tools and innovative solutions that the year ahead will bring.