The world of HR and the workplace has undergone so many changes in recent years. Through technological advancements and shifts in cultural opinions we expect that the workplace in 2024 will continue to adapt and change. It can be easy to continue on as before however, business that cannot or who refuse to adapt and change run the risk of getting left behind and missing the opportunity to be leaders of change.
We’ve pulled together the HR Trends that we think are going to make the most impact for organisations. The most important ones for employers to focus on in the year ahead.
It’s become something of a buzzword in recent years but it’s clear that not only is AI here to stay- it’s also going to transform the workplace. At it’s very core this is a technology that has been introduced and can be trained to perform both menial and also advanced human tasks. Exploring ways AI and other digital transformation can be utilised to support transactional activities and free up time for employees to add value in other ways is key. It’s important to note that this will likely require a redevelopment of skills for many people within your team.
AI isn’t here to replace your team- it’s important you make this clear and bring them on the journey with you. This is something new not only to the team but also to you. Look at the bigger strategic picture and work to ensure team members have the skills they need so their energy can be focused on what matters. As Forbes said, the greatest benefit of AI is in augmenting and improving processes that already exist with the people already in your team.
Following trends such as the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting individuals are much more willing to move from role to role in the pursuit of better development and pay. Why? Because of the growing demand for better work experiences. The employee experience stretches beyond just their experience in the workplace. It extends to aspects such as their job design. Now more than ever employees are looking for non-traditional job designs that help them balance work and life. For example, employees are more likely to stay in a role or move to a role that offers flexible arrangements for their overall wellbeing. Tailoring job design to your employees and your organisation will be key in 2023. It will be the year of inclusive and engaging work environments. Job design is such an (important?) tool to enable this to progress.
The individual contributions of our people go hand in hand with your organisational goals. Progressing in their career is important to people. Supporting the development of your team will boost morale, help with employee engagement, benefit your work culture and help with not only retention but also talent attraction. If this is your workforce, they’re going to want to your business to succeed. This will prove to be important for 2024 and beyond.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
In 2023 EDI was thrown to the forefront of many senior internal conversations. A question that has likely come up time and time again ‘are we doing enough?’ followed by ‘if we’re not, what should we be doing?’ in the wake of one of the largest social justice movements many organisations made ambitious statements and commitments to EDI that they haven’t been able to fully stand by. Coupled with a divided society that brands some actions as “woke” and others as “performative” it’s understandable that organisations are somewhat wary of EDI.
It’s important to remember that EDI stretched far beyond just race. While that has it’s importance and is still an element you need to consider. EDI covers many other aspects. For example gender, neurodiversity and sexual orientation. It’s becoming increasingly more important to potential employees to work in organisations that best align with their personal beliefs and places that sit right within their moral compass. With a study showing that 95% of candidates compare EDI efforts when picking job offers- EDI is more than just a buzzword to be used to make your organisation look and feel good. It has to be a commitment you make to create the kind of workplace where everyone feels valued, safe to show up as their truest self and welcome when they do so.
EDI initiatives and the employee experience go hand in hand. It’s all about developing a positive employee culture as a whole and embracing a real approach to the wellbeing of your people- not just talking about it.
It’s often the case that wellbeing is used as a tool. Something organisations talk about but within their workforce the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. This is called ‘wellbeing washing’ where there’s no tangible actions to back up what you’ve said. Wellbeing is a non-negotiable for organisations in 2024. In 2023 we’ve seen issues such as mental health, burnout, and musculoskeletal as key indicators for absences. With workplace wellbeing challenges on the rise, the new year is the perfect time to address and put in place solutions.
We’ve all heard of toxic work cultures, but what actually are they? They tend to be workplaces where employees aren’t supported, valued or respected. It’s likely that the people within them have high levels of stress unmanageable workloads and little to no opportunities for growth or development. More often that not a toxic work culture will trickle down from the very top. If you’re an organisation using 2024 to catapult yourself to long-term success, then creating a positive work culture isn’t just a nice to have. It must become the focal point for your work culture. In turn you will create an engaged, positive and loyal workforce.
Do your employees feel comfortable speaking to the leaders in your organisation about any struggles they might be facing? It’s common for employees to avoid discussing any non-physical health issues with their manager. Employees want to feel supported and psychologically safe at work. The line manager is such an important element in the pursuit of good health and wellbeing in the workplace. A recent report by CIPD found 43% of line managers don’t feel they nave the necessary training, skills or confidence to support the mental health of employees. This common challenge can act as a blocker for employee wellbeing.
The decisions you make have far reaching consequences, that we might not even see for years to come. Choosing the right path for your organisation will be a journey. It will take innovation, authenticity, and also strategic foresight to ensure you make the right decisions. The changing nature of HR means that ignorance is not bliss- and choosing to ignore the trends can have a negative impact on your organisation and in turn the success of your business.
Making important strategic decisions for your organisation isn’t something you have to do alone. Our dedicated HR & Employment Law Specialists are on hand to help you make the right decisions to support your organisation. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in contact with James Richardson, or a member of our HR & Employment Law Team.