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The world of work is constantly evolving, and the field of human resources (HR) is no exception. In order to remain effective and efficient, HR professionals must stay abreast of the latest trends and adapt their strategies accordingly.
In 2024, HR professionals will need to focus on several key areas, including generative AI, employee well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion, HR technology, and upskilling and reskilling initiatives. These trends will play a critical role in shaping the future of HR, and HR professionals will need to navigate the challenges of deploying new technologies and initiatives while ensuring that they do not compromise staff privacy or data protection rights. In this article, we will explore the top HR trends for 2024 and provide insights into how HR professionals can prepare for the future of work.
Here are five of the top HR trends to watch in 2024:
1. Generative AI
Generative AI is set to revolutionize various HR functions, such as recruitment, performance management, and employee experience. HR professionals will need to leverage this technology with more wisdom and discretion than in previous years, ensuring that they focus on transparency, communication, relationships, and data-driven reporting when it comes to their talent strategies.
According to a report by IT World Canada News, nearly half of HR organizations will seek to build a business case and demonstrate return on investment (ROI) on the implementation of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), with a whopping 79 per cent of respondents citing increased productivity and efficiency as the primary reason.
However, despite this potential, HR organizations have been slow to assess the new technology, with just 28 per cent reporting they are taking steps to implement generative AI in 2024. They continue to face numerous roadblocks such as a lack of budget, and skills gaps, as well as inadequate technology. The risks of AI also remain a major concern for many HR professionals, with 32 per cent of respondents citing risk as a reason for not implementing generative AI.
Forbes also highlights the impact of generative AI on HR, emphasizing the need for HR professionals to balance the efficiency of AI with human qualities that are still essential in the workplace. Additionally, a report by ADP states that generative AI is supplementing HR's data-driven tool belt, making reliable people data a must-have, and empowering HR leaders to make faster, more informed decisions about people and processes.
Furthermore, Fortune's predictions for 2024 suggest that AI will be an even bigger HR focus, with larger AI investments and a growing share of job ads mentioning generative AI. The article emphasizes that HR leaders will need to refine their talent strategy to attract top talent with relevant AI skills.
2. The Growing Focus on Employee Well-being
Employee well-being has become increasingly important in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue in 2024. This is due to a number of factors, including the increasing prevalence of burnout, the growing demand for mental health resources, and the recognition that healthy and engaged employees are more productive and more likely to stay with their organizations. HR professionals will need to develop programs and initiatives that support employee health, mental health, and work-life balance.
According to a report by Cooleaf, workplace wellness programs have recently gained momentum, as companies work to reinforce a healthy work culture to boost productivity, satisfaction, and predominantly, employee retention. The report highlights 14 workplace wellness trends for 2024, including a focus on prevention, mental health support, holistic well-being, increased workplace flexibility, financial wellness education, adapted workplace design, family wellness programs, and telemedicine.
The Future Workplace HR Sentiment Survey 2021 found that 68% of HR leaders now consider employee well-being and mental health a high priority. However, recent data shows that only 24% of employees think that their employer cares about them, indicating a disconnect between HR leaders and employees. To address this, HR professionals will need to examine the top 7 wellbeing trends, including holistic well-being, sleep hygiene, fitness, diet and nutrition, mindfulness and meditation, yoga, and mood tracking, as identified by People Managing People.
In addition, Corporate Wellness Magazine highlights the top 10 employee wellness trends for 2023, which include emotional intelligence training, flexible work arrangements, and financial wellness. The report emphasizes that prioritizing employee wellness goes beyond the bottom line and is about productivity and overall success.
Fortune's predictions for 2024 suggest that employee well-being will continue to be a top HR focus, with a growing emphasis on mental health support, work-life balance, and the use of technology to promote well-being. The article emphasizes that HR leaders will need to refine their talent strategy to attract top talent with relevant well-being skills.
3. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives will continue to be a priority in talent acquisition and internal mobility strategies, playing a key role in employee engagement and retention. HR professionals will need to take a proactive role in creating inclusive workplaces that value and respect all employees.
According to a blog post by MD Mahade Hasan on LinkedIn, HR professionals can work with senior leaders to define company values and goals around diversity and inclusion. They can help create policies and procedures that support these goals. Additionally, HR can develop training programs to help employees understand diversity and inclusion. They can also work with senior leaders to develop strategies for improving diversity and inclusion and to ensure that the organization is continuously working towards these goals.
Builtin.com defines DEI as any policy or practice designed to make people of various backgrounds feel welcome. It can also refer to differences in physical ability, veteran status, whether or not you have kids — all of those are components of diversity. Equity is the process of ensuring that practices and programs are impartial, fair, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. This means that every employee feels comfortable and supported by the organization when it comes to Combining these three elements, HR practitioners have to do the work to understand how it is we can go above and beyond to make an organization more diverse, equitable, and inclusive
A report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) emphasizes the importance of DEI initiatives in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. HR professionals can help ensure that their organizations are truly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion by developing metrics to assess diversity and inclusion programs' effectiveness and using data to drive decision-making. HR can also work with senior leaders to develop strategies for improving diversity and inclusion and to ensure that the organization is continuously working towards these goals.
4. HR Technology
HR technology will continue to evolve, with organizations deploying a growing range of technologies and tools, such as online learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) training tools, and workforce tracking systems. HR professionals will need to navigate the challenges of deploying these tools while ensuring they do not compromise staff privacy or data protection rights.
According to a blog post by Yellow.ai, some common HR technology challenges include insufficient data and poor reporting, overdependence on IT support, lack of scalability, and siloed tech systems. To overcome these challenges, organizations can democratize HR tech, ensuring that diverse systems can interact and work together effectively.
Insperity highlights that disparate, clunky platforms can lead to inadequate data and lackluster reporting, and that implementing a single, comprehensive, cloud-based HR management system can help overcome this challenge. This system should incorporate all HR functions, capture all HR data in one central and secure (cloud-based) location, and support expanded, extensive reporting and analytics to make raw data more actionable and insightful.
TechTarget emphasizes that selecting the right HR system, implementing it, and integrating it with other tech can be a common HR tech challenge. HR leaders can overcome these challenges by partnering with IT and involving employees in tech decisions.
Remote work support, lack of technical training, multiple vendors, integrations, and upgrades to manage, insecure data storage or transfer, and lack of technical training are common HR technology challenges. To overcome these challenges, companies can ensure that their HR tech tools are scalable, manage integrations and upgrades effectively, and provide remote work support.
5. Upskilling and Reskilling
Upskilling and reskilling initiatives are critical for HR professionals in 2023 and beyond. According to Forbes, these initiatives are essential tools for HR leaders to ensure that today's workforce is ready for tomorrow's challenges. The article emphasizes that upskilling and reskilling employees prepare companies for the changes happening now and get them ready to handle fast-approaching developments, which may require more agility. The training these workers receive equips them with the skills they require to transition, and reskilling doesn’t simply build on existing abilities but may augment transferable ones.
ChapmanCG's Senior Director, Nicola Hasling, highlights that over 70% of CEOs are concerned about their companies’ lack of available skills. Upskilling and reskilling employees allow companies to prepare for these changes and, at the same time, retain high-performing talent and institutional knowledge. The WEF Reskilling Revolution aims to provide better education, new skills, and better work to 1 billion people by 2030. Staying competitive, engaging, and retaining employees are some of the benefits of upskilling and reskilling. Most employees want to be challenged and see clear opportunities for growth. Upskilling provides options for personal and professional development, and employees who feel their employer is invested in their career path are likelier to be loyal.
Deloitte emphasizes that reskilling the HR team should be a critical area of focus for most organizations. A culture of reskilling has become the new norm for all employees, and HR staff is no exception. Reskilling will help them excel in a constantly changing organizational climate. The article also highlights the importance of understanding the new purpose of HR and the need for strong analytical capabilities.
Navigating the Future of Work
The HR landscape is undergoing a remarkable transformation, driven by technological advancements, demographic shifts, and changing business models. To thrive in this dynamic environment, HR professionals must not only embrace the five key trends identified in this article—generative AI, employee well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), HR technology, and upskilling and reskilling—but also be prepared to address the following challenges:
- The Changing Nature of Work and the Emergence of New Job Roles: The workplace is becoming increasingly digital and flexible, giving rise to new job roles that require specialized skills and expertise. HR professionals will need to stay abreast of these changes and develop programs and initiatives to attract, develop, and retain talent with the skills necessary to succeed in the future of work.
- The Need to Attract and Retain Talent in a Competitive Job Market: The competition for top talent is fierce, and HR professionals will need to develop innovative strategies to attract and retain qualified individuals. This may involve offering competitive compensation packages, providing flexible work arrangements, and fostering a culture of employee engagement and belonging.
- The Challenge of Managing a Distributed Workforce and Maintaining a Sense of Connection and Belonging: With more employees working remotely or from different locations, HR professionals will need to find ways to maintain a sense of connection and belonging among their teams. This may involve using technology to facilitate virtual collaboration, implementing regular team-building activities, and creating a supportive and inclusive work environment.
- The Need to Comply with Evolving Labor Laws and Regulations: Labor laws and regulations are constantly changing, and HR professionals will need to stay up-to-date on the latest requirements to ensure that their organizations are compliant. This may involve conducting regular training sessions, providing resources for legal assistance, and reviewing employment practices to ensure they meet all applicable standards.
By staying informed about these trends and challenges, HR professionals can position themselves to successfully navigate the changing landscape of work and lead their organizations to success. They should continue to develop their skills and expertise, stay up-to-date on emerging technologies, and be creative in their approaches to employee engagement and retention. As the world of work continues to evolve, HR professionals will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of work and creating a workplace that is both productive and fulfilling for all employees.
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