Last year, employee wellbeing, flexible working arrangements, diversity, equality, and inclusion were at the top of organisations’ priority lists. Organisations had to learn to adapt and respond flexibly to the changing HR landscape. A look into the future shows that many of these trends will continue to play a key role and even evolve.
Gen AI – integration of artificial intelligence in the workplace
It will hardly surprise anyone to hear that artificial intelligence has become one of the biggest trends in HR. Generative AI, such as ChatGPT and similar technologies, are changing the way we manage talents and organise workplace dynamics. According to a Gartner survey, 76% of HR leaders believe their organisation will fall behind in the next 12 to 24 months if they don’t implement AI solutions. From recruitment to staff development to employee productivity, HR professionals can optimise many processes with the help of AI. At the same time, a balance needs to be achieved between efficiency and a human touch.
Upskilling, reskilling, and professional training for employees
In 2024, HR teams will need to identify the skills required for their organisations to thrive in an era where technology and AI are becoming more powerful. This requires an understanding of the effect of transformative technologies on existing roles, as well as knowing what will help employees work together with AI.
89% of HR leaders believe that career paths in their organisations are unclear for most employees. This uncertainty is only increased by the additional challenge of rising turnover rates in an already competitive labour market.
In a rapidly changing labour market and an increasingly complex business world, it is important to continually update and expand employees’ skills and knowledge. Offering or supporting further training also helps to increase the attractiveness of the company as an employer and strengthen employee loyalty.
Temporary work can be a useful way for employees to build on and continue to develop their existing skills by taking on flexible placements in different workplaces, improving their employability with each new experience.
Focus on generations: the challenges of the older generation
Over the past year, the UK employment rate for people between 50 and 64 has begun to increase, after dropping from 2019’s record high of 72.5% down to 70.7% in 2022 during the Covid pandemic. It is now back up to 71.3% and could continue to increase. The expertise of older workers is in demand, and thanks to targeted training programmes such as the government’s ‘returnerships’ scheme, more of these skilled workers are either back in previous sectors, or entering new roles.
At the same time, Generation Z is increasingly stepping into the spotlight, while millennials are stepping up into management positions. This represents an exciting challenge when it comes to balancing the needs and circumstances of both groups of employees in terms of corporate culture and working life.
Flexible working models
Managing the opportunities and challenges associated with flexible working models will be a focus for HR professionals, particularly in large organisations with geographically distributed employees. More and more organisations are offering their employees flexible working hours, remote working, and other forms of flexibility. This has many benefits, such as a better work-life balance for employees, increased motivation and productivity, and the ability to attract talents from all over the world.
Flexibility is also seen as an important factor in the attractiveness of an employer and can be an advantage in the competition for skilled labour. For an increasing number of employees, flexibility is a must-have, as it enables them to manage their time and resources in a way that suits them as well as organising which and how many projects they are working on during their day.
Returning to the office
Forcing employees back into the office doesn’t work, as the figures show. When trying to encourage employees to return to the office, HR professionals need to ensure that the benefits of working in the office are clear. It’s about creating opportunities for collaborative productivity, professional development and networking that can’t always be replicated 1:1 from home.
More salary transparency
Fair pay is an important part of the employee experience. The EU directive on pay transparency, which came into effect last year, is very likely to influence many UK companies as part of a wider global trend towards greater transparency, although they will not be legally bound by the new directive. The UK government introduced a pay transparency pilot scheme in 2022 which aimed to close the gender pay gap, which the EU directive also addresses. Participating employers in the UK government’s pilot scheme agree to list the salary in the job description, as well as to stop asking applicants’ previous salary at the interview stage.
Thanks to the New Work movement, employees are increasingly becoming the focus of companies. The topics of work-life balance, workations, and workplace wellbeing are gaining in importance. Diversity also remains a key factor for employers to attract talent, as well as branding themselves as employers who value diversity. Equality and inclusion are crucial to promoting diversity and require a high degree of sensitivity and soft skills from HR managers.
In 2024, HR leaders will need to understand these trends, manage them effectively, and ensure a balance between innovative technology and human qualities. This is the only way they can successfully meet the challenges of the constantly changing world of work.