Workplace and HR Trends to Watch in 2024

May 16, 2024 | Employee Engagement, HR Trends

Through 2024 and beyond, emerging technologies and HR trends will transform the modern workplace. In turn, HR must adjust its processes to accommodate these fast-paced changes. Let’s explore some of the key workplace trends to watch, from generative AI to the need for skill transferability. Equipped with this knowledge, you can successfully adapt to change while keeping employees engaged and motivated.

Table of Contents

1. Generative AI

2. Hybrid Work Models

3. Prioritizing Well-being

4. Skill Transferability

5. More Women Entering the Workplace

6. Lower Engagement and Trust in Leadership

Generative AI

AI in the workplace will grow more sophisticated in 2024 and beyond. Advanced AI tools will help assess and improve engagement, identify and minimize bias, and spot training needs. They’ll also build rich employee profiles to help you better understand individual needs, desires, and learning styles.

Increasingly, AI will aid in candidate screening, budgeting, and streamlining HR processes as well. Generative AI tools can perform tasks like answering questions or composing simple emails. We’ll also see companies adopting generative AI tools to record meeting notes, synthesize group ideas, and summarize action steps.

Further, analytical solutions will support strong talent planning and decision-making, as the Society for Human Resource Management reports. And increasingly sophisticated performance management software will support employee growth.

Hybrid Work Models

Hybrid work is here to stay. In jobs where remote work is feasible, half of all employees work within a hybrid work model. Three in 10 work fully remote jobs, while just 2 in 10 work fully on-site, says Gallup.

However, organizations are still figuring out the logistics of hybrid work models. One question centres on who should choose which days employees work from home. In general, managers should set in-office days for their team, scheduling specific activities that work best in person for those days. For example, organizations could hold large meetings in person. Smaller meetings can more easily take place virtually when need be.

Prioritizing Well-being

Wellness in the workplace has become more pivotal than ever. All generations have been affected by the disruptions of the past several years. But as a whole, members of Gen Z face greater mental health challenges than previous generations. They’ve entered the workplace during a time of global turmoil, often coping with the effects of isolation while in college or launching a career.

New approaches to promoting well-being will grow in popularity:

  • The four-day work week. Some companies have found that the 4-day workweek can reduce absenteeism and boost productivity. With more days to recharge, employees can find greater work/life balance. Different models exist; some companies keep a 40-hour week, while others give employees the option to reduce their working hours. (In turn, companies need to determine how any reduction in hours will affect pay and benefits.)
  • Flex-time policies. Flex time can help reduce burnout and increase job satisfaction considerably. One study found that being able to change one’s schedule as needed increases job satisfaction by 62%. These flex-time arrangements can help parents keep up with the demands of both work and home life, for instance.
  • Paid sabbaticals. Some companies are giving employees the opportunity to grow professionally, or explore another passion, through an extended break from their daily work. They could engage in intensive learning that boosts their leadership skills, for instance. People who take sabbaticals often return with renewed enthusiasm and readiness to level up, say researchers in Harvard Business Review.

Additionally, provide robust mental health care options and let employees know they can use paid time off for a mental health day. Learn more about employees’ personal needs by surveying them regularly!

Skill Transferability

As job roles shift alongside emerging technologies, transferable skills will help employees maintain a highly relevant skill set. Here are some examples of transferable skills:

  • Leadership
  • Data analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Public speaking
  • Industry knowledge
  • Technological literacy 

Technological know-how grows through competence in key software programs. As specific programs evolve, employees’ technological literacy will help them easily adapt to changes.

Specific job responsibilities might shift; roles might be added or combined, but employees with such skills will always have much to contribute. With a prevalence of transferable skills, you’ll minimize turnover and help employees prepare for more advanced positions as well.

More Women Entering the Workplace

A group of women having a meeting about upcoming HR strategies
Credit: Kampus Production/ Pexels

Increasingly, we’ll see mid-career women returning to the workplace, bringing vital knowledge, creativity, and experience. In mid-2023, the percentage of women between 25 and 54 seeking jobs reached an all-time high of 77.8%, NPR writes. This comes at a time when many companies are struggling to fill talent gaps.

To tap into this source of talent, returnships are becoming increasingly popular—and effective. These formal programs draw skilled women to mid- or high-level roles, offering a training and adjustment period to help them reacclimate to the workplace.

Lower Engagement and Trust in Leadership

Trust in leadership has been dropping, unfortunately—which has drastic effects on employee engagement. Just 21% of employees say they trust their company’s leadership. But leaders and managers can rekindle trust by doubling down on human skills and emotional intelligence. As AI tools assist with technical skills, leaders should focus on becoming great mentors, building authentic relationships, and displaying a high level of integrity. Sharing a clear vision and path for achieving it catalyzes lasting trust, as Gallup says. Supportive, inspirational leadership also plays a critical role in bolstering wellbeing and engagement. 

As you leverage new technologies like generative AI, work to support the human side of growth as well. By welcoming women back to the workplace, cultivating transferable skills, and providing advanced leadership training, you’ll enhance employee engagement and prepare for long-term success. Simultaneously fine-tuning your hybrid work model and allowing for flex time leads to increased job satisfaction. By adapting to these HR trends, you’ll also increase retention of top talent.

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