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The Future of the Workforce: 8 Key HR Trends to Watch in 2024

2024 is here, bringing new trends and areas of focus for HR professionals.

According to an article by SHRM, talent, economic and supply chain issues are expected to continue, while myriad political views will take center stage during this election year. HR leaders must navigate a rapidly changing landscape while keeping their organizations competitive and productive.

Here are eight critical trends that will drive HR in 2024:

Office vs. remote work

While the number of remote-only jobs is decreasing, many employers still struggle with getting employees back into the office consistently and ensuring they are engaged and productive. Leaders should work with their HR team to provide a consistent message about why in-person work is important and demonstrate the opportunities and benefits it offers, such as professional development and networking, that aren't as easy to accomplish in a remote environment. At the same time, leaders should be aware and considerate of their workforce's varying generations and preferences. A one-size-fits-all approach no longer works to attract and engage workers. Instead, employers should develop a plan that provides inclusivity and fairness to all if they are looking to create and maintain a strong culture.

Attracting and retaining employees

Organizations must look at their entire talent acquisition and retention process and strategy. The recruitment and onboarding process is an applicant/new employee's first introduction to the organization. HR professionals must work with managers to ensure the process is simple and engaging for individuals. Additionally, these processes should involve looking for new talent, evaluating current employees, and identifying opportunities for them to learn new skills or advance within the organization.

Employee wellbeing

To assist with attracting and retaining vital employees, employers are exploring new ways to engage and motivate their teams. Employee wellness benefits are growing in popularity. These offerings go beyond providing things like traditional gym memberships. Instead, they include tools and resources for mental health, financial wellbeing, and work-life balance.

Employee compensation

Though inflation rates are beginning to ease, employees still expect higher salary increases in 2024 than they've received over the last few years. Many employers are struggling with budgetary concerns, making meeting employee expectations difficult. This is why employers must develop and communicate a well-rounded compensation and benefits plan so employees can see the value of their compensation package and not just focus on salary alone.

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

DEIB will continue to be a priority for organizations in 2024. Organizations are beginning to see the value a diverse culture brings to their teams. When organizations encourage and embrace diversity, they often experience increased creativity and sharing of different perspectives, which often provides a more robust organizational culture.

Employee classification

Ensuring employees are classified correctly (exempt vs. non-exempt, W2 employee vs. 1099 independent contractor) will be even more critical in 2024. Between the new Department of Labor regulation about independent contractors and the proposed overtime rule likely coming this Spring, ensuring employees are classified correctly will be increasingly important.

AI in the workplace

Using tools such as virtual assistants and ChatGPT offers opportunities and concerns for many HR professionals. Some of these tools can take on or improve routine and repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on more strategic tasks. However, these tools can also cause privacy, security and accuracy issues. As such, HR professionals need to be aware of the pros and cons of AI, and ensure they work with organizations to develop and implement policies about its use.

Upskilling and reskilling

Between AI being used more widely in the workplace, baby boomers leaving the workforce, and organizations trying to do more with less, learning and development will be top priorities in 2024. Organizations will need to determine where they have/will have gaps in knowledge and develop ways to close them. AI will offer advantages to streamline and improve specific processes, but employees must be equipped with the tools to use and understand this technology.

The role of Human Resources is ever-changing and requires organizations to remain in the know about changing laws and legislation, as well as best practices, to attract and retain talent.

View the latest webinar for a breakdown of the HR and employer compliance requirements impacting your organization: Evolving Employment Laws: Your Guide to Federal HR Changes in 2024.