AI, Upskilling, and Return to Office: Top 10 HR Trends for 2024 - Netchex

Despite rapid innovation and new capabilities, the function and fundamentals of Human Resources tasks remain largely the same. Year to year, however, HR professionals must keep up with emerging HR trends for 2024.

Like last year, artificial intelligence and DEI will continue to make headlines in 2024, and. The past few years have taught us to be cautious about predicting the future, but these ten HR trends for 2024 should be on the radar of every leader in Human Resources.

1. The Great Return to Office Debate: Time for Decisions

In office? Remote? Hybrid? Flex? What is your company’s work plan for employees? Everybody had to improvise with the pandemic, but 2024 is the year to finally get serious about implementing your long-term policy on remote work.

Flexibility means finding the right balance for your workforce and your company’s unique workflow. Feel free to experiment with virtual water coolers, “focus days” in the office, and trending ideas as you continue to optimize for sustainability.

READ: Finding the Balance: How to Create a Hybrid Work Environment

2. AI: Already Working in a Cubicle Near You

Don’t panic! Despite last year’s fear mongering headlines, artificial intelligence hasn’t taken all of our jobs yet. Unfortunately, even if you haven’t changed policies, your workers have probably already started using AI in secret.

In a recent survey, 68% of workers using AI said they don’t disclose usage to their bosses

Properly managed, generative AI should be able to boost employee productivity and streamline repetitive tasks, but it’s definitely time to develop official policies and update your employee handbook.

READ: AI + HR: Workplace Uses, Benefits, and Best Practices

3. Employee Well-Being: From EAPs to Mental Health Mondays

What did we learn from the recent ‘quiet quitting’ trend? Employees need to feel valued to stay engaged, and companies can’t afford to take workers for granted. From an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to continual learning, there are lots of ways to support employee mental health. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), employee mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, cost the global economy a trillion dollars per year in lost productivity. WHO also states that for every dollar put into treatment for common mental illnesses, there is a return of four dollars in improved health and productivity.     

READ: 5 Tips to Support Employee Mental Health in the Workplace

4. Workplace Diversity: Making Space for Everyone

Like the past several years, DEI is still one of the most critical HR trends for 2024. Your DEI initiatives should have thoughtful, measurable goals that strengthen the whole company. The persistent societal problems of unconscious bias, discriminatory hiring, and inequality negatively impact individuals, families, and businesses. Ignoring these documented problems will only weaken your business.

READ: How to Promote and Measure DEI Initiatives Year-Round

Whether or not your office boomers are ready to retire, HR staff needs to manage multiple generations of employees. Trends in migration, globalization, and remote work should open up new, more inclusive hiring opportunities in the year ahead. Make sure everyone feels welcome to reduce turnover and take advantage of the strength that comes with diversity and inclusivity.

5. Upskilling and Reskilling: Future-Proof Your Workforce

We haven’t lost our jobs to AI, but new technology is likely to change the way many of us do business. Boost employee retention with upskilling, making your company more resilient and adaptable.

Some workers will need training in the use of generative AI and cross-training for different roles at the company. Your staff will appreciate the additional job security and professional development.

6. Seamless Tech Integration: Streamlining Your HR Software

2024 is the year to make sure you aren’t falling behind with HR software. Choose compatible HR software for integration and automation. So many HR processes can be streamlined and improved through automation via HR technology, including payroll, benefits administration, performance management, and more.

READ: Don’t Fear HR Automation, Embrace It to Create Better HR Processes

Use HR data integration for advanced reporting on real-time metrics that wouldn’t have been feasible in the past. Empower employees with integrated, people-first HR software, but be sure to develop a workable and highly-visible HR technology implementation plan to ensure company-wide adoption.

7. Pay Transparency: Taking a Peek in the Salary Jar

It pays to be prepared, especially on issues that attract the attention of state legislators. Your company may not want to go “all the way,” but now’s a good time to take a couple of steps toward pay transparency.

READ: Pay Transparency: What it Means for HR and How to Prepare

Address current pay gaps and revisit your policies on raises and compensation. Gen Z employees are more likely to voluntarily disclose their pay to each other. Prevent drama by proactively ensuring that you provide fair and equitable compensation.

8. Manager Effectiveness: Measure Leaders and Develop Talent

The two big transitions (first, to remote work, and then, back to the office) exposed a big cultural problem at many companies. Many managers struggle to quantify productivity and end up fostering a culture of presenteeism and busy work. HR software finally makes it easy to track and quantify manager effectiveness. Honest, 360 reviews and employee surveys have their place, but it’s finally time for objectivity in comparing managers.

READ: Six HR Metrics to Quantify and Track Manager Effectiveness

9. Career Management, Internal Mobility, and Retention

Your best employees are self-motivated, but the same ones feel stifled in dead-end jobs. Underperforming workers might find a better fit in a different department or role. Use 9-Box Reporting for Performance Management to quickly identify the workers who need more freedom to reach their full potential.

In the current economy, entry-level workers aren’t too hard to find. Still, vetting applicants, onboarding, and continued turnover are more expensive than properly motivating your current workers—which is why career management (including retention) is on the biggest HR trends for 2024.

10. Employee Data Security: The Odds Are Not In Your Favor

Cyber attacks and ransomware have become more common, and foreign trolls have bigger incentives to disrupt American businesses in an election year. HR data security protects highly sensitive employee information like bank accounts and social security numbers.

READ: HR Data Security: Safeguarding Sensitive Employee Information

Some of the biggest security breaches come from human mistakes like password sharing and phishing emails. Besides conducting regular audits, you’ll need to train the whole workforce appropriately, especially in a remote work environment.  

READ: Safe and Secure: How to Find a Trustworthy HR & Payroll Company

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