Business leaders faced a more uncertain situation in 2022 as expectations for employees returning to work changed, employee turnover increased, and many workers experienced burnout.
In 2023, organizations will continue to deal with challenges, including intense competition for workers, a tired workforce, and the need to control costs in the face of a potential economic downturn. Whether a company becomes a select employer will depend on how they respond to these issues.
Here are eight trends for the workplace in 2024, highlighting areas that leaders need to focus on in the coming year.
- Employers will hire in a subtler way.
Companies will adopt a strategy of “quiet hiring” to acquire new skills without hiring additional full-time staff. This involves promoting internal talent mobility, providing bonuses, salary increases, more paid time off, promotions, flexibility, and other benefits for employees taking on different roles. Additionally, organizations will offer targeted upskilling opportunities to help staff meet changing organizational needs. When adding more employees is not an option, alternative strategies like gig labor and alumni networks will be used to bring in individuals with specific skills for critical tasks.
- Front-line workers will have flexible schedules.
Front-line workers, such as those in manufacturing and healthcare, will be given more flexibility as the trend toward hybrid work continues. A poll showed that 58% of companies with front-line workers invested in improving the employee experience, and around one-third of those who didn’t plan to do so in the coming year. Workers want control over their work tasks, collaborators, and work hours. In 2024, leading organizations will provide support and training for managers to bridge the gap between employee expectations and leadership pressure.
- Organizations will broaden talent pipelines.
Companies must assess candidates based on their skills rather than traditional credentials and experience. This involves removing formal education and experience requirements from job postings and directly contacting candidates from nontraditional backgrounds. This strategy aims to address the changing career paths of employees and the challenge of meeting talent needs through traditional sourcing methods.
- Healing pandemic trauma will improve performance.
As the immediate threat of COVID-19 diminishes, employees are left dealing with long-term physical and emotional impacts. In 2023, leading organizations will support employees by offering proactive rest, discussion opportunities to address challenges, and trauma counseling for managers. These measures aim to enhance emotional resilience and performance while mitigating the negative effects of stress and worry on productivity and workplace dynamics.
- Organizations will push forward with DEI initiatives.
Despite pushback from some employees, organizations will continue efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). HR will play a crucial role in equipping managers with tools to engage resistant employees and address pushback early on. This includes creating safe spaces for discussion, tailoring communications to promote allyship, and providing guidance on how employees can contribute to DEI goals in their professional capacities.
- Employee data privacy will be a priority.
As organizations collect more personal information about employees using emerging technologies, there is a potential privacy crisis. In 2023, leading organizations will establish an employee data bill of rights to ensure healthy boundaries and overall well-being. HR leaders will prioritize transparency in how employee data is collected, used, and stored, allowing employees to opt out of practices they find objectionable.
- Organizations will address the erosion of social skills.
Employees, especially those new to the workforce, are struggling with eroded social skills. Organizations must redefine professionalism for their complete workforce rather than focusing exclusively on one generation. Leaders will build intentional connections among employees, emphasizing employee choice, clear structure, and a sense of levity and fun. Successful efforts to intentionally create relationships have been linked to high-performing teams and increased employee satisfaction.
In conclusion, organizations that address critical aspects of work, such as acquiring and retaining talent, supporting employees comprehensively, and ethically handling employee data, will distinguish themselves as preferred employers. By proactively designing future-of-work strategies, companies can position themselves for success in the evolving workplace landscape.