The HR trends that could save your business in 2024

With 2023 at an end, businesses face a future fraught with challenges. Indeed, thinktanks predict that current hurdles – such as supply-chain disruptions, a volatile economy, and an enduring skills crisis – are likely to persist well into 2024, making staff retention a critical priority.

Why people matter

Henry Ford famously declared that “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success”. Although spoken many years ago, these words couldn’t ring truer today. Without the right people, your company would be unable to perform or even exist, which is why holding onto human capital is key to weathering the storm on the horizon.

An agitated talent pool

The issue is that the current workforce is unafraid to move around to get what it wants. PwC has revealed that 23% of UK employees plan to change jobs within the first six months of 2024 alone, highlighting the true extent of the problem. And with a cost-of-living crisis in full swing, we can only expect this unrest to get worse. In fact, salary springboarding – or job hopping in short succession until people reach their pay goals – is a particularly worrying trend that we can expect to see more of in 2024.

Employee value proposition (EVP)

Thankfully, companies can protect themselves from a looming talent exodus by expanding their employee value proposition (EVP) beyond monetary rewards. Whilst pay may be important, Michael Page found that the modern workforce holds other benefits in equally high esteem, with generous annual leave (59%), flexible working hours (55%) and healthcare provision (34%) all making it to the top of the list of priorities, alongside development opportunities (32%) and a fun working environment (31%). In other words, holding on to top talent all boils down to investing in people’s wellbeing and futures.

Employee engagement

A ship is only as good as its crew, which is why it’s so important to keep your employees loyal and happy. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, when employees are engaged in what they do, they are much more likely to report job satisfaction. Nevertheless, Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce report has revealed that the UK has one of the least engaged workforces in Europe.

Many employees will become disengaged due to a lack of career prospects or feeling undervalued. As such, implementing measures such as regular check-ins to discuss promotions and progression can really help to keep their head in the game. Likewise, simple reward schemes like ‘employee of the month’ can make all the difference when it comes to performance and motivation.

Another cause of disengagement to tackle in 2024, however, is burnout. The rate of change that companies have experienced throughout 2023 has been unprecedented, particularly given such rapid developments in AI. This can leave many employees grappling to keep up, with many eventually withdrawing from their team and tasks and potentially needing long-term time off. Future Forum – a research consortium backed by Slack – estimates that such burnout is likely to increase by as much as 40% in the year to come.

Employers must therefore do more to promote staff wellbeing, not just advocating for but also proactively introducing measures that foster good mental health. Appropriate access to services and support, regular check-ins and a culture of transparency, collaboration and understanding can all make a world of difference.

Introducing AI

Leveraging technologies like AI could also help to reduce some of the burden on staff – provided that you introduce it carefully. Digital solutions will become completely unavoidable in 2024, placing the onus on HR teams to manage the potential people fallout through good change management practices. For instance, by evaluating workforce readiness, explaining any changes in non-technical terms, and making it clear that people still play an invaluable role in your team, you can tackle any potential issues like resignations, rejection and burnout before they even show up. Ethical AI policies and best practices will likewise help with compliance.

Training and development

Training is just as vital, with LinkedIn research revealing that the skills required for jobs are likely to change by 65% by 2030. Far from limited to AI, upskilling in 2024 will be all about career agility, as the more people feel they are progressing personally, the more they are likely to stay. It’s a win-win strategy.

The human advantage

As business magnate, Richard Branson, often says, “the best investment any company can make in in its people”. As your biggest asset, investing in them will be the best way to navigate the forthcoming uncertainties of 2024, allowing you to respond with sustained resilience, competitive achievement, and unprecedented success.