Top 7 HR trends for 2024

hr trends

How does the modernization of HR impact your company’s trajectory? 

If this still isn’t a priority in your business strategy, it’s time to make it one. According to Gartner, nearly 50% of employees view their current performance as unsustainable, and less than half trust their organization. In addition to cultural and performance strategies, the job market is extremely competitive, and attracting and retaining top talent becomes increasingly challenging as work models evolve and technological advancements change employees’ daily activities. According to the same Gartner research, 26% of CEOs rank talent shortage as the top damaging factor to business outlooks.

As businesses grapple with these challenges, the spotlight turns to leveraging HR technology and strategies to give companies a competitive edge. 

In the upcoming sections, we’ll explore top HR trends for 2024, focusing on how they can transform HR from a traditional support role to a strategic partner for organizational growth and success. Here are some of the trends we will discuss:

  • Remote work and hybrid models
  • Employee well-being and mental health support 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
  • Data-driven HR decision-making 
  • Automation and AI in HR
  • Continuous learning and skill development

Remote work and hybrid work models

As of 2023, a significant portion of the workforce has already embraced remote and hybrid work models, with 12.7% working fully remotely and 28.2% adopting a hybrid approach, according to WFHResearch. Despite this shift, a majority still work in-office, indicating that traditional work environments persist alongside evolving remote work practices. By 2025, the trend towards remote work is expected to grow, with projections indicating that 32.6 million Americans will work remotely, accounting for about 22% of the workforce, says Upwork.

Research indicates that the preference for remote work is overwhelmingly clear, with 98% of workers expressing the desire to work remotely at least part-time and 93% of employers planning to continue with remote job interviews. For HR leaders, understanding and adapting to these preferences is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. The financial aspect is also intriguing – remote workers earn on average $19,000 more than their in-office counterparts, and those in hybrid models report the highest average salaries, emphasizing the potential economic benefits of these work arrangements when workers are able to maximize their productivity. 

The financial implications for organizations are also significant. Employers can potentially save $11,000 per remote employee, but this comes with the responsibility of managing the complexities of employee cybersecurity, as evidenced by the 73% of executives that view remote workers as a greater security risk than those on-site, according to research conducted by OpenVPN.

Remote work can also pose challenges to employee well-being, a concern that HR leaders should make a concerted effort to address. Productivity issues also may arise when workers don’t have access to adequate remote work tools or feel burdened with manual labor associated with updating stakeholders and providing visibility on their tasks.

In this scenario, HR leaders are finding that business process automation (BPA) plays a crucial role in streamlining operations and enhancing productivity company-wide, especially when managing a distributed workforce. These tools can significantly reduce the administrative burden on both employees and managers, automating routine tasks and ensuring that workflows are managed efficiently and consistently. This is particularly valuable in a remote setting, where the lack of physical oversight can lead to potential inefficiencies or delays. 

Furthermore, process automation tools can play a critical role in addressing the challenges of communication and collaboration in a remote work environment, allowing for clear task delegation, progress tracking, and deadline management, all of which are essential in a dispersed work setting. This structure helps reduce the feelings of isolation and disconnection that some remote workers experience, ensuring members are on the same page, regardless of their physical location. This fosters a sense of unity and collective purpose among teams.

In addition to enhancing productivity and communication, business process automation also contributes to data security, a significant concern in remote work settings. Automated systems often come with robust security features that protect sensitive information and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. This aspect is crucial given the increased risks associated with remote work, where employees may be accessing company data from various, potentially unsecured, locations.

As we look towards 2024 and the expected rise in remote work by 2025, HR leaders are tasked with deepening their understanding of remote and hybrid models, creating policies and frameworks that support the benefits of remote work, such as increased productivity and work-life balance, while also addressing its challenges. HR strategies should focus on promoting digital wellness, fostering a sense of community and connection among remote teams, and ensuring cybersecurity in the remote work setup.

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Employee well-being and mental health support

Promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace will be another crucial focus for HR leaders globally. With the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that 15% of working-age adults live with a mental disorder, the impact of mental health on the workforce is both profound and multifaceted. This issue also transcends individual well-being, bearing significant economic consequences, with the global economy losing US$ 1 Trillion annually due to depression and anxiety, primarily from reduced productivity and work losses.

The complexities of mental health in the workplace present significant challenges for HR leaders. Mental disorders vary greatly among individuals in terms of difficulty and distress, and when unaddressed, these conditions can affect employees’ self-confidence, work enjoyment, and overall capacity to work. This can lead to increased absences, fewer employment opportunities, and ultimately impact both individual and societal economic stability

In this scenario, positive workplace environments play a significant role in supporting mental health by providing not only financial stability but also structured routines, positive relationships, and a sense of purpose.

A critical component of mental well-being in the workplace is work-life balance. According to Forbes Advisor, 51% of employees and 47% of employers identify this as their top priority in company culture. This shift in workplace values underscores the need for HR policies that support flexible working hours, remote work options, and consideration for employees’ personal responsibilities. 

Building trust within the workplace is another essential aspect of well-being. With 20% of employees emphasizing the importance of being trusted by their peers and superiors, and 27% of employers agreeing, trust becomes foundational to a positive work environment. In this context, manager training for mental health, mental health literacy and awareness training for workers, and individual interventions are also important steps for creating a supportive and inclusive environment.

It’s clear that, in 2024, the role of HR in promoting mental health at work will be more critical than ever. This encompasses securing commitment and resources, tackling stigma, coordinating multisectional approaches, and strengthening the evidence base for effective interventions. Key factors underpinning all strategies include leadership, investment, rights, integration, participation, evidence, and compliance. By focusing on these areas, HR leaders can create workplaces that not only support mental health and well-being, but also drive engagement, productivity, and organizational success.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

In recent years, the focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace has intensified, making it an essential component of organizational strategy. A Pew Research Center survey indicates that a majority of employed U.S. adults, about 56%, view increasing DEI at work positively. This positive outlook reflects a growing recognition of the importance of these initiatives.

Most workers have some level of DEI measures in their workplaces: 61% say their organization has policies ensuring fairness in hiring, pay, or promotions, and 52% report having DEI trainings or meetings. These statistics highlight the widespread adoption of DEI initiatives, but they also suggest that there is still room for expansion and deeper integration of these practices.

Also, despite the implementation of DEI measures, their perceived importance varies. About 32% of workers consider working in a racially and ethnically diverse environment extremely or very important, and only 28% place similar importance on age diversity. Furthermore, 26% value gender diversity, and 18% prioritize diversity in sexual orientation in their workplace. These figures suggest a disparity between the implementation of DEI initiatives and the value employees place on various aspects of diversity. 

When it comes to the impact of DEI measures, workers generally view them positively. The majority of those with access to DEI measures report a beneficial impact in their workplaces. However, only a small percentage of workers are actively engaged in affinity groups or employee resource groups, with just 6% being members. This low participation rate suggests that while DEI policies are in place, their active engagement and utilization might be lacking.

In this context, an important challenge and opportunity for HR in 2024 is ensuring that DEI policies are not just box-checking exercises, but are integrated into the fabric of the organization, influencing everything from hiring practices to day-to-day operations and organizational culture. This includes creating policies that reflect the diverse needs of the workforce and providing training and resources that enable all employees to understand and participate in DEI initiatives. Additionally, measuring the impact of these initiatives and continuously adapting them to meet the evolving needs of the workforce will be crucial. In doing so, HR can lead the way in building organizations that are not only diverse and inclusive but also equitable and successful.

Data-driven HR decision-making

Data-driven HR decision-making is poised to become a defining trend in 2024, shaping the way HR departments operate and influence overall business strategy. The imperative of effectively utilizing HR data is more crucial than ever, especially considering that only 26% of HR and IT executives are currently leveraging advanced HR technology and analytics effectively, as indicated by a Deloitte study. Bridging this gap is essential for HR leaders to drive strategic outcomes and address workforce management challenges comprehensively.

The potential applications of HR data analytics can impact several facets of HR management. In recruitment and onboarding, analytics can point out the most effective sourcing methods and streamline the hiring process, optimizing recruitment strategies by tracking applicant sources, time-to-hire and onboarding costs. Payroll management, a significant organizational expense, can benefit from insights into payroll costs and overtime expenses, leading to more effective cost management. In the critical area of diversity and inclusion, data analytics plays a key role in tracking diversity metrics and assessing pay equity, supporting the development of a more inclusive culture.

Benefits optimization is another area where HR analytics can make a significant impact. By evaluating which benefits are most valued by employees, HR can determine where cost efficiencies can be achieved, ensuring that benefit programs are effectively meeting employee needs. Employee engagement, another critical aspect for contemporary HR leaders, can be enhanced through data-driven insights, helping HR leaders understand engagement levels and identify contributing factors to low engagement.

The power of evidence-based decision-making is demonstrated by a study from Forrester Consulting, which highlights that businesses relying on data management tools are 58% more likely to surpass their revenue goals

To fully embrace the trend of data-driven decision-making in 2024, HR leaders have a powerful tool at their disposal: artificial intelligence. AI-powered HR systems are revolutionizing the way data is collected and analyzed, providing insights at a speed and depth that were previously unattainable. This rapid analysis enables HR leaders to make timely and data-driven decisions that can significantly impact employee engagement, productivity, and overall business outcomes.

Automation and AI in HR

According to Gartner, automation and generative AI are expected to have a substantial impact on HR activities. A recent survey shows that 84% of HR leaders expect existing activities will become more productive with the technology, and 63% expect generative AI to eliminate redundant activities in the department. There is also an expected impact on competitiveness: 76% of HR leaders believe that if their organization does not adopt and implement AI solutions in the next 12 to 24 months, they will be lagging in organizational success compared to those that do.

The influence of AI in HR spans the entire employee life cycle, touching upon aspects like HR operations, recruitment, learning and development, and talent management. Gartner points out that 53% of HR leaders are prioritizing AI for document generation, 52% for crafting job descriptions, and 51% for deploying employee-facing chatbots. This shift is reflective of a broader trend towards streamlining HR processes, enhancing employee experience, and ensuring that HR teams are focusing on strategic, value-added activities.

In terms of the employee life cycle, AI is set to reshape expectations around HR interactions and technologies. Generative AI becomes invaluable for tasks like content creation or documentation, as well as simple self-service requests, saving considerable time and effort. In talent acquisition, AI-driven automation streamlines the recruitment process, providing decision-making support during sourcing, engagement, screening, interviewing, and onboarding. An AI algorithm, for instance, might predict the most effective sourcing channels or automate the next steps based on online candidate information.

A particularly interesting application for HR leaders is integrating AI chatbots into the employee experience. These AI-driven chatbots offer real-time, conversational assistance to employees, addressing a wide range of HR-related queries from payroll and leave policies to training programs and performance management guidelines. This not only enhances employee experience but also substantially reduces the workload on HR staff, allowing them to concentrate on more strategic roles.

In addition to handling inquiries, AI chatbots can play a crucial role in onboarding new employees. They guide new hires through the onboarding process, providing them with necessary information, helping them complete required documentation, and even introducing them to company policies and culture. This automated guidance ensures that new employees feel welcomed and well-informed from day one, fostering a positive initial experience with the organization.

Furthermore, these chatbots can facilitate feedback collection and employee surveys, making it easier for HR to gauge employee sentiment and gather valuable insights. This capability is particularly useful for understanding the effectiveness of HR policies and initiatives, as well as for identifying areas that require improvement or change.

Process and workflow automation in large-scale enterprises, particularly in HR processes, is also emerging as a critical solution for managing extensive and complex department workflows, enabling HR departments to efficiently handle a high volume of requests and scale their operations. 

A significant game-changer to make automation even more powerful comes with the introduction of no-code software. This capability allows department workers to build and optimize workflows with no previous coding experience. It’s a significant leap forward, as it empowers HR professionals to gather data, leverage AI, and streamline processes without overburdening the IT department or waiting for complex software deployments.

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Other HR trends for 2024

Fostering organizational culture

In 2024, the task of fostering organizational culture, especially in hybrid work environments, has become a key focus for HR leaders. The challenges are evident: 41% of HR leaders report that employees’ connection to the company culture is weakened in hybrid settings, says Gartner. Furthermore, nearly half are unsure how to drive effective cultural change in these evolving work landscapes.

The hybrid work model has fundamentally shifted how organizational culture is experienced and maintained. Traditional culture, often built and reinforced through in-person interactions and a shared physical workspace, faces new hurdles in a hybrid setting. Reduced physical proximity necessitates innovative approaches to ensure employees remain connected to the core values and ethos of the organization.

One effective strategy is embedding the culture directly into the work itself. This approach involves ensuring employees understand the value and impact of their roles, transcending physical location. Auditing work processes to align with and reflect the organization’s values is crucial. This alignment can boost employee culture connectedness significantly, by up to 43%, according to Gartner.

Building emotional connections within the workforce is another vital aspect. HR can foster a deeper emotional bond with the organization’s mission by making its impacts tangible and creating meaningful ‘moments that matter.’ These moments, when shared and celebrated, can reinforce emotional ties and enhance cultural connectedness, potentially by up to 27%.

In a hybrid environment, focusing on micro-based experiences is also key. Adopting a flexible approach to the broader organizational culture allows teams to develop their own micro-cultures. This strategy not only accommodates varied work contexts but also promotes individual and team autonomy in fostering a sense of belonging and purpose. By recognizing and rewarding these individualized culture approaches, HR can increase connectedness by up to 19%.

Strategic implementation of these approaches is critical. Empowering employees to shape their work experiences ensures personal value alignment with the organization’s goals. Simultaneously, guiding teams to enhance shared experiences, especially those more impactful in person, can foster an inclusive and emotionally connected culture. Encouraging teams to build vibrant micro-cultures aligned with the broader organizational ethos supports diversified work contexts and reinforces a strong sense of belonging and purpose.

Change Management

In 2024, change management emerges as a crucial aspect for HR leaders to address, particularly in light of the growing phenomenon of change fatigue among employees. A staggering 77% of HR leaders report that their employees are experiencing fatigue, and 82% acknowledge that their managers are not well-equipped to lead change, says Gartner. This situation shows the urgent need for a refined approach to change management, one that not only navigates but also actively mitigates the adverse effects of change fatigue.

Change fatigue, a byproduct of continuous organizational transformations, significantly affects employee outcomes. Employees grappling with change fatigue exhibit a 42% lower intent to stay with their organization, a 17% decrease in their contributions, a 30% decline in trust levels, a 22% reduction in discretionary effort, a 27% decrease in sustainable performance and a 27% drop in responsiveness. These statistics paint a concerning picture of the impact of poorly managed change on employee well-being and productivity. Despite these challenges, only a small fraction of organizations — 8% — are confident in their plans to actively manage change fatigue. This gap between awareness and action can have devastating effects on key organizational outcomes.

Data indicates that only half of organizational transformations succeed, suggesting a significant disconnect in traditional change management approaches. While the conventional formula of “communication x training” remains essential, it falls short in addressing change fatigue. To drive successful transformation, organizations must anticipate change fatigue risks and integrate fatigue management strategies into their overall change management plans.

To effectively manage change, HR leaders should focus on identifying, preventing, and helping employees fix this issue.

The first step involves educating the workforce about the drivers of fatigue and equipping managers to recognize early signs of fatigue and to escalate turning points proactively. This proactive identification helps in addressing issues before they escalate into larger problems.

Addressing change fatigue requires actionable empathy from leadership. Facilitating open conversations about change and allowing employees to own their implementation plans are crucial. This approach encourages transparency, builds trust, and empowers employees to be part of the solution, rather than passive recipients of change.

Preventing change fatigue involves a more participatory approach in which employees co-create the change strategy. Building psychological safety into teams is essential, ensuring that employees feel secure to express concerns and suggest improvements. Normalizing proactive rest and recovery within the organizational culture is also key to preventing burnout and maintaining a resilient workforce.

Stay tuned for the latest HR trends 

Keeping up with HR trends is essential for any HR leader looking to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving field. As we delve into 2024, process automation and AI gain traction as some of the main allies for managers and analysts to do their best work, ensuring a positive employee experience company-wise.

Pipefy’s no-code platform empowers HR professionals to design and manage their processes independently. The no-code intuitive interface means that even those without technical backgrounds can create and adjust workflows as needed, ensuring that HR solutions are both customized and efficient, without overburdening IT.

With Pipefy AI, HR leaders gain the ability to delve into data analysis for informed decision-making on topics such as employee behavior, predicting recruitment trends, and measuring the effectiveness of HR initiatives. By providing insights into these areas, Pipefy AI helps in shaping strategies that are both data-driven and effective.

Pipefy AI’s Open AI/Chat GPT-powered chatbots also improve the HR experience for employees, providing instant responses to common HR queries, and aiding in areas such as onboarding and benefits information. 

As we continue to explore and share insights on the latest HR trends, Pipefy offers an effective, practical solution for HR leaders aiming to build a more responsive, data-driven, and employee-centric HR department, positioning your organization as a leader in the future of work.

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