2024 is upon us, and with an ever-changing world, companies are already looking at their HR priorities for next year. We look at the common targets HR leaders want to focus on in 2024 and discuss how these could be achieved.
HR Priorities in 2024 According to Gartner
Current Issues for HR
Gartner, the American technological research and consulting firm, recently provided a webinar discussing the HR priorities for 2024. They began by highlighting some of the key issues HR leaders currently have to deal with, which included:
- Unsettled relationships between employees and employers. For example, while 45% of employees are worried about achieving their performance targets, 58% of employers are confident they will.
- Skill shortages, with 26% of CEOs ranking this as the most damaging factor to their business outlook.
- Increasing pressures for better efficiency. Over the past few years, Gartner has seen an increase in using keywords like ‘efficiency’ amongst CEOs.
HR Priorities To Target
After highlighting the issues currently faced by leaders in the industry, Gartner turned their attention to HR priorities for 2024. They outlined that the most important objectives for HR leaders next year included leader and manager development and organisation culture. This was followed by HR technology, which included generative AI like ChatGPT.
Regarding leader and management development, Gartner found that 75% of respondents felt their managers were overwhelmed by increasing workloads. Furthermore, 73% believed managers weren’t equipped to deal with new challenges. As such, Gartner stated that 48% of managers are at risk of failure. They explained the severity of this since employees are three times more likely to be retained if their manager is successful.
Then, concerning organisation culture, Gartner said that 47% of respondents are unsure how to achieve their desired target. They added that 41% believe hybrid working compromises employees’ connection with company culture.
A Common Theme Concerning HR Priorities in 2024
Gartner isn’t the only one who has analysed the HR priorities of leaders in the industry for next year, though. WorkBuzz, which offers employee engagement surveys, found HR leaders value employee retention, well-being and recruitment the most.
Moreover, Jared Pope, the founder and CEO of Work Shield, stated that utilising generative AI, addressing a return to the office, and focusing on a human-centric culture were all HR goals that should be focused on.
Therefore, clear HR trends can be seen among the priorities leaders in the industry want to focus on in 2024. Where Gartner found that respondents prioritise leader and manager development, WorkBuzz highlighted the importance of employee retention.
Furthermore, Gartner discussed the prioritisation of workplace culture. This links to the well-being and human-centric culture referred to by WorkBuzz and Work Shield’s CEO.
Finally, both Gartner and Mr Pope outline technology, like generative AI, as part of the objectives for HR to focus on next year. As such, these are the key HR goals that must be addressed going forward.
How can HR Leaders Tackle Their Priorities?
HR trends have highlighted the main priorities leaders in the industry want to target. Therefore, appropriate steps should be considered to tackle these HR priorities, and the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) has suggested solutions.
Leader and Management Development
As stated previously, management development, which Gartner outlined was linked to employee retention, is a priority for leaders in HR. Gartner added that simply training managers won’t reduce their workload or overwhelmed feelings, which could lead to their failure.
However, AIHR’s resolution of the ‘productivity paradox’ could help. They explained how, in recent years, workload has increased, yet productivity has stagnated. As such, minimising unnecessary meetings, utilising AI and developing work schedules that coincide with individuals’ most productive periods could present a solution.
Additionally, Gartner suggested that not everyone is cut out to be a manager. They said that developing manager-like behaviours from day one of someone’s career could help show who’s best suited to the role.
AIHR may have also offered a different solution, suggesting that, with the current skill shortage, employers should look to the ‘hidden workforce. They explain that around 25 million US people, including caregivers, ex-inmates and neurodiverse individuals, are part of this untapped unemployed potential. Although these are US figures, UK employers could utilise their hidden workforce to alleviate the workload pressures managers face.
Regardless of the route employers take, by ensuring managers succeed, they will also increase employee retention.
Improving well-being through a human-centric culture made up another key priority leaders in the industry wanted to focus on. Gartner stated that simply ensuring employees understood company values wasn’t enough. Employees need to identify, care and feel belonging with such values.
AIHR backs this sentiment, explaining that focusing on what people care about and actually doing it will positively impact a company. They also discussed re-imagining work-life balance as work-life fit. They said that each employee’s circumstances differ, so if employers attempt to meet their individual needs, they could create a better relationship and improve the workplace culture.
Gartner added how employers can tackle the employee disconnect they fear from hybrid working. They explained, previously a company’s culture grew through ‘in-office osmosis’ by being face-to-face. However, that can still be done, only this time through imprinting the company values in the work and processes employees complete daily.
Generative AI was the final key priority that kept appearing. Gartner explained that many HR departments are reluctant to use AI due to the unknown. However, AIHR said that it can improve the efficiency of writing tasks by 37% and work quality by 20%.
After discussing that HR leaders believe managers are overwhelmed by increasing workloads, AI could be part of the solution. Therefore, employers should consider embracing it, as AIHR suggested.
In conclusion, HR is set for another busy year in 2024, with increasing workloads and demand to improve. The HR priorities companies should focus on, include improving leader and management development, organisation culture and technology. With many solutions suggested, it will be up to the individual to determine the most appropriate one for them.
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