Six HR trends to watch in 2024
Happy new year! To kick off 2024, we’ve dug into some of the latest research to bring you six trends we expect HR to see over the next 12 months.
As the UK and the US gear up for general elections in 2024, the potential for significant democratic and policy changes looms large, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the HR landscape. The UK may witness political shifts around immigration, the economy, the NHS, the cost-of-living crisis, and flexible working practices, all of which will fundamentally impact HR.
Here are six of the trends we believe HR needs to watch our for in 2024.
1. Tightening immigration laws
Employers may find it harder to recruit international talent due to impending changes in immigration law: the government has increased the wage threshold for foreign workers to bring family members to the UK to £29,000 (from £18.600) in the first quarter of 2024, and the figure is expected to climb in a staged fashion.
This proposed increase in the wage thresholds could impact talent acquisition strategies, necessitating a proactive adjustment to HR resource plans and sourcing strategy.
2. Heightened focus on flexible working practices
With just 1 in 4 employers reporting that their employees fully comply with on-site attendance requirements, tension around flexible working practices is set to continue into 2024. This situation may be compounded in the UK as several laws are coming into effect this year which should bring a further focus on flexible working practices.
- From April 2024 flexible working requests will become a day-one right, removing the 26-week legal buffer that employers have previously benefited from.
- The Carer’s Leave Act will also come into force in April 2024 granting all employees 1 week of unpaid leave to care for a dependent from day one of employment.
- The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 (“the Act”) received Royal Assent this year and should come into effect in Q4 this year. If employees believe their work is too unpredictable, they have the right to request a more predictable working pattern, just like with a flexible working request.
Prudent employers will already be redeveloping their flexible working policies and practices in readiness for these changes. If you want a smart way to manage hybrid working and office attendance, Sense Presence could be a good tool to consider – learn more here.
3. Generative AI becoming a performance differentiator
Gartner’s research predicts that organisational adoption of generative AI APIs or generative AI-enabled applications will surge from less than 5% in 2023 to 80% by 2026.
Workforces will have at their fingertips the power to use generative AI to automate tasks, increase productivity, and enhance their personal and team capabilities. This may raise the bar, elevating generative AI- competency and advanced prompt engineering from a peripheral tool to a mission-critical performance differentiator within 2 years. Thus, generative AI is set to revolutionize HR processes and operations.
If you’re interested in learning how AI can work as part of your HR software, take a look at this.
4. Strikes and industrial action remain at high levels
The UK experienced an increase in strike action last year with over 4 million working days being lost to industrial action. This is higher than any point since 1989 and 9 times more than the yearly average of 450,000 days in the 2010s!
With the cost-of-living crisis set to continue in 2024, industrial unrest may be set to continue at these high levels.
HR managers will again be busy with contingency planning for industrial action and for ensuring that unions deliver minimum service levels during strikes as per new legislation.
5. Increasing change fatigue
Gartner’s research reveals that nearly 8 out of 10 leaders say their employees are feeling fatigued by constant organizational changes. HR teams face the uphill task of motivating a workforce that is increasingly skeptical about the benefits of ongoing transformations.
Striking the right balance between change initiatives and employee well-being becomes a critical challenge in 2024.
6. T-shaped career profiles
Due to rapidly changing business and worker needs, traditional career paths are failing to meet expectations. Static career paths, tied to job descriptions and organisation structures are leaving employees confused about their careers.
Gartner’s findings point to the continued emergence of T-shaped career profiles—individuals with a breadth of skills across disciplines (the top of the “T”) and deep expertise in a specific area (the vertical stem). This agile career approach aligns with the demands of an increasingly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world, providing flexibility for both employees and organizations.
In 2024 HR will need to negotiate political changes, technological advancements, and evolving employee expectations, meaning adaptability and foresight will be paramount. The ability to embrace generative AI, address the impact of legislative changes, and foster agile career development will enable HR teams to steer their organisations through the complex and dynamic HR landscape of the year ahead.