Aparna Sharma

HR TRENDS IN 2024 | Aparna Sharma | Consulting Editor | The People Management

Aparna SharmaWith 2024 just around the corner, Human Resources professionals are contemplating the near future. Everyone is looking into that crystal ball to try and understand what the most pressing issues in talent management will be.

1. The Emergence of the “Hidden Workforce”
With so many employers still facing talent shortages, 2024 will be the year of the ‘hidden workforce.’ In 2024, you can expect to see more employees taking on technology and recruitment strategies that help them dig into this unexplored segment. Technology makes it easier to tap into the hidden workforce and simultaneously customize workflows so that diverse hires are set up with the right tools for success.

2. Prioritizing Data Privacy of Employees
With the shift towards remote work and digital operations, the importance of securing employee data escalates. HR departments are expected to introduce advanced data-protection measures and privacy-centric policies.

For instance, companies may adopt end-to-end encryption for internal communications and invest in training staff to recognize and mitigate data risks. This rising priority on data privacy not only safeguards against data breaches but also signals to employees that their personal information is respected and protected, further reinforcing their commitment to the company.

3. Integrating AI in HR
Many HR professionals will learn to leverage AI to their advantage. Notably, in recruitment, AI has shown efficiency through streamlined candidate screening, a reduction in unconscious bias, substantial time and cost savings, and an elevated candidate experience marked by prompt and personalized responses.

An HR trend that will increase is remote and hybrid work models. Many roles do not necessitate a physical office presence, and the benefits of remote work are manifold. All employers must critically evaluate their organizational structure to identify opportunities for implementing and optimizing remote and hybrid work arrangements.

4. Adapting to New Workforce Demographics
As workplace technology evolves, workforce demographics are growing as well, and many HR teams find themselves having to support and meet the needs of their workforce. Choosing to focus on one or the other is no longer a realistic solution, and HR needs to adapt its practices to serve both its aging and young workforce.

5. Rebranding HR as “People & Culture”
In the next year, more and more HR departments shall rebrand to “People & Culture.” This signals a systemic shift in how the function operates and views its role within an organization. It is the next step in the function’s evolution, which originated as “Personnel,” to the current state, “Human Resources.”

Today, more and more are rebranding to “People & Culture” to show the value and priority of the two most important aspects of their organization—the people and the culture. When both are thriving, the business will equally thrive. In contrast, if either is suffering, it will be evident in business outcomes. “People & Culture” teams play a critical role in shifting HR from a paper-first, transactional department to a people-first, transformational pillar of the business.

6. More Comprehensive DEI Initiatives
Another trend is a growing recognition of the need to encompass various aspects of diversity, including race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, within DEI initiatives. Organizations are expected to adopt more comprehensive and inclusive approaches. Additionally, there will be a continued focus on promoting mental health, emphasizing the creation of a supportive ethos, and offering resources. As remote work becomes prevalent, organizations will grapple with DEI challenges related to a globally diverse workforce, addressing cultural differences and remote inclusion.

Continuous education and training on DEI topics will therefore persist as a key trend, with a focus on cultivating an inclusive culture and minimizing bias. Also, there may be a greater push for transparency in reporting and accountability to showcase progress in DEI efforts.

7. Forward-Looking Hiring Strategies
In 2024, one significant trend in HR will be the intensifying competition for top talent. This development follows a period where companies have become more adept at retaining their existing talent pools post-pandemic. As a result, attracting the best candidates for new positions has become more challenging.

In response to this trend, HR and talent acquisition professionals should adopt a more forward-looking approach to their hiring plans. They should start the recruitment process early and maintain a consistent effort to build and nurture a talent pipeline. Fostering relationships with target talent ahead of time can also give companies a competitive edge in securing the right candidates when the need arises.

This proactive approach is vital in a job market where availability is often characterized by the urgency of yesterday’s needs.