2024: ‘Key year’ for HR adapting to changes

HR trends report outline 'stark reality' for industry professionals

2024: ‘Key year’ for HR adapting to changes

Recruiting is the top HR priority for organizations in 2024, followed by providing a great employee experience, controlling labour costs, developing leaders, and supporting change.

“2024 will be a key year for HR to adapt to both known and unknown changes. Organizations are now faced with the stark reality that we can't plan for everything coming down the pipeline,” says Will Howard, director of HR research and advisory services at McLean & Company, which released the report.

The strategic partnership role of HR in planning and executing strategy has surged from 36 percent in 2021 to 50 percent in 2024. The report noted that organizations that view their HR function as a strategic partner are 2.7 times more likely to be highly effective at generating and implementing new ideas.

The report also examines five key skill categories, revealing a potential risk for organizations, with only 24 percent to 36 percent of non-office workers highly proficient in core leadership skills, and just 25 percent of respondents indicating that their HR team is effective in building talent

“The trends identified in the new report are not industry or region-specific, in the same way that the changes that impact us every day are no longer industry or region-specific. No matter the organization or location, HR organizations need to prepare themselves and their organizations for the future,” Howard adds.

Key HR trends for 2024

The report highlights that organizations that are not effective at designing a positive employee experience face 36 percent higher voluntary turnover rates. Those that are highly effective at making a positive employee experience are 2.5 times more likely to excel in adapting to new opportunities, and 2.4 times more likely to be high performing when it comes to workforce productivity, DEI, and shaping a strong organizational culture.

The report also found that 81 percent of organizations don't plan on making any significant changes to location flexibility, 88 percent for working hours, and 89 percent for time-off flexibility.

Organizations implementing generative AI cite increased (79 percent), while those highly effective in DEI are 1.9 times more likely to have a highly productive workforce. Furthermore, more than half of respondents said that, in select circumstances, their organization takes a public stance on political or social issues.

The role of HR productivity

The report acknowledges the pervasive disruptions experienced by employees across various facets of their lives, which also have a direct impact on their day-to-day experiences in the workplace. Organizations now recognize, more than ever, the critical need for HR's strategic leadership to navigate these challenges.

Yet despite this recognition, capacity remains a challenge, with stress levels among HR professionals surging from 34 percent in 2023 to 47 percent in 2024.

“As HR professionals are asked to do more with less, HR and organizational leaders need to focus on building broader organizational and employee capabilities to thrive through change, instead of trying to plan for every change on the horizon,” Howard says.

The HR Trends Survey 2024 from McLean & Company gathered insights from nearly 1,400 professionals from various industries, including education, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, insurance, and locations, including North America (79 percent), Europe (8 percent), Africa (5 percent), and Latin America, Middle East, Asia, and Oceania (2 percent).

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