Lauren Winans, CEO of Next Level Benefits, predicts the trends that will fill HR directors’ agendas in 2024, including ensuring their corporate culture works for employees and not just shareholders.
Human resources is an ever-evolving component of the workplace. Employee expectations, employment regulations and the broader culture outside of the workplace are just a few of the factors that can trigger changes in the HR space. Consequently, HR teams must pay special attention to emerging trends.
Employees play a critical role in every workplace model but not necessarily a central role. Traditional workplace cultures can be driven by metrics, with KPIs and other data points informing the decisions made in the HR space. Shareholder-first cultures are another traditional model in which employees play a role strictly designed to serve shareholder returns.
A human-centric culture puts workers at the center of HR strategies through emphasizing improving workplace performance by enhancing the employee experience. Traditional management structures, processes and rules are adjusted to drive higher levels of employee satisfaction and wellness.
Achieving a human-centric culture involves creating a work environment that feels inclusive and psychologically safe. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are key components in a human-centric culture, as they empower employees to be open and honest about their feelings and values.
Encouraging autonomy is another key component of a human-centric culture. The trend toward greater workplace flexibility triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic is central to autonomy. Giving employees a say in how, when and where work gets done is an important step toward building a human-centric culture.
Leader and manager development
Today’s business leaders face a fresh list of challenges triggered by new expectations, uncertainties and opportunities. Businesses that don’t equip leaders to thrive in the new reality will quickly lose their competitive edge.
To support human-centric workplaces, leaders must have high levels of emotional intelligence. Their engagement must be marked by empathy, open communication and a focus on developing people. Leaders must be trained in procuring and responding to feedback, mentoring those they oversee and modeling a lifestyle that promotes employee well-being.
Development that empowers greater agility will also be crucial in 2024. Rapid technological advancement, especially in the area of artificial intelligence, is having a profound impact on the business world. Leaders and managers must develop skills that allow them to understand emerging trends and identify innovations that will allow businesses to stay relevant to consumers.
Resolving the productivity paradox
HR teams must resolve the paradox without compromising employee well-being and work-life balance, which can involve analyzing the effectiveness of technology provided to employees to gain insights on optimizing their impact. It can also involve ensuring employees have sufficient training to maximize their use of tools.
A number of non-technical factors can also play into the productivity paradox, such as unrealistic productivity goals and unclear performance expectations. HR can help in these areas by assessing and analyzing employee burnout and implementing well-being programs that ensure employee experience and engagement are healthy.