So we’ve broken out our crystal ball here lately, summing up the fall hiring surge and offering some thoughts about the job market that will close out the year. Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, we’d like to look even further forward to the trends most likely to shape next year.
Kind of like Christmas decorating, 2024 predictions are already going up—all over the internet. And we’d hate to be more than fashionably late to the party. So here are our thoughts on where hiring and retention will head in a few short months.
No escaping AI—but balancing it will be essential
Have you read enough about AI? We know, we know—the constant commentary is almost unavoidable online. 2024 impacts on HR are likely unavoidable as well. Fortunately, more tools are starting to live up to the hype.
We believe that AI will be a game-changer for some organizations in 2024. Key use cases include vetting large volumes of applications and “learning from” the data to improve efficiency and outcomes. Smarter chatbots could also take on some interviewing duties.
A word of warning, however. AI systems can accidentally “import” (we mean this metaphorically) human biases. Such systems recognize patterns, not the prejudices behind them. HR professionals will need to examine solutions carefully to avoid skewing hiring results in unfair directions, while also taking into account the rapidly evolving federal guidance and state and local legislative landscape.
But hey, most candidates prefer to encounter technology and people during the hiring process, so finding balance is a good long-term strategy.
Remote and hybrid work “grows up”
If AI is all the rage, remote and hybrid workplaces may be feeling a bit ho-hum by now. After several years of trial and error, many employers are prepared to implement effective remote and hybrid structures. What’s more, the back-to-the-office confrontations between management and employees are winding down into a lasting agreement about flexibility, whatever that means in a particular environment.
We look forward to seeing companies doing a better job of identifying and specifying which types of work should be done where, as well as upping their game in training and supporting employees on-site and at-home. Culture and collaboration, which in some cases took a hit during the pandemic days, will be front and center, no matter where and how people work.
Talk about a maturing field!
Companies go soft in recruitment and retention
More and more employers are recognizing the importance of soft skills—and not just in candidates they’re considering. Company HR teams are also honing their own capabilities.
For example, communications skills underlie an employer’s brand, so important today in attracting the right job seekers to your door. Candidate experience demands that HR professionals and recruiters put themselves in someone else’s shoes—a soft skill if we’ve ever seen one—and rework processes to meet their expectations. And then there’s culture, the watchword for companies that want to engage mission-focused Millennials and Gen-Z workers (not to mention Gen-X and Boomers who care about values, too!).
Making multigenerational magic
Speaking of generations, generational diversity in the workplace is exploding, with as many as four cohorts joining a single team.
Feel free to consult the stereotypes about feedback-obsessed Zoomers, team-focused Millennials, or bootstrapping Boomers. But the smartest organizations will empower workers to escape the pigeonholes. Yep, we’re back to those soft skills, like culture and communication, to help bring seemingly different groups together to achieve a common goal.
Throwing down the job gauntlet
Job descriptions will never be the same after 2024. Employers were already stripping biased language and crafting job postings to appeal to tightly targeted audiences. Next year, we’ll go even further, focusing less on educational qualifications and years of relevant experience and more on essential skills and potential.
Rather than merely describing a role, job descriptions will increasingly present an opportunity and convey what candidates will be challenged to achieve. Much more inspiring content!
Deep thoughts on employee experience
Free coffee is nice, but employees are looking beyond “perks” to understand how employers really view their contributions. Companies will continue to evolve compensation, incentives, work environment, training and advancement opportunities, employee well-being initiatives, and more to develop a holistic employee experience.
Have great programs and culture in place? You’ll want to use 2024 to find ways to enable current employees to share their experiences with prospects. Their perspective will carry more weight than any onboarding deck.
Not so crazy (yet)
We’ve seen coverage of how augmented reality is becoming a thing for on-the-job training and how the metaverse could become “the place” to find talent. Call us conservative, but we don’t believe most of the AR/VR/MR technologies will be ready for HR prime time in 2024. Fortunately, that leaves us some room to prognosticate some more come 2025. Stay tuned!