As we approach the end of the year, HR professionals must look towards the future. With the beginning of a new year comes new opportunities and challenges.
Flexibility is a growing concern for leaders, with just 26 per cent of organisations reporting that their employees comply with back-to-office mandates, according to Gartner’s Top 5 HR Trends and Priorities for 2024 report.
On the other hand, half of the workforce view their current productivity as “unsustainable,” highlighting risks of burnout. This is brewing distrust, with only 50 per cent of employees trusting their employer.
Talent shortages are persisting as a threat to businesses, with 26 per cent of chief executives ranking it as the top damaging factor to their organisation.
Meanwhile, the uncertainty surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) remains prevalent, with just 22 per cent of HR professionals highly engaged in company-wide discussions on AI. Despite this, 68 per cent of executives see the benefits of this tech.
So, how best can leaders approach these various challenges and opportunities? Gartner provided five key considerations HR leaders should be aware of:
1. Leader and manager development
Managers are feeling the pressure, and employers who don’t alleviate the stress could fall behind.
According to Gartner, 75 per cent of HR leaders said their managers are overwhelmed by the growth of their job responsibilities, and 73 per cent believe their managers aren’t equipped to lead change.
Addressing these issues should be a top priority in the coming year. Garner listed some ways to help mitigate these issues:
- Reset role expectations (1.4 times more likely to find jobs manageable).
- Rebuild manager pipeline (2.3 times to find jobs more manageable).
- Rewire manager habits (Improved job manageability by 71 per cent).
- Remove process hurdles (1.4 times more likely to find jobs manageable).
2. Organisational culture
The rise in remote and hybrid work has compromised workplace culture, according to 41 per cent of HR leaders. Meanwhile, 47 per cent of HR leaders don’t know how to drive change to achieve the desired culture.
Building connectedness should be the key goal in assisting with culture development, said Gartner. This is done by “enabling employees to engage with the culture wherever they work, establishing an emotional connection and equipping teams to create vibrant and healthy microcultures. By prioritising these elements, organisations can create a strong culture that drives employee engagement, enhances productivity and fosters a sense of belonging and purpose,” the report said.
3. HR technology
Tech is unsurprisingly going to play a significant factor in how future HR teams function. With systems constantly expanding, it can be hard to keep up with the advancements.
There is also hesitation from HR leaders, with 60 per cent uncertain about the impact of tech trends, such as generative AI. Similarly, 56 per cent believe their HR technology solutions and strategy do not match their current and future business needs.
Finding a balance is key, and Gartner said four things should be considered before tech implementation:
- Workforce readiness
- Risks and ethics
- Vendor landscape
4. Change management
Continuous change in the workforce is reportedly causing employee disempowerment. In fact, 77 per cent of HR leaders said their workers are feeling fatigued, and 82 per cent believe their managers aren’t equipped to handle change.
Dubbed “change fatigue”, it can have significant effects on employees, such as:
- Forty-two per cent less intent to stay.
- Thirty per cent lower levels of trust.
- Twenty-seven per cent less sustainable performance.
- Twenty-seven per cent less responsiveness.
- Twenty-two per cent less discretionary effort.
- Seventeen per cent less enterprise contribution.
Gartner noted that a combination of communication and training is effective in dealing with these challenges. “Organisations must plan ahead for change fatigue risks and build fatigue management into their plan to drive successful transformation,” said the report.
5. Career management and internal mobility
“Due to rapidly changing business and employee needs, traditional career maps no longer fulfil business requirements or employee expectations. Outdated career paths leave employees needing help with how to proceed with their careers at their current organisations,” commented Gartner.
There are definite issues with the current career management systems, as 89 per cent of HR leaders said career paths at their organisations are unclear. They also aren’t effective, as 66 per cent said the career paths aren’t compelling.
Gartner noted that the best way to approach internal mobility is to “stop traditional career pathing to a fixed destination” and “start agile career pathing to a changing destination”.
Change management is the process of guiding workers through a change by monitoring its effect on their output, morale, and other stakeholders is part of the change. This can be carried out constantly or on a set schedule, such as weekly, monthly, or yearly.