Keep up with the latest hiring trends!
2023 was a difficult year.
How many times has that sentence be uttered?! From lingering economic uncertainty to the swathes of layoffs, social unrest, and rapid technological advances, the past year was been marked by a continuous series of uncomfortable events that have left the vast majority of us spent – and with good reason.
And while these last twelve months have not been perfect, they also represent an opportunity for us to learn from these faults, understand what’s important, and make the necessary adjustments needed to get back on track.
For the workplace, this means two (slightly contradictory!) things:
- Back to basics: Zero in on the simple, known things to steady the ship.
- Future focused: Embrace change and adopt a forward-thinking mindset.
What do we mean by this? The workplace is in a state of flux right now and it’s important to shore up certain foundational elements like leadership development and creating a culture of L&D, while also keeping on the pulse of trends that can accelerate a business into the future, like AI.
So for this article, we’re going to be digging in to five most important workplace trends for 2024 – let’s get into it!
1. The AI Surge
How could a trends report not mention artificial intelligence? While 2023 was the dawning of the AI renaissance, 2024 will be the year organizations truly look to embed it into their daily routines. Rightly put by Josh Bersin, “AI is going to be everywhere…we’re just getting started with this. In a year’s time it’ll be another order of magnitude better.” In fact, McKinsey research believes that by 2030, as much as 70% of business activities could be automated by AI – it’s truly mind blowing.
What started out as fun “have you seen what ChatGPT can do?” demonstrations has evolved into tangible capabilities for workplace success at a lightning pace. We are all going to be powered by AI soon, in the same way we rely on the internet or word-processing – and companies will have to adapt and embrace. This isn’t something that can be ignored.
90% of leaders think their organization should be using generative AI, but 60% say, in practice, they rarely do. There is a disconnect right now between the speed of progress and the speed of adoption. People are overwhelmed by the potential of AI, the pressure to use it, the changing nature of the beast, and the unknown. But inaction is not the answer. Speaking during our SocialTalent Live event, our resident AI-expert, Maisha Cannon, says:
“Be open and experiment – I know there is a lot of reservation and AI-caution right now, but see how GPT can remove the drudgery from your day and let you focus on what energizes you.”
We love this klaxon for experimentation. If you’re a recruiter, see how AI can help you create more targeted outreach. Are you a manager struggling to engage your team? See how ChatGPT can create more efficient and thought-provoking one-to-ones. Rather than being paralyzed by fear, jump in, have fun, and see how AI can improve your workflows. From here, it’s about education – this resource is only finding its feet as well, so become part of the discussion rather than glancing in from the sidelines.
Learn more: 20 Essential ChatGPT Prompts for Recruiters
2. Leaders Need to Level-Up
The penny has been slowly dropping about the need for a different kind of leader. Given how much the workplace has changed, from the increase in hybrid to the growth in importance of employee engagement, leadership itself requires a remodel in order to adapt.
But herein lies the problem – leadership training is being massively overlooked. Recent research we conducted found that only 36% of managers and leaders are undertaking development learning, and almost a quarter have received no leadership training at all. We know how vital leaders are in the success of a workplace, so why isn’t L&D made a priority?
Coursera’s Job Skills Report for 2024 notes that given the macroeconomic concerns and constant atmosphere of change, “people management skills” have become an enormous priority. Leaders need to be nimble, compassionate, and keep their teams engaged and aligned – but are organizations planning for this? The best leaders can get the best out of their people. Poor leaders cripple positive cultures and taint innovation. It’s not enough to hope that your managers and execs are doing a good job, you have to enable them and provide the tools to succeed in this new world of leadership.
We could wax lyrical about the importance of leadership for hours, but our good friend and renowned CPO, Pat Wadors, can always sum it up best:
SocialTalent’s Leadership Training features courses from the renowned Marshall Goldsmith, Jason Lauritsen, Dr. Bev Kaye, and so many more. Check it out!
3. DEI in Danger
The modern workplace has a bit of a magpie tendency – when something is in focus, it gets full attention. During the pandemic, it was all all about remote work and empathy, during the The Great Resignation retention and engagement became the hot topic, and right now AI is dominating headlines. But the problem with this approach is that when something isn’t en vogue, it falls out of favor.
When the George Floyd murder dominated the news, diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns rocketed in response. Organizations stood up and took notice, understanding that promoting DEI was the right thing to do. But a few years on and it seems that this impetus is losing steam. According to a Lattice report, DEI programs have dropped on the priority list, falling from 30% in 2022 to a mere 17% in 2023.
Coupled with tough economic headwinds, DEI’s momentum could be crippled even further – but we believe this is a huge mistake. 2024 needs to re-embed DEI into the conversation. While it’s disheartening to have to keep banging this drum, in an environment where skills are in worrying supply, innovation is a key marker of success, and talent is demanding equity, DEI is the answer. We know this! We cannot (and should not) turn our backs on the quest to ensure workplaces are diverse, inclusive environments – DEI is not a fad.
4. Lifelong Learning
In the past, the concept of ‘one-and-done’ learning was prevalent. Employees would receive education and training early in their careers, with the assumption that this would suffice for their entire professional journey. However, as we step into 2024, this approach is not only outdated but also detrimental to both individual and organizational success. The pace of change in technology, market dynamics, and global connectivity has rendered static learning ineffective. Instead, embracing a culture of continuous learning has become a non-negotiable attribute of the best workplaces.
Given that the shelf life of skills is shorter than ever, the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn is the new currency in the job market. Continuous learning encourages curiosity, experimentation, and the willingness to challenge the status quo.
At SocialTalent, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of a robust L&D strategy. Companies that prioritize learning are more productive, as their employees are more engaged, motivated, and equipped to tackle challenges effectively. Moreover, a commitment to lifelong learning is a significant factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Today’s workforce, especially the younger generation, values personal and professional growth opportunities. Organizations that can provide these opportunities are more likely to draw in and keep high-caliber employees.
Lifelong learning should not be a sporadic or tick-box exercise. It needs to be an integral part of the company’s culture, where learning opportunities are readily available, encouraged, and recognized.
5. Future Skills
The right skillset is going to become the single greatest factor when it comes to business success in 2024 and beyond. As HBR states: “advances in technology are changing the demand for skills at an accelerated pace.” While certain hard skills are always going to be essential, soft skills are becoming increasingly critical.
No matter what report you read, the list of priority skills remain remarkably similar:
- Analytical thinking
- Resilience, flexibility, and agility
- Learning mentality
Employees who excel in these areas are tailor-made to thrive in this evolving workplace, particularly with the advent of AI. However, in order to find and leverage these skills in a sustainable manner, it will necessitate a mindset shift from organizations.
We’re going to see a departure from the typical employee lifecycle. How we hire, lead, and engage talent will focus less on the formal aspects of job functions and qualifications, and instead weigh heavily on the skills and experience an individual can demonstrate and learn. With access to the right training, companies can nurture and build a workforce primed to tackle the future workplace in a manner that’s adaptable and scalable.
Despite the economic rollercoaster and the whirlwind of social and technological changes, we’ve learned valuable lessons from 2023. Now, we’re ready to leap into 2024 with a renewed spirit. In the workplace, it’s time for a dual approach: reinforcing our foundations while embracing futuristic trends. This isn’t just about keeping up; it’s about leading the charge and turning challenges into opportunities.
Artificial Intelligence has moved from being a sci-fi fantasy to an everyday tool. It’s time we play, experiment, and integrate AI into our workflows, transforming the mundane into the extraordinary. Leadership, too, needs a revamp – compassionate, adaptable leaders are an imperative, steering teams through these dynamic times.
And let’s not sideline DEI – it’s essential, not optional. As we step into 2024, we must commit to creating inclusive, vibrant workplaces where diversity and learning is celebrated. Here’s to a year of embracing change, championing growth, and making our workplaces not just productive, but truly remarkable. 2024, we’re ready for you!