What HR Headaches Will Keep Every Business Leader Awake in 2024?

Published on
December 13, 2023
The BetterManager Team
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The upcoming year presents a pivotal phase for CHROs and HR leaders as we inch closer to normalcy post-pandemic, the workforce gears up for another year of transformation, embracing a hybrid blend of remote and onsite work arrangements. But it's not just about physical settings; it's a nuanced balancing act between employee preferences and organizational productivity.

From the resurgence of internal hiring to the profound impact of up-leveled manager communication skills, the stage is set for a profound shift. Moreover, with burnout looming as a persistent threat and the emergence of micro-training as the new norm, the CHRO's mandate extends beyond conventional strategies.

These six workplace trends are poised to redefine the fabric of organizations in 2024, steering the course for a future where adaptability and empathy reign supreme.

What HR and L&D trends to anticipate in 2024?

1. Return-to-Onsite Work Policies

Amid the Pandemic, remote work offered employees a better work-life balance and often boosted productivity. Returning entirely to onsite work might face resistance and hinder productivity. Companies will likely update their return-to-work policies to find a middle ground, highlighting remote work as an employee benefit. Expect hybrid models like remote work, part-time schedules, or compressed workweeks to accommodate diverse employee needs. Employees may have weekly meetings with supervisors for updates and monthly onsite team meetings. As we navigate this new virtual landscape, effective leaders should grasp perspectives, manage workloads, and foster collaboration to enhance productivity.

Tip: Anticipate regular meetings with supervisors once a week to discuss specific needs and assess what's effective and what's not. Additionally, prepare for monthly in-person team gatherings. In this evolving virtual landscape, top-notch leaders grasp diverse perspectives, manage workloads effectively, and drive collaboration and teamwork to boost productivity.

2. L&D Development ROI Makes the Business Case

If you're aiming to steer your organization towards growth, whether in HR, an executive role, or a leadership position, it's crucial to make coaching and training programs catalysts for financial success. Prioritize aligning these initiatives with your company's strategic goals, proving their contribution to these objectives.

A recent survey by the Fossiker Group and BetterManager included 752 U.S., U.K., and Canadian leadership development professionals. This survey revealed an ROI ranging from $3 to $11, averaging an impressive $7 return for every $1 spent on leadership development. It's striking that 84% of respondents mentioned their companies prioritize investing in leadership development for 2024. Moreover, a staggering 99% intend to either maintain or increase their spending on leadership development in the coming year.

In the realm of Learning and Development (L&D), expect a heightened emphasis on showcasing the tangible ROI of leadership development programs. This includes boosting sales revenue linked directly to leadership training, reducing turnover, and cutting costs by promoting internally. These measurable benefits, such as lower attrition rates and higher rates of internal promotions, will take center stage in discussions about the value of leadership development.

Tip: Align your training and coaching initiatives with the company's strategic goals to ensure they drive financial success. Focus on demonstrating the tangible return on investment (ROI) from leadership development programs, emphasizing metrics like increased sales revenue linked to leadership training, savings due to improved retention rates, and reduced costs from promoting internally. Highlighting these measurable benefits will strengthen the case for continued investment in leadership development.

3. Increased Internal Hiring and Promotions

The era of the Great Resignation and the chaotic upheaval of layoffs, reorganizations, and strategy shifts during and after Covid have passed. With the sustained economic upturn and ongoing deflation, along with the stability following the Covid period and the cessation of related policies, anticipate employees to remain in their positions. This stability allows companies to naturally focus internally to identify vital hires and bridge leadership gaps with confidence.

Tip: 87% of surveyed companies are likely or extremely likely to invest in L&D over next 12 months

4. Up-Leveling Manager Communication Skills

Companies prioritize heavy investment in upskilling team managers' communication and leadership abilities, often overlooked in the past.

Focus areas include:

  • Emotional Intelligence, highlighting empathy and compassion for better team understanding.
  • Communication strategies include mastering difficult conversations and providing consistent feedback.
  • Strengthening middle managers' coaching skills by emphasizing team strengths.
  • Training managers not just for their current roles but preparing them for future ones, impacting succession planning and retaining employees.
  • Diversified options for upscaling manager skills ensure readiness for varied roles.
  • Not everyone is suited to be a manager; different skills cater to different positions.
  • Senior leaders benefit from having a designated "thought partner" for support and guidance.

Tip: Vendor Vetting: Tips for Finding the Ideal Partner for Leadership Development
Discover vital criteria, expert perspectives, and key factors to aid you in selecting the perfect partner for your pursuit of leadership excellence in 2024.

5. Burnout Boomerang

Anticipate heightened company emphasis on Mental Health and Stress Support programs. The staffing challenges, unparalleled turbulence, and persistent demand for heightened productivity led to unprecedented burnout among numerous teams. A stressed employee typically performs less effectively and feels less content. Enhanced managerial training can facilitate better understanding through the approach of "Ask, don't load," recognizing stress indicators, and conducting more frequent check-ins with team members.

Tip: Listen to our podcast episode on Navigating Burnout to Balance for practical strategies and insights to help individuals, organizations, and leaders recognize and combat burnout.

6. Shift to Micro Training

Yet another casualty of the post-Covid era is the outdated training paradigm. It's now a relic of the past. Stepping into the spotlight is a new era centered on amplified micro-training, targeting strategy and goal alignment, team-building, and nurturing relationships.

This will include increased:

  • Microlearning opportunities enable the acquisition of skills in brief intervals.
  • Training delivery methods, such as subscription-based models, offer self-paced learning.
  • Tailoring training to specific groups—Emerging Managers, Accelerators, and Business Drivers—addresses their unique skill requirements and support needs.

As we look towards the horizon of 2024, CHROs face these six pivotal workplace trends that demand their keen attention in the upcoming year. The year ahead anticipates these trends to profoundly impact HR management, reshaping its core principles. Navigating this transformative era will involve embracing the evolution of remote work, formulating upskilling strategies, and prioritizing mental health support to steer HR on its course.

View the episode transcript

The future of work has arrived. It's time to thrive.