Human Resources Challenges in 2024

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Human Resources Challenges in 2024

Author says changing needs of modern workforce caused realignment of HR priorities

AMARILLO, Texas — We face substantial human resources (HR) management challenges now, and this seems to press on us more insistently than ever before.  

Here in Q4 of 2023, I am concerned with what we can expect from 2024. What challenges will we face as we continue to adapt to the rapidly changing priorities in our field?  

I am by no means an HR professional, but this hat sits firmly and somewhat heavily on my head, as it does with many of us.  

According to Gartner’s annual HR priorities survey, leader and manager development tops the list of 2024 priorities for HR leaders with organizational culture, HR technology, change, career management and internal mobility rounding out the key focuses.  

The changing needs of the modern workforce have caused most of us to realign our priorities when considering our human capital. HR as we know it will need to reinvent its processes, switching the focus to driving value and brand home to our teams.  

HR will have to step up the activities, bringing meaningful enhancement to our new employment endeavors.

We feel that we are struggling. According to Gartner, more than three-quarters of employees have placed increased importance on manager support while managers juggle even more responsibilities than they can already handle.  

Should we be investing heavily in manager development courses, and when will we find the time to initiate these moves? Can we successfully allow the situation to evolve into supporting the managers and their employees?  

As leaders, we will likely reset our expectations, build or rebuild our leadership pipelines, evaluate our manager’s habits, and proactively address process barriers.    

HR managers are overwhelmed by the growth of their job responsibilities, and in this arena, leaders and managers aren’t properly equipped to lead change. These leaders have a huge impact on a company’s culture, performance and resilience. 

Leader and manager development can further boost employee engagement, increase organizational ability to deal with kinks in the talent pipeline, and reduce the stress and cost associated with turnover.

Organizational culture matters. It’s one of the biggest drivers for employee motivation, well-being, engagement and productivity. It has a significant impact on HR KPIs (key performance indicators), including attrition and retention.  

According to a 2023 survey by Built In, almost half of job seekers cite company culture as a top consideration when applying to a company.  

Conversely, 47% of active job seekers say organizational culture is their driving reason for looking for work and leaving their current employer. 

So, how can a manager have a direct impact on culture or employee experience?  

If managers offer little flexibility and are unapproachable, it will create an off-putting company culture that can drive younger employees to look elsewhere for their satisfaction. 

Employees who rate their managers poorly are far more likely to look for a new position. These same employees tend to believe a strong company culture is key to a business’ success. 

A positive work culture is linked to higher rates of employee engagement, which has been shown to improve productivity and profitability. Team members seem to innately understand the value of company culture is linked to their organization’s success.  

Leaders in our field know and recognize the impact a positive workplace culture has on our bottom line.  

There is plenty of information online regarding the importance of an organization’s culture. The culture within your organization defines if it is a happy and healthy place to work … or not. 

The “Great Reassessment,” I love this term, reflects a significant shift in employee priorities. 

People are reevaluating their lifestyles and values and have identified a serious disconnect between these reflections and their employers’ expectations. 

This shift is a result of the changes in the past two years, perhaps the biggest shift of work ever, forcing the challenge of immediate and decisive change management. 

The volume and pace of change can be overwhelming for employees and leaders, alike. Changes are now overlapping and ongoing, which can negatively impact employee well-being with devastating effects on critically important matters. 

We need to look ahead to see the coming change fatigue risks and build fatigue management into our plans to support successful transformation.

Looking at these things, incorporating change management into employee culture should assist employees in engaging these adjustments as the changes occur. Change management is even more essential for success now. 

A recent study by McKinsey found that most change initiatives fail. The high failure rate is due to several factors, including resistance to change, lack of communication and poor planning.  

When done effectively, change management can help organizations achieve their business goals more quickly and efficiently. By helping employees understand and embrace change, organizations can minimize disruption and maximize the benefits of change. 

We can expect more unsettled employee-employer relationships, and we will face continued pressures from the new talent market.

There are many viewpoints when discussing the value and importance of flexibility, productivity anxiety, and a sense of mistrust between employees and employers. 

Businesses must consider this for big-picture organizational initiatives. By doing so, we will address immediate organizational needs and will lay the groundwork for a sustainable future. 

Embracing these changes could be the solution for companies to create a work environment where employees engage and thrive, allowing our organizations and our industry to continue adapting and developing. 

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].