During 2024, HR leaders will find themselves navigating a terrain where traditional paradigms give way to novel approaches. Staying ahead of the curve will remain essential in the fast-paced world of recruiting and talent management, even more so in the face of anticipated economic uncertainty early in the year, ongoing wars, geopolitical rivalries and the cost-of-living crisis caused by high inflation. No wonder the 2024 growth forecast is the lowest in decades, according to the IMF.
Drawing from our insights and the conversations we’ve been having with HR leaders across our customer base, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest trends we’re seeing and the strategies we believe will help you deliver HR excellence.
From embracing entrepreneurial spirit to drive digital transformation to redefining learning using social engagement methods and AI, this is Avature’s CEO Dimitri Boylan’s forecast for the HR trends of 2024.
HR Trend 1: HR Leaders Will Be Catalysts For Change
The role of HR professionals has evolved significantly over the years. We see 2024 as a point of inflection where HR leaders who are serious about getting a seat at the table — and keeping it — will consolidate their move to the front office.
How? By embracing their inner entrepreneurial spirit and becoming catalysts for change, as scary as this sounds. This approach emphasizes innovation, agility and a focus on driving business outcomes. The adopters will break away from the pack to become trusted C-suite advisors, sure-footed HR technology buyers that fit their vision, and producers of strategic programs that tune culture and reshape the workforce.
Unwilling to be digital transformation bystanders, these leaders will achieve breakout performance by creating in-house product design capabilities and strong teams of visionaries, designers, builders and optimizers who sort out the HR tech stack based on value and interoperability and deliver new digital solutions that are agile, responsive, cost-effective and impactful.
A digital transformation that doesn’t transform HR is probably not a successful digital transformation for the organization. Because we know that the organization wants to be agile. It wants to be competitive, and it’s going to depend on talent. HR leaders will have to find partners inside the organization that can honestly work together with them to make this happen.”
Avature Founder and CEO
In this sense, technology will continue its unrelenting march forward, driven partly by artificial intelligence, and all HR leaders will struggle to stay up-to-date with the latest developments. Some will demand more from technology; others will get confused.
What will change is that breakout performers will work differently and faster than ever before. Specifically, they will strategically drop AI into many different processing paths to surface better information more quickly, and they will incorporate social system engagement concepts into their digital solutions to compete for and win the attention of their workforce.
HR Trend 2: HR Leaders Will Adopt a Big-Picture Framework To Guide Digital Transformation
Siloed approaches to tackling talent challenges resulting from off-the-shelf shopping sprees aren’t providing HR leaders the visibility or agility they need to support successful transformation. So, in 2024, we expect a considerable uptick in the use of big-picture frameworks that help them adopt a more effective, holistic approach to big multi-software system design.
This engineering concept is not new. In order to build big complex systems, designers have always depended on frameworks. But this will be the first year HR really embraces frameworks to guide their transformation.
To drive impact and gain a competitive edge, HR leaders will need to reevaluate their business model, processes and systems and pursue their digital aspirations systematically.
An appropriate framework should empower organizations to strategize and accelerate transformation, balancing a long-term vision with immediate impact. At Avature, we propose the Total Talent Framework, a conceptual approach that goes beyond automation, data-driven changes, and the accumulation of technology to transform the entire operations and the workforce.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which framework you choose as long as it enables you to level up organizational maturity and progressively unlock digital agility.
A total talent framework is very useful when you have lots of people working on a common cause. This framework has to tie very directly into the technical programs you need to design —not just buy— to map directly back to the strategy,” said Boylan. “If you have talent as an objective and you want a digital transformation, you need a platform that services your talent needs. And so you can see how you can go wrong easily without a framework.”
Avature Founder and CEO
Organizations that drive transformation in a structured and holistic manner will be best positioned to drive business growth, increased customer and employee satisfaction and improved performance.
HR Trend 3: The State of Strategic Workforce Planning
While strategic workforce planning could take significant steps forward in 2024, for most organizations, it won’t. Many companies will continue their bifurcated approach to talent, with permanent hiring allocated to HR and contractor hiring to Purchasing, with little in the way of collaboration. While there is a great opportunity for strategic advantage here by joining forces, we expect few to find the digital path forward.
HR Trend 4: Talent-centric Solutions Will Replace Generic Ones
On a more positive note, we expect to see a continued reprioritization of talent-centric solutions over generic replacements of on-premise core HR systems with cloud-based HR systems.
In other words, modernizing and optimizing the workforce will trump the need to drop tech operating costs. This trend could reverse in 2025, particularly if economies slow and demand for talent slackens.
HR Trend 5: Learning Will Be Social
In an era of rapid technological advancements, required skills are constantly evolving, putting unrelenting pressure on rapid innovation.
Add to this the declining engagement with traditional learning systems, loss of human interaction due to remote or hybrid work, and alarming declines in competencies reported by educational institutions, and the stage is primed for a renewed focus on social learning.
HR leaders are going to have to have a fundamental understanding of how social systems work because they are changing society and the way people are going to interact with technology inside the organization. There is a new generation that lives in this medium, and they will have to understand how to put some of it to use and get some kind of business success from something technically social inside your organization. In a sense, they will have to have a very good understanding of how their technology plan promotes agility instead of preventing agility.”
Avature Founder and CEO
With HR leaders saying people with the right skill sets are harder to find than ever before, HR departments will be expected to champion agile learning methodologies, incorporating microlearning and personalized development plans to equip employees with the skills needed to adapt to evolving job requirements.
In conjunction with internal mobility strategies, social learning will extend beyond traditional promotions, creating pathways for skills-focused growth and fostering employee satisfaction.
A social approach to learning within organizations will become crucial to ensure knowledge is transferred from one generation to another. The best solutions in the market will enable employees to learn like they can on YouTube, TikTok and other channels, lifting proven design concepts, including the easy creation of user-generated content, the generation of algorithmically driven suggestions and the use of artificial intelligence.
HR teams that can harness next-generation technology to grow their company’s collective IQ will be best placed to drive their business toward its strategic objectives.
HR Trend 6: AI Will Reach the Peak of the Hype Cycle
Collins Dictionary picked artificial intelligence as the word of 2023, highlighting that AI will remain a trend that can’t be ignored. However, in 2024, the hype cycle will peak: every company will be an AI company, at least in spirit. One of the causes for this will be new legislation that will sober up buyers of AI. Many countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, have already expressed concern about the use of AI and the risks it might entail.
But 2024 will also be the year AI improves user experiences and starts to lower costs with better knowledge management and better predictions. AI features will continue to be offered natively at no additional cost in most cases, consistent with industry trends. A good example is Avature’s release of semantic search for all users.
On the other hand, HR buyers will begin to discern the difference between vendors that develop feature-specific AI, which supports multiple use cases in their products, and those that repackage and resell generic AI that is “bolted on” and not native. It will be the year that the AI roadmaps of software vendors become key purchasing criteria.
Chatbots, matching and knowledge management will take center stage, and predictive analytics will trail and not be overly relevant until 2025, mainly because AI systems will remain disconnected from the systems that generate the data. The evolution of AI inside corporate software will remain uncharted territory.
At the end of the day, AI is a prediction engine. And there are a lot of ways that you can win by predicting better in HR. You can match candidates to jobs better. You can do predictive analytics so that your recruiters are better able to forecast outcomes for hiring managers. You can use semantics to make finding people easier in full-text documents, you can make it easier to work across multiple languages. If you have a big global company and you’re working at the blue-collar level and down in different languages around the world, there are all kinds of great things you can do with AI.”
Avature Founder and CEO
Like with every sea change that comes along, the secret for modern organizations lies in cutting through the hype while seizing the opportunity of AI.
Thriving in 2024 will require technology that underpins business agility on which organizations can keep iterating and adapting, or else they will risk getting caught in a technology trap.
Because of this, it is essential to understand that HR transformation is not a tick-box exercise but a continuous improvement process. HR leaders who adopt an entrepreneurial mindset will be better equipped for future challenges and will set the blueprint for a new generation of change agents in the work environment.