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Millennials, Gen-Z Will Be Key Influencers of HR Priorities in 2024

Millennials and Gen-Z workers will be key influencers for what human resources leaders will prioritize in the upcoming year.

The fast growing ranks of these workers is reshaping how HR evaluates recruitment and retainment opportunities in 2024 and will lead to a shift from traditional ways on how companies find talent, JD Supra reports. “In today’s gig economy, HR leaders recognize the importance of tapping into the hidden workforce–freelancers, contractors, and remote workers who bring unique skills and perspectives to the table,” the publication reports. “By embracing this diverse pool of talent, organizations can access a broader range of expertise while promoting flexibility in work arrangements.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion will also become “non-negotiable priorities for HR leaders” despite concerns from many companies about how the U.S. Supreme Court 6-3 ruling in June to dismantle affirmative action in higher education might impact their recruitment and DEI efforts. “Organizations will go beyond simply paying lip service to these ideals; they will actively implement initiatives that promote equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their background or identity markers,” JD Supra reports.

Other areas of concern that will become more prominent with HR next year are being at the forefront in leading climate change adaptations in the workplace; increasing use of artificial intelligence for traditional HR responsibilities including recruitment and employee training programs; and moving from “work-life balance to work-life fit.”

“This new concept recognizes that achieving perfect balance between our personal and professional lives may not always be feasible or even desirable,” the publication notes. “Rather than rigidly separating the two realms, employees are encouraged to find a personalized blend that works for them.”

Leader and management development and organizational culture will become the two biggest focus areas for HR next year, business consulting firm Gartner finds from its HR Leaders Survey. The survey, which polled 520 HR leaders in July, also singles out HR technology, change management, and career management and mobility as top priorities.

“In 2024, the HR function will be impacted by several key trends: an unsettled employee-employer relationship, persistent skills shortage, transformative technology innovations and pressure to achieve operational efficiencies,” says Mark Whittle, vice president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice. More training is not necessarily the best approach to help managers become better leaders.

“Instead, organizations must focus on job manageability–making the manager job more manageable is five times more effective than skills proficiency in improving manager effectiveness,” Whittle said.

Organizational culture is a big weakness with HR “largely because HR leaders believe they don’t measure culture effectively nor do they know how to truly drive culture change,” Whittle noted. A crucial first step is understanding what the organization values so they can best reach their goals. “Second, with more organizations adopting hybrid work models, they can no longer rely on building employees’ connection to culture via osmosis and must be much more intentional,” Gartner reports.

Emphasis on controlling cost going into 2024 is leading more companies to reevaluate and even end programs they rolled out in 2020 and during the pandemic, Bloomberg reports.

An example of this is online job-search firm Indeed deciding to eliminate its “YOU Days” initiative that it introduced in June 2020, where employees were given a day off every month to focus on their mental well-being. The impetus for the program was due to tired employees taking fewer vacation days due to travel restrictions, but three years later workers have resumed taking time off at a similar rate as they did pre-COVID. “As a result, we have agreed that the global need for YOU Days has passed,” a company spokesperson said.

Employers launched “an unprecedented number of perks over the last three years,” said Tony Guadagni, research director at Gartner’s HR practice. “Many organizations are examining projected 2024 budgets and being forced to make difficult decisions about what benefits and perks to keep, and which will need to be phased out."

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