This Year at Work: What You Need to Know to Succeed in 2024Jan 16, 2024
From the pandemic and ChatGPT to the Great Resignation and “Quiet Quitting,” employees and leaders have weathered a lot in the past few years. Just when we adjust to one norm, something new upends the workplace.
Let’s face it—change is inevitable. The only way forward is to adapt and grow. While we can’t possibly know what’s next, it’s still helpful to consider what might be around the bend.
Here’s what experts predict 2024 will hold for the U.S. workforce and what it means for you.
Remote work will shift toward hybrid work arrangements.
The pandemic forced employers to figure out how to ditch the office and go online. And, for many companies, the change stuck. Now, four years later, the pendulum has begun to swing back toward the middle—a blend of working from home and the office. More than 70 percent of U.S. companies have already adopted a hybrid work model, and experts expect this trend to continue and grow this year. Gen Z employees are among those who most prefer this best-of-both-worlds arrangement.
What This Means for You: If you’re on either side of a hiring conversation this year, expect flexible work arrangements to come up. Know what you want as far as remote work goes, but be willing to compromise. Also, tune into the conversations happening around remote work in your particular industry as those will likely matter more to your business than overall trends.
An uncertain economic future will lead more employees to stay put.
The last few years have seen high levels of volatility in the hiring market with record numbers of employees finding new roles or exiting the workforce altogether. HR professionals predict that 2024 will hold more stability. One hiring expert is already heralding this year as “The Great Stay,” saying employees seem to be more risk-averse now than in the past.
What This Means for You: Some companies may be tempted to reduce focus on acquisition and retention efforts. If you’re a leader, now is a great time to stand out by continuing to invest in your employees. Keeping great talent is never a guarantee and finding new hires remains time-consuming and expensive. If you’re the one eyeing a new role, recognize that your bargaining power might not be as strong as it was several months ago. So, don’t neglect the important details, like your LinkedIn presence, to put your best foot forward.
Generative AI will upend traditional recruiting.
The ubiquitous nature of generative AI will likely affect not only how employers sift through applications but also how prospects apply to jobs. AI makes it easier than ever to whip together a cover letter and submit dozens of applications quickly. That creates challenges for employers. Experts predict AI will continue to explode to solve recruiting-specific problems. Still, skepticism and caution around fairness will likely keep some companies from diving in headfirst.
What This Means for You: Because regulation hasn’t quite caught up to our current technology boom, knowing how and when to augment your recruiting process with AI will be tricky. Proceed with caution and lean into the hard questions. Remember at the end of the day, you’re humans hiring other humans. As an applicant, don’t get lazy. If you do use AI, take the time to round out your application and present yourself in the best possible light.
Gen Z will make up a larger part of the workforce.
By now, Gen Z already makes up nearly a quarter of the workforce. That percentage will only tick up in the coming years. Having grown up in the digital age, lived through the 2009 recession, and graduated amidst a worldwide pandemic, members of this generation tend to be tech-savvy, focused on wellness, and motivated by financial success. In 2024, the workplace is expected to continue to shift from catering to the needs and wants of older generations to those of this dynamic new one.
What This Means for You: You can no longer ignore the unique demands and skills of Gen Z. The pandemic affected formal and informal education for many in this generation, so, according to some research, employers may need to invest more heavily in developing the soft skills of their younger workers. At the same time, the purpose-oriented, side-hustling, tech-savvy generation can be your biggest asset if you take the time to understand them.
Workers will continue to harness the power of generative AI.
More than a temporary fad, generative AI is reshaping nearly all aspects of work as we know it. Forbes reports that a whopping 60 percent of workers will use AI this year to complete their work. Many companies are still in the process of establishing formal strategic initiatives around generative AI, but employees won’t wait for official company policies and tools. Many workers are closing the gap in enterprise-level tools with their personal AI ones.
What This Means for You: Employers need to take the lead on establishing clear guidelines for AI. Be realistic about the way workers are already using AI when considering the extent to which your business will harness AI. Employees, make an effort to understand company guidance on AI use, but also be willing to do your own research. Ask yourself: is the way you’re using AI ethical? Is it helpful? The answers to those questions matter.
If history is any indication, there’s a chance of a few surprises this year. We can’t anticipate everything. Understanding the way workplace trends are moving, however, can prepare you for the future. Armed with the right blend of preparation and adaptability, this year can be one of great success.
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