As we step into 2024, the landscape of employment culture continues to evolve, reshaping the way we think about work and leadership.
The trends emerging are not just fleeting changes; they are significant shifts that are setting the tone for the future of work. In this article, we delve into five key trends leaders need to be aware of to stay ahead in this dynamic environment.
1. Hybrid Working Is Here to Stay
We don’t need to tell you that the concept of hybrid working has evolved significantly in the lead up to 2024. It’s no longer just a matter of choosing between working from home or the office; it’s about creating a work environment that seamlessly integrates into our diverse lifestyles.
This evolution reflects a deeper understanding of work-life balance, transcending the traditional boundaries of the workplace.
A recent poll by research agency OnePoll found some key stats – both good and bad – when surveying over 1000 UK office workers:
- Only 30% of UK companies now work fully in-office.
- The reduction in commute is the primary driver in the preference for remote work.
- A quarter of respondents say it has made them feel disconnected from their team.
Companies are now recognising that flexibility in work arrangements isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Employees have unique needs and circumstances, ranging from managing personal health conditions to balancing family responsibilities.
This personalised approach to work is becoming a cornerstone of modern employment culture, supporting not just a diverse workforce but also enhancing overall productivity and job satisfaction.
As shown though, the hybrid model is not without risk. As well as team members feeling isolated, in the previously mentioned survey, 18% of participants said they have too many distractions at home, and 1 in 10 people say it’s had a negative effect on their mental health.
This demonstrates how vital it is, that SMT members and organisation leaders train their senior managers to communicate effectively with their teams, even when working remotely.
2. The Rise of In-Person Team Events and Sessions
In a post-pandemic world where remote work is prevalent, the significance of in-person team events has skyrocketed. These gatherings are becoming a crucial part of organisational culture, offering a unique opportunity for team bonding and development.
That’s not to say hybrid and virtual team-building events won’t increase in popularity, but the requirement for, and value of, in-person sessions will increase as a result.
Utilising tools like Insights Discovery, whether delivered internally or externally, these events can foster deeper understanding and stronger connections among team members, something that’s hard to replicate in a virtual environment.
3. Skill-Based Hiring Will Become More Prevalent
In the dawn of 2024, skill-based hiring is emerging as a crucial strategy in talent management, especially in sectors like financial services, media, life-sciences, and telecoms.
The employment landscape is evolving, leading employers to value adaptability, digital literacy, and specialised skills in candidates. Driven by remote work, technological advances, and global industry trends, there’s a shift towards prioritising job-relevant skills over traditional academic qualifications.
A late-2023 survey by Test Gorilla found that two-thirds of employers consider skill-based hiring more effective than CVs, three-quarters report it reduced their cost-to-hire, and nine out of ten organisations improved their retention rates with this approach.
These stats are indicative of the direction employee recruitment is heading in and we can only see this continuing to grow throughout 2024.
The changing skills landscape, where the half-life of skills is shortening, necessitates a more dynamic approach to hiring.
Organisations are increasingly acknowledging the value of matching candidates based on their proven abilities and potential for reskilling. This not only addresses immediate talent needs but also supports long-term strategic goals.
4. Organisation Leaders Are Looking to Improve on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
DEI initiatives have been commonplace over the last half-decade. However, post-Brexit we’re really seeing them become a focus for senior leaders within UK organisations. In 2024, advancing DEI requires more than a commitment on paper; it requires a strategic and data-driven approach.
This means assessing the current state of diversity and inclusion to identify specific challenges and opportunities for growth.
Tying into the rise in hybrid working, The Institute for Employment Studies says:
“DEI leaders must put people sustainability at the heart of business efforts, similar to environmental sustainability policies. Employers are beginning to see benefits of flexible working for a range of workers, including older workers, workers with disabilities, with health conditions, and with caring responsibilities.”
Combining an effective DEI strategy with line managers that are sensitive, informed, and culturally respectful will be key this year in ensuring organisations are as effective as possible, whilst embedding a positive workforce culture.
Find out more about how DEI can improve your team’s performance here.
5. Emphasis on Upskilling and Learning Cultures
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’ve been talking about the importance of upskilling for years now and we’re continuing to see it become more and more important for both organisational efficiency and effectiveness, as well as employee satisfaction and retention.
Thankfully, organisations are embracing this ethos and we’ve continued to see and support companies embedding their internal talent development programmes.
As we move into 2024, we anticipate this expanding further and becoming significantly more established within SME businesses – whereas previously it may have been an afterthought.
A focus on continuous learning is integral to this process. It involves creating an environment where collaboration, trust, and mutual understanding are as valued as technical skills. Leaders play a crucial role in this, not only by providing learning opportunities but also by cultivating a culture where every team member feels empowered to grow and contribute to the team’s objectives.
Tools like Insights Discovery are instrumental in this process, helping to map out the diverse personality types within a team and fostering a deeper appreciation of each member’s unique strengths and learning needs.
Bonus Point: Evolving Compensation Expectations
As highlighted by Forbes, the world of work is experiencing a shift in compensation expectations. The rise of “quiet quitting” and findings from the 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report underscore the importance of pay in employee satisfaction.
In 2024, leaders must address these needs with more flexible, transparent, and equitable compensation strategies. This includes considering off-cycle and on-demand pay options and recognising individual contributions in meaningful ways.
Although we all know that making predictions for the future means taking a gamble with fortune, these are a few of the workplace trends that look set to remain – and become more pronounced – throughout this year.
As a key takeaway, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for leaders to keep employee satisfaction (and therefor retention) at levels we’ve been used to for the past few decades.
So, to make sure you’re doing everything you can to negate this trend, this year your organisation should focus on setting strategic objectives for talent development, diversity and inclusion, and employee satisfaction scores.
Connect with Change Formation for Future-Ready Strategies
As we navigate these transformative employment culture trends this year, the need for emotionally intelligent leaders is evident. If you’d like to develop your own skills, get in touch for a no-obligation conversation about how we could help.
Similarly, if you’d like to get your team together to run an Insights Discovery session in 2024, to help develop their unity and cohesion, speak to our experts today.