Emerging from the pandemic’s impact, organisations waved the back-to-office flag this year, ushering in an era of several hybrid work models that put the concept of remote work in the backseat.
The true game changer of 2023, however, was the arrival of GenAI in the daily grind. With Google Bard and ChatGPT at the forefront of these technological developments, the workplace witnessed massive disruption across all domains.
While every organisation attempted to embrace the advanced tech tools and harness their power, the efforts made one thing clear: the office is experiencing a remarkable transformation, and artificial intelligence (AI)-related innovations are the architects of the future workplace.
To navigate such a dynamic landscape, the human resources (HR) professionals need to be faster and more agile in adopting strategies that can help their organisations stay ahead of competition and create an environment that facilitates individual as well as collective success.
Here are some ways the HR can be better prepared for the workplace of 2024 and beyond:
AI technology began making waves in HR in 2023, changing the way the human resource professionals work and manage talent.
In the new year, GenAI will play a starring role in countless HR functions, everything from spotting the right talent, automated résumé screenings, completion of administrative tasks, to speeding up employee onboarding, and finding different ways of employee engagement and service delivery.
Even tasks like employee training can be made more effective using technology which, in turn, will allow HR professionals to focus more on forging human connections offline.
This year, the workplace was rocked by trends like quiet quitting (finishing one’s minimum work requirements without going above and beyond), indicating how important it is for companies to constantly offer employees avenues for growth, give them due compensation and options to add new skills to their CV.
As the pace of change driven by technological advances accelerates, constant skilling is likely to become a life-long practice, not just a calendar event, in people’s life who are looking for more from their jobs. That’s why it is important for the HR to identify skill gaps and strategise upskilling and reskilling initiatives that enhance workforce competencies and keep the employee content.
Performance and engagement were big priorities this year and will continue to be so going forward. Today’s employee wants to be treated as an individual, as an integral part of the company where they are working, and not as a number. That’s why they are seeking transparency in commu- nication as well as more growth opportunities within the organisation.
This is where HR’s role becomes important. They need to constantly create an environment that fosters trust, flexibility, and recognition. Strategies to support this include the implementation of cascading goals, and running engagement surveys and applying the results. Providing clarity on company objectives will also help to keep the workforce constantly motivated and in sync with the larger vision of the organization so that they feel a sense of belonging.
Another thing that came to the fore in 2023 was change fatigue. The workforce might have returned to the physical office, but people still haven’t completely recovered from the impact of the pandemic. This might prove to be a matter of concern when there are constant organizational changes, like leadership transitions or introduction of new technologies. HR teams will need to be vigilant in identifying and addressing change fatigue by building trust, open communication and team cohesion.
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) will never go out of style, and 2023 made it ample clear that having a diverse workforce isn’t merely a moral obligation, but a strategic necessity.
For, DEIB provides every individual an equal opportunity to do their best work, makes them feel valued and promotes fair treatment, all of which results in a more productive worker.
The HR needs to ensure that they aim for a workplace where diversity thrives and equity prevails.
When rapid change becomes a constant inside and outside work, an employee wants a manager they can connect with on a personal level.
In 2024, empathy will be a key trait for a leader, irrespective of the field and/or domain. HR can play a key role in guiding organisational leadership to respond empathetically, understanding each employee’s unique experiences and perspectives, and maintain employee morale and engagement.
The HR landscape in 2024 will be shaped by the need to balance technological advancements with a human-centric approach that fosters inclusive and engaging environments. Leaders must be equipped with the skills to manage dynamic and diverse teams, while remaining approachable and empathetic.
Mayank Kumar is co-founder and managing director of upGrad.