2023 was a difficult year.
How many times has that sentence been said?! From persistent economic uncertainty to the many layoffs, social unrest and rapid technological advancements, the past year has been marked by a continued series of uncomfortable events that have left the vast majority of us in stitches – and for good reason.
And while the last twelve months haven’t been perfect, they also provide us with an opportunity to learn from these mistakes, understand what’s important, and make the necessary adjustments needed to get back on track.
For the workplace, this means two (somewhat contradictory!) things:
- Back to basic: Focus on the simple, familiar things to steady the ship.
- Future-oriented: Embrace change and adopt a progressive mindset.
What do we mean by this? The workplace is currently evolving and it is important to strengthen certain fundamental elements such as: leadership development And creating a culture of L&Dwhile at the same time keeping the pulse of trends which can accelerate a business to the future, e.g AI.
So for this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the top five workplace trends for 2024 – let’s dive in!
1. The AI wave
How can a trend report not mention artificial intelligence? While 2023 marked the start of the AI renaissance, 2024 will be the year organizations truly strive to integrate AI into their daily routines. Rightly said by Josh Bersin: “AI will be everywhere. We’ve only just started doing this. In a year’s time it will be an order of magnitude better again.In fact, research from McKinsey shows that as much as 70% of business operations could be automated by AI by 2030 – it’s truly mind-boggling.
What started as fun “Have you seen what ChatGPT can do?‘demonstrations have rapidly evolved into tangible opportunities for workplace success. We will soon all be powered by AI, just as we rely on the internet or word processing – and businesses will have to adapt and embrace it. This is not something that can be ignored.
90% of leaders think that their organization should use generative AI, but 60% say this rarely happens in practice. There is currently a gap between the speed of progress and the speed of adoption. People are overwhelmed by the potential of AI, the pressure to use it, the changing nature of the beast and the unknown. But doing nothing is not the answer. During our SocialTalent Live event, our AI expert, Maisha Cannon says:
“Be open and experiment – I know there’s a lot of restraint and AI caution right now, but look how GPT can take the drudgery out of your day and let you focus on what energizes you.”
We like this horn for experimenting. If you’re a recruiter, see how AI can help you create more targeted reach. As a manager, do you have difficulty involving your team? Discover how ChatGPT can create more efficient and thought-provoking one-on-one conversations. Instead of being paralyzed by fear, jump in, have fun and see how AI can improve your workflows. From here it’s about education – this resource is also just finding its place, so be part of the discussion rather than watching from the sidelines.
Learn more: 20 Essential ChatGPT Prompts for Recruiters
2. Leaders must reach the next level
The penny has slowly dropped on the need for a different kind of leader. Given how much the workplace has changed, from the proliferation of hybrid to the increasing importance of employee engagement, leadership itself needs reform to adapt.
But herein lies the problem: leadership training is massively overlooked. Recent research we conducted shows that only 36% of managers and leaders receive developmental education, and almost a quarter have received no leadership training at all. We know how important leaders are to the success of a workplace, so why isn’t L&D made a priority?
Coursera’s Job Skills Report for 2024 notes that, given macroeconomic concerns and the constant atmosphere of change, “people management skills” have become a huge priority. Leaders need to be agile and compassionate and keep their teams engaged and aligned – but are organizations planning for this? The best leaders can get the best out of their people. Poor leaders cripple positive cultures and ruin innovation. It’s not enough to hope that your managers and executives do well; you must empower them and provide them with the tools to succeed in this new world of leadership.
We can rave for hours about the importance of leadership, but our good friend and renowned CPO, Pat Wadors, always sums it up best:
SocialTalent’s Leadership Training offers courses from the famous Marshall Goldsmith, Jason Lauritsen, Dr. Bev Kaye and many more. To look at!
3. DEI at risk
The modern workplace has a bit of a tendency to magnify: if something is sharp, it gets our full attention. During the pandemic it was all about remote work and empathy, during The Great Resignation retention and engagement became the hot topic, and right now AI is dominating the headlines. But the problem with this approach is that if something is not fashionable, it falls out of favor.
When the murder of George Floyd dominated the news, concerns about diversity, equality and inclusion skyrocketed. Organizations stood up and took notice because they understood that promoting DEI was the right thing to do. But a few years later, this momentum seems to be losing steam. DEI programs have fallen on the priority list, from 30% in 2022 to just 17% in 2023, according to a Lattice report.
Combined with severe economic headwinds, DEI’s momentum could be further crippled – but we believe this is a big mistake. 2024 must reintegrate DEI into the conversation. While it’s disheartening to have to keep beating this drum, in an environment where skills shortages are of concern, innovation is a key measure of success, and talent demands equity, DEI says. is the answer. We know this! We cannot (and should not) turn our backs on the quest to ensure that workplaces are diverse, inclusive environments. DEI is not a fad.
4. Lifelong learning
In the past, the concept of ‘one-size-fits-all’ learning was prevalent. Employees would receive education and training early in their careers, under the assumption that this would be sufficient for their entire professional journey. As we move into 2024, however, this approach is not only outdated, but detrimental to both individual and organizational success. The pace of change in technology, market dynamics and global connectivity have made static learning ineffective. Instead, embracing a culture of continuous learning has become a non-negotiable characteristic of the best workplaces.
Given that the shelf life of skills is shorter than ever, the ability to do that to learn, unlearnAnd relearn is the new currency on the labor market. Continuous learning encourages curiosity, experimentation and a willingness to challenge the status quo.
At SocialTalent, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of a robust L&D strategy. Companies that prioritize learning are more productive because their employees are more engaged, motivated, and equipped to tackle challenges effectively. Furthermore, a commitment to lifelong learning is an important factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Today’s workforce, especially the younger generation, values personal and professional growth opportunities. Organizations that can provide these opportunities are more likely to attract and retain high-caliber employees.
Lifelong learning should not be a sporadic exercise. It should be an integral part of the company culture, where learning opportunities are readily available, encouraged and recognized.
5. Future skills
The right skills will become the biggest factor when it comes to business success in 2024 and beyond. As HBR states: “Technological advances are changing the demand for skills at an accelerated pace.While certain hard skills will always remain essential, soft skills are becoming increasingly important.
Whichever report you read, the list of priority skills remains remarkably similar:
- Analytical thinking
- Resilience, flexibility and agility
- Learning mentality
Employees who excel in these areas are tailor-made to thrive in this evolving workplace, especially with the advent of AI. However, finding and using these skills in a sustainable way will require a change in mindset within organizations.
We’re going to see a departure from the typical employee life cycle. The way we hire, manage and engage talent will focus less on the formal aspects of roles and qualifications, but will instead weigh heavily on the skills and experience that an individual can demonstrate and learn. With access to the right training, companies can build and build a workforce that is ready to tackle the future workplace in a way that is adaptable and scalable.
Despite the economic rollercoaster and whirlwind of social and technological change, we learned valuable lessons from 2023. Now we are ready to jump into 2024 with a renewed spirit. In the workplace, it is time for a double approach: strengthening our foundations and embracing futuristic trends. This isn’t just about keeping track; it’s about leading the charge and turning challenges into opportunities.
Artificial intelligence has evolved from a science fiction fantasy to an everyday tool. It’s time we play, experiment and integrate AI into our workflows, transforming the mundane into the extraordinary. Leadership also needs an overhaul – compassionate, adaptable leaders are critical to guiding teams through these dynamic times.
And let’s not discount DEI: it’s essential, not optional. As we move into 2024, we must commit to creating inclusive, vibrant workplaces where diversity and learning are celebrated. Here’s to a year where we embrace change, foster growth and make our workplaces not just productive, but truly remarkable. 2024, we are ready for you!