Gartner released the 5 priorities for Human Resources leaders in 2024.

In this article, we share the main conclusions of this study.

Human Resources (HR) play a fundamental role in designing organizations' future strategies. However, they face a challenging scenario that is constantly evolving, driven by technological advances, demographic changes, and changes in the workplace. There are also factors of political, economic, and social instability at the international and national levels.

The study “Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2024”, by Gartner highlights the challenges and priorities of Human Resources leaders in 2024. It is based on a survey carried out with more than 500 HR leaders, 34% of whom are CHROs, in 40 countries and representing the main global industries.

The unstable world of Human Resources leaders

Human Resources managers and leaders deal with constant challenges within organizations on a daily basis.

The study highlights that there is some discomfort in the relationship between the employer and employees. For example, only 26% of organizations say that their employees fully comply with attendance requirements. On the other hand, employees feel anxious; almost half consider their current performance unsustainable, and around half do not trust the organization they work for.

Human Resources leaders also report that 26% of administrators point to the lack of talent as a detrimental factor for the company's performance.

Meanwhile, the market is changing thanks to the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) tools. 68% of executives believe that the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. However, only 22% of HR leaders are strongly engaged in the discussion about generative AI.

To conclude, executives and investors are focused on productivity, efficiency, and margins as profit drivers.

We thus look to 2024, full of challenges, with an emphasis on technological advances, demographic constraints, and the dissatisfaction of employers and employees.
It is in this context that we will analyze the five priorities of human resources leaders in 2024.

Priority 1 - Leadership, management development and Human Resources in 2024

Those in charge of human resources recognize that although an organization's leaders and managers have a central role in driving change and effectively leading teams, they feel overwhelmed by the increase in professional responsibilities (75%) and unable to manage their functions efficiently as they do not have the necessary skills and abilities to lead change (73%).

Most organizations support managers through skills development programs, productivity tools and technologies, and robust wellness programs. Despite these considerable investments, half of employees do not trust the manager's ability to lead the team to success over the next two years, simply because the management work is no longer manageable.

Critical actions to enhance the performance of Human Resources leaders and managers in 2024

Redefine expectations regarding roles: This redefinition should focus on the strengths and skills specific to the tasks that managers perform. An essential aspect is creating relationships between workers—mentors or co-workers—to carry out training and development tasks.

A manager is 1.4 times more likely to consider their work manageable when the organization focuses on redefining role expectations

Rebuild the manager pipeline: It is essential to encourage aspiring managers to discover their suitability for the role. Human Resources leaders must expose potential future managers early in their careers to the challenges and responsibilities of leadership. This exposure gives them a deeper understanding of what the role involves and whether it aligns with their career aspirations.

Letting managers discover for themselves whether they fit the role increases the likelihood (2.3 times) that they will find their jobs manageable.

Reinforce managers' habits: Creating solid people management habits is a fundamental aspect of developing leaders and managers. This involves creating a culture of continuous improvement, establishing routines, and promoting targeted reflection.

Investing in routines pays off. Organizations that focus on building habits improve manageability by 71%

Eliminate obstacles to processes: Another critical element of leader development is the elimination of redundant and low-value processes that overload both leaders and workers and represent a huge expense for companies.

By reducing workload and simplifying processes, Human Resources frees employees from low-value tasks and allows them to concentrate on their main responsibilities. Promoting motivation and human skills for teamwork and, last but not least, changing work processes is essential for increasing manager satisfaction. After all, 59% of managers say they spend a significant part of their time “working to get the job done”.

Managers are 1.4 times more likely to find their work manageable when the organization simplifies management tasks

Priority 2 - Strengthening Organizational Culture and Human Resources in 2024

Human Resources in 2024 needs to create and maintain a vibrant and cohesive organizational culture to respond to the rapid evolution of hybrid work that began at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At stake are worrying data: 41% of human resources leaders say that hybrid work compromises employees' relationships with the company's culture. But even more worryingly, 47% of human resources leaders don't know how to drive change to achieve the desired culture. Being outside the “office” distances employees from the organization's culture, which leads to uncertainty and disinterest.

This crisis around corporate culture results from fewer personal interactions, less time spent in the office, and the loss of weight of the “coffee machine,” around which company culture was traditionally and informally internalized.

For corporate culture to be successful in a hybrid world, leaders must align and connect employees with a sense of belonging to the organization's culture.

Only in this way is it possible for employees to internalize the vision and values and transpose them into their behaviors as professionals.

Critical actions to reinforce organizational culture

Traditionally, culture was absorbed by osmosis in the workplace through close physical relationships and group experiences.

Remote work has eliminated this closeness and drastically reduced in-person interactions between coworkers.

This informal, casual, and natural environment must today be replicated virtually.

Employees' connection to the company's culture can increase by up to 43% when the culture is disseminated through work.

Human Resources can artificially create, through hybrid work tools, an environment for sharing culture, disseminating culture through work, connecting through emotional closeness, and optimizing group experiences with a smaller dimension than in fully in-person work.

Employee connection to company culture can increase by up to 27% when employees feel emotional closeness.

Priority 3 - Technological challenges for Human Resources in 2024

The alignment of solutions and strategies with ICT at the service of human resources leaders is already a tradition, and 2024 will be no different. Gartner recommends creating an assessment framework to make the right choice of human resources technology.

56% of professionals confirmed that HR technology solutions and strategies do not match the company's current and future business needs, including digital transformation. It is an uncomfortable situation at a time when new technologies, such as generative artificial intelligence, are emerging.

60% of human resources leaders have doubts about the impact of these new trends on human resources and talent.

76% of HR leaders agree that they will fall behind in company success if they do not adopt or implement generative AI in the next 12 to 14 months.

Uncertainty in the job market and economic conditions has created an additional layer of urgency in adopting innovation that supports a flexible human resources strategy.

The portfolio of available technological solutions is vast and complex, and those responsible for human resources must have the agility to align the strategies and technological solutions to be adopted with the current and future needs of the organization.

Rapidly evolving technology trends such as generative AI represent a significant challenge, with enormous potential to increase productivity if HR professionals are prepared to adopt them effectively.

Therefore, there is a gap between the potential of these technologies and their real impact on human resources and talent management.

Assess the impact of adopting emerging human resources technologies in 2024

To effectively embrace emerging information technologies, human resources leaders must distinguish between “what's hot" and the practical application of these technologies. It is essential to evaluate them realistically and consider their true potential for impact and success.

To support them in the decision-making process, human resources leaders can develop a framework to assess the potential for success and implications of technology adoption based on key criteria, including governance, workforce preparedness, work, risks, ethics, and the outlook of suppliers, in order to align these factors with current and future needs.

Priority 4 - Change management (again) and Human Resources in 2024

Change management is a persistent challenge for human resources leaders.

Many recognize that managers are ill-equipped to lead change effectively (82%). This leads to employees (77%) feeling tired of change, affecting their well-being and productivity.

It can be said that employees are skeptical about continuous change, accentuating an inversely proportional gap between the number of changes and the desire to make them happen.

Fatigue related to changes compromises employees’ results:

  • 42% have less intention of continuing at work;
  • 17% contribute less to the company;
  • 30% is the level of reduction in confidence levels;
  • 22% lower level of commitment;
  • 27% reduction in sustainable performance

Change plans must integrate strategies to reduce change fatigue.

Human resources leaders must have the ability to identify, correct, or prevent team fatigue when faced with change.

They must base the change on effective communication and the provision of appropriate training.

They should promote empathy and open conversations about change, allowing employees to be involved in implementing change plans.

Priority 5 - Career management and internal mobility for Human Resources in 2024

Many Human Resources leaders consider that, in their organizations, career paths are unclear (89%) and unattractive (66%) for employees.

High turnover rates compound this challenge in a competitive job market.

Traditional career maps no longer work as business is rapidly and constantly changing. Therefore, responding to the growth expectations of employees in companies is a complex task both for human resources and for the employees themselves, who do not know how to proceed in order to grow in the company.

Human Resources in 2024 must create dynamic growth paths in the company.

Human resources leaders must take a dynamic and adaptive approach to career paths. They must align plans according to the company's needs while taking into account the objectives, interests, and skills of employees in order to maximize their performance.

Similar to a geographic map, employees can explore various paths and routes towards their goal. This way, they become more confident in their career options and professional development, significantly increasing the employee retention rate.

A good performance evaluation system can help guide employees on their professional path.

What should Human Resources do in 2024?

The five priorities for Human Resources leaders in 2024 cover the development of leadership and management skills, organizational culture, human resources technology, change management, career management, and internal mobility.

In an environment of continuous change, these priorities are the key to the good performance of human resources in 2024, contributing to the stability and satisfaction of employees, creating a good environment in organizations, and promoting solid and sustained growth in people and in people.

Check out Unikpeople's range of HR solutions that can help your company face the challenges of 2024.

by Ricardo Barros – Chief Customer Success Officer @Uniksystem