Welcome to Inspirus’ Q1 2024 Inspirus Trends & Forecasts Report. As we usher in the second year of our quarterly report, we extend our deep gratitude to our regular readers and, if you’re new to the report, we thank you for joining us. For our new readers: our Trends Reports draw upon the collective wisdom and thought leadership of subject matter experts here at Inspirus. In this report, we’ll share what we see as trending now and our predictions for how these trends will shape the future. As part of Pluxee, the leading global partner in employee benefits and engagement, Inspirus is able to use the collective expertise and learnings of employee engagement leaders in 31 countries to better support 1) U.S. organizations facing dynamic changes in the workplace and 2) employees who have increasing expectations of well-being and fulfillment.
In addition to many emerging best practices around technology innovations, especially as they relate to people strategies, business leaders are experiencing an increasing need for shifting mindsets around a variety of issues, from the factors that foster work culture and the employee experience to how employees’ skills are recognized and utilized for maximum business benefits. HR leaders are under increased pressure to demonstrate high ROIs and clear business value in their 2024 plans. This isn’t limited to HR technology, but spans the entirety of the HR scope of responsibility.
Topping the list of key trends shaping Q1 are ongoing efforts to enhance organizational culture by putting people at the center of strategic decisions, improving the employee experience for better retention and job satisfaction, and an increasing shift toward skills-based organizational structures. This is part of the broader ongoing shift from thinking of employees and their skills merely as assets to recognizing the unique, individual contributions and potential of every member of the workforce.
Fostering a people-centric culture in 2024 will equip employees to do their best work, which in turn sets the entire organization up for success on nearly every level. Organizations that do this well will see valuable returns in the form of better employee retention and improved job satisfaction levels. A growing emphasis on employee skills—the skills they currently possess and the skills they can learn— allow forward-thinking organizations to streamline processes, match work tasks with the right talent, and enhance employees’ sense of purpose.
This is just a preview of the ongoing trends we see shaping the year ahead. In the pages that follow, you’ll find a deeper dive into each of our predictions for how HR leaders will continue investing and preparing for organizational success in 2024. My hope is that you’ll find this report valuable for you and your organization, and that it assists you in making informed decisions that help you achieve your employee engagement goals and give your organization a competitive advantage as we open the chapter on another year.
As we all know, the pandemic disrupted the workforce, how work gets done, and even work itself. The subsequent years have shaken up workplace norms and HR teams continue to face repercussions from changes
in employees’ priorities and needs. Among the challenges we have continually heard from HR leaders, one stands out. Most organizations are finding it difficult to build culture among today’s workforce because people are working from different locations—some in the office full- time, some at home full-time, and others alternating between the two.
In Gartner’s forecast of HR trends for 2024, research revealed that more than a
third (41%) of HR leaders said employees’ connection to culture is compromised by hybrid work and nearly half (47%) don’t know how to drive change to build a desirable culture. Historically, there has been no blueprint for building culture with a remote or hybrid workforce because it was such a rarity. Now, given the widespread adoption of these flexible working models, HR leaders are in desperate need of a path forward.
In 2024, we anticipate more organizations will work to intentionally build people-centric cultures, where employees are seen and treated as whole human beings whose needs
and wants matter. HR leaders and organizations will continue searching for new strategies to update outdated approaches
to building an effective people- centric culture in a modern work environment, especially for dispersed workforces.
Throughout this past year, HR leaders have faced multiple, simultaneous challenges that demanded strategic solutions. Employee burnout and disengagement are high. Employees have put up resistance to return- to-office mandates. Economic instability forced mass layoffs. And through all this, employees’ expectations about their employer and their work environment continue to shift.
Employee retention continues to pose a challenge. According to PwC research, 26% of all survey respondents said they were likely to change jobs in the next 12 months (up from 19% in 2022). The figures were higher for younger employees, who now make up a majority of the active workforce — 35% of Gen Z and 31% of Millennial respondents said they planned to change jobs.
The need for a people-centric work culture is rising, and quickly. This is likely the most effective solution — and the most practical — that HR leaders can lean on in 2024.
We see savvy HR leaders continuing to work on improving organizational culture in 2024. With a stronger work culture comes a variety of benefits that help mitigate the fallout from ongoing workforce changes and challenges.
We expect that many more HR teams will prioritize a people-centric culture to address the unique challenges of a hybrid work environment. Here are three of the most common approaches we anticipate seeing more of in 2024.
Creating Feedback Loops - One of the most effective ways to support a people- centric culture is with continuous two-way communication. In 2024, HR will invest more in innovative employee feedback and survey tools to create a feedback loop and keep in touch with the pulse of the workforce as a whole. Organizations will increasingly turn to real- time feedback to shape their HR strategy on the go as they continue to boost employee engagement and well-being.
Giving Employees a Sense of Purpose - During the height of the pandemic, purpose and value got a lot of attention in conversations about work culture. That spotlight dimmed as other challenges arose and, in 2024, we foresee more organizational leaders creating intentional strategies around employee purpose. Some effective practices for creating a sense of purpose include encouraging creativity, knowledge sharing, and role clarity, according to McKinsey research.
Using Meeting Time Efficiently - There has, in some organizations, been a tendency to over schedule meetings for the sake of fostering collaboration among a hybrid workforce. Keeping meetings brief and sticking to a preset agenda will help organizations keep employees connected in 2024 — without crowding their calendars so much that there isn’t enough time to work on work. Many organizations have implemented company- wide meeting-free days as well. Just two meeting- free days a week is linked with a 71% increase in productivity and 52% boost in satisfaction, according to MIT research. We foresee more organizations adopting strategies like this to improve the employee experience and strengthen culture.