How about working for just 4 days instead of 5 days a week?

Or, taking a nap while you’re at work?

Yes, these are just some of the trending HR topics in 2024 from the top 21 listed in this guide.

Keep reading till the end to learn more about each of these HR trends with detailed insights.

1. Four Day Work Week Gaining Traction

In 2024, the four-day work week is gaining significant traction as a top HR trend. 

Unlike the usual 9 to 5, with a four-day workweek, employees work 32 hours instead of 40, without any cuts to their pay or benefits.

More than half of all companies are now open to trying out this new way of working. In fact, almost all senior leaders at companies where AI plays a big role are either thinking about or have already switched to a four-day workweek.

So why are so many companies making the change?

because it makes their employees happier and healthier. When people have an extra day off, they're more productive at work and take fewer sick days.

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Perpetual Guardian, a company in New Zealand, tried out the four-day workweek and saw big changes. 

Before the tests, only about half of their employees (58%) felt like they could balance work and home life. After the tests, that number jumped to almost 78%.

Well-known brands like Bolt, Buffer, and Awin have already made the switch and seen great results.

For instance, Bolt's team was happier and more efficient. Buffer's employees were more productive and less stressed. And Awin saw their profits go up and their employees taking less time off.

As more companies see the benefits of the four-day workweek, it's clear that this trend is here to stay.

2. Unretiring And Returning To The Workforce

Another new trend that’s gradually emerging in the world of work in 2024 – “Unretiring.”

More and more people who have already retired are deciding to come back into the job market. A recent survey found that 12% of retirees between the ages of 62 and 85 are planning to return to work this year. And a quarter of them have already made the leap.

So why are so many retirees coming back to work? It turns out that unretiring is a win-win for both employees and employers.

For retirees, going back to work can provide a sense of purpose, social connection, and extra income. And for companies, hiring experienced workers can bring valuable skills and knowledge to the team.

The trend of unretiring is only going to keep growing.

In fact, Americans over 75 are the fastest-growing age group in the workforce. 

Their numbers have more than quadrupled since 1964. And experts predict that this group of older workers will double in size over the next ten years.

Companies that want to stay ahead of the curve should start thinking about how to attract and retain these valuable employees.

3. Gen Z Preferring Hybrid Work

GenZ – the group of people falling in the age bracket between 12 to 27 years is growing fast.

In fact, experts say that by 2029, one out of every three American workers will be part of Gen Z.

When it comes to work, it turns out, GenZ really likes the idea of “Hybrid Work.”

A recent study found that almost three-quarters of Gen Z employees would rather have a mix of working from home and going into the office. Only a small number, about 12%, said they wanted to work in-person all the time.

This preference for hybrid work makes sense when you think about how Gen Z grew up.

They're used to having technology at their fingertips and being able to connect with people from anywhere. For them, the idea of being tied to a desk from 9 to 5 just doesn't make sense.

Companies that want to attract and keep Gen Z talent need to be open to hybrid work arrangements. This could mean letting employees choose which days they come into the office, or even letting them work from different locations as per their preferences.

GenZ is the future of the workforce. If companies want to stay competitive, they need to be willing to adapt to this new generation's preferences.

4. Napping At Workplace

Now this is a bit of a unique trend that’s getting a lot of eye balls these days – letting employees take naps at work.

It might sound strange at first, but studies show that a short nap can do wonders for productivity and well-being.

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A recent survey by Sleep Doctor found that one in three employees takes at least one nap per week while on the job.

Most of these naps are short power naps, lasting less than 30 minutes. But some people, about 24%, admit to sleeping for an hour or more.

Interestingly, people who work from home tend to nap more often and for longer periods.

Now you might be wondering:

Why are companies starting to encourage napping at work?

For one thing, it's good for the brain. MRI scans show that people who nap regularly have bigger brains as they get older.

Napping has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

The key is to keep naps short and sweet. Experts say that a 10 to 30-minute nap is all you need to feel more alert and focused. Some companies are even investing in special nap pods to give their employees a comfortable place to rest.

As we move further into 2024 and beyond, don't be surprised if you start seeing more people catching a quick snooze at their desks!

5. Rise In (Paid Time Off) PTO

This trend has been growing steadily over the past few years, with PTO requests increasing by an average of 11% each year since 2019.

Companies are starting to recognize the importance of giving their employees paid time off (PTO).

Just how important is PTO to workers?

A recent survey found that almost two-thirds of people see it as a must-have for achieving a good work-life balance. And it's not just a nice-to-have perk. Studies show that taking time off can lead to higher productivity, lower stress levels, and even better physical health.

Despite the clear benefits, many workers still struggle to take the PTO they've earned. A 2023 Pew survey found that almost half of American workers who have PTO available don't use all of it. And while most full-time employees have access to paid vacation time, less than half of part-time workers do.

Some industries are leading the way when it comes to PTO usage. For instance, the finance sector had the highest percentage of employees requesting PTO, followed closely by nonprofits. In both industries, more than half of all workers asked for time off.

As we move ahead, PTO is going to be more and more important. Companies that want to attract and retain top talent need to offer generous PTO policies and encourage their employees to use them.

6. Microculture

Along with PTO, companies are also starting to realize that building a strong culture doesn't have to mean a one-size-fits-all approach.

Instead, they're focusing on creating microcultures – smaller, team-based cultures that can grow well as a part of the larger organization.

Why the shift? A recent survey by Deloitte found that 71% of people think focusing on individual teams is very important or critical to success. That's a big number, and it's not hard to see why.

Teams with strong microcultures are more agile, diverse, and adaptable. They can respond to changes quickly and work together more effectively.

The proof is in the numbers. Companies that are good at building microcultures are 1.6 times more likely to reach their business goals. That's a huge advantage in today's fast-paced, ever-changing business world.

So what does it take to build a strong microculture? It starts with empowering teams to create their own unique identity and ways of working. This might mean letting them choose their own team names, create their own rituals, or even decorate their workspace in a way that reflects their personality.

But note that microcultures also need to be aligned with the overall company culture and values. Leaders need to set clear expectations and provide the resources and support teams need to succeed.

7. Skill-Based Hiring Becoming More Important

In 2024, the way companies hire is changing. Instead of just looking at degrees and past job titles, more and more companies are focusing on the skills that candidates bring to the table. This shift towards skill-based hiring is becoming a big deal in the HR world.

Just how much has skill-based hiring grown? In 2023, recruiters were 25% more likely to search for candidates based on their skills than they were just four years earlier in 2019. That's a big jump in a short amount of time.

And it's not just a trend – it's a smart business move. Companies that started using skill-based hiring in 2023 saw some impressive results. They were able to fill open positions faster, spend less money on hiring, and even increase diversity in their workforce.

So why is skill-based hiring so important? For one thing, the skills needed for jobs are changing quickly. Since 2015, the skill sets for jobs have changed by about 25%. Experts think that by 2027, they'll have changed by 2 times.

This means that companies can't just rely on the same old hiring methods. They need to be able to identify the specific skills that each job requires and find candidates who have those skills, regardless of their background or education.

Skill-based hiring is here to stay, and companies that want to stay competitive in 2024 and beyond need to get on board.

8. Emergence Of AI In The Workflow

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept – it's a reality in many workplaces. More and more companies are using AI to make their work faster, smarter, and more efficient.

A recent study found that 81% of HR leaders are already using AI or looking into how they can use it. That's a lot of people who see the value in this technology.

So what can AI do in the workplace? Quite a bit, it turns out. Experts say that half of the work we do today could be done by machines. In fact, 56% of employees are already using AI in their jobs every day.

But AI isn't just about replacing humans with robots. It's also about creating new jobs and opportunities. A McKinsey report predicts that by 2030, AI will create 133 million new jobs. That's a lot of people who will be working alongside smart machines.

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And the benefits of AI are clear. By 2035, it's expected to boost productivity by a huge 40%. That means we'll be able to get more done in less time, freeing us up to focus on the things that really matter.

Of course, bringing AI into the workplace isn't always easy. Companies need to invest in the right technology, train their employees, and make sure everyone is comfortable with the changes. But for those who get it right, the payoff can be huge.

As we move further into 2024, expect to see AI becoming an even bigger part of our work lives. From chatbots that answer customer questions to algorithms that help us make better decisions, AI is here to stay – and it's only going to get better and smarter.

9. Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion (DEI)

A recent survey by Pew Research Center found that 56% of working adults in the U.S. think focusing on DEI at work is a good thing.

And it's not just about doing the right thing – it's also good for business. Companies that are known for being diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to do better than their competitors. That's a big advantage in today's competitive market.

But what does it mean to be diverse and inclusive? It's about making sure everyone feels welcome and valued at work, no matter their background or identity. It's about creating a culture where different perspectives are heard and respected.

Inclusive companies are also more likely to be leaders in innovation. In fact, they're 1.7 times more likely to come up with new and creative ideas. When you bring together people with different experiences and viewpoints, you're more likely to find new solutions to old problems.

Of course, building a diverse and inclusive workplace takes time and effort. Companies need to look at their hiring practices, their policies, and their culture to make sure everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

But the payoff is worth it. When everyone feels like they belong, they're more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to the company. And that's good for everyone – employees, customers, and the bottom line.

As we move further into 2024, expect to see more companies making DEI a top priority.

10. Employee Engagement And Recognition

In 2024, companies are learning that the key to a successful workplace is employee engagement and recognition. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they're more likely to be happy, productive, and loyal to the company.

Just how important is recognition? A recent study found that 81.9% of employees say that being recognized for their work makes them more engaged. That's a huge number, and it shows just how much people want to feel like their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

When employees are appreciated genuinely, it can make a big difference in how they feel about their work life. It can boost their morale and enthusiasm which in turn leads to better employee satisfaction.

And it's not just about feeling good – it's also about doing good. A study found that 84% of highly engaged employees were also recognized the last time they went above and beyond at work. In other words, when people feel valued, they're more likely to go the extra mile.

So what can companies do to improve employee engagement and recognition? It starts with creating a culture of appreciation. This might mean setting up a formal recognition program, or simply encouraging managers to give regular feedback and praise.

It's also important to make sure recognition is meaningful and tailored to the individual. A generic "employee of the month" award might not mean much, but a heartfelt thank-you note for a specific project can go a long way.

11. Upskilling and Reskilling

The world of work is constantly changing – in fact, faster than ever.

New technologies and shifting markets mean that the skills we need today might not be the same ones we need tomorrow.

That's why upskilling and reskilling employees are becoming such important topics in the HR world right now.

So what exactly do these terms mean? Upskilling is about helping employees learn new skills that will help them do their current jobs better. Reskilling, on the other hand, is about teaching employees entirely new skills that will prepare them for different roles within the company.

Why are these concepts so important? Because by 2024, experts estimate that 40% of workers will need up to six months of reskilling to keep up with the changing job market. That's a lot of people who will need to learn new things to stay employable.

And it's not just employees who see the value in upskilling and reskilling. A huge 94% of business leaders expect their workers to pick up new skills on the job. They know that having a workforce that can adapt and grow is essential for staying competitive.

So what can companies do to support upskilling and reskilling? It starts with investing in training and development programs. This might mean offering online courses, mentorship opportunities, or even job shadowing to help employees learn new skills.

It's also important to create a culture of continuous learning. Encourage employees to take on new challenges and seek out opportunities to grow. Celebrate those who take the initiative to learn new things and share their knowledge with others.

As we move further into 2024, upskilling and reskilling will only become more important. Companies that prioritize these concepts will be better positioned to adapt to change and stay ahead.

At hrtech, we offer different training and courses specifically for enhancing the skill sets of HR professionals. Learn more now.

12. Talent Acquisition And Retention

Finding and keeping top talent is equally important along with employee engagement and upskilling.

With the job market constantly changing, companies need to be smart about how they attract and retain the best employees.

Let's start with talent acquisition. This is all about finding the right people for the job. But it's not just about posting a job ad and hoping for the best. Companies need to be proactive and strategic in their approach.

One key stat to keep in mind: employers have just 44 days to engage new hires and make sure they want to stay. That means the first few weeks on the job are crucial. Companies need to have a strong onboarding process that helps new employees feel welcome and valued from day one.

But it's not just about getting people in the door. Retention is just as important. After all, it's much more expensive to hire and train a new employee than it is to keep a current one.

So how can companies keep their best employees around? It starts with creating a positive work culture.

People want to work for companies that value their contributions and care about their well-being. This might mean offering competitive salaries and benefits, providing opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a sense of community and purpose.

Another key factor is communication. When employees feel like they're in the loop and their voices are heard, they're more likely to stick around. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and transparent communication can go a long way in building trust and loyalty.

But even with the best efforts, sometimes employees do leave. That's why it's so concerning that 93% of organizations worry about retention. It's a real challenge that requires constant attention and effort.

13. Innovations In HR Technology

New tools and platforms are making HR processes faster, smarter, and more effective, from recruiting to onboarding to performance management. That’s all because of the innovations in HR technology.

One big trend: investing in tech. For instance, almost all employers (97%) plan to spend more money on recruiting technology in the coming years. And it's not just about finding new hires.

HR departments are also looking to invest in tools that can help them make better decisions and work more efficiently.

For example, 60% of HR teams want to use predictive analytics to help them spot trends and patterns in their data. This can help them make smarter choices about everything from hiring to employee development.

Another popular area for investment is process automation. More than half (53%) of HR departments are looking to automate repetitive tasks like data entry and paperwork. This frees up time for more important work, like building relationships with employees and strategizing for the future.

And let's not forget about AI. Almost half (47%) of HR teams are interested in using artificial intelligence to help with things like resume screening and candidate matching. This can help them find the best talent faster and more efficiently.

But even with all this new technology, there are still some gaps. For example, 26.5% of HR professionals say their onboarding programs are missing key technologies that could make the process smoother and more effective.

As we move further into 2024, expect to see even more innovation in HR technology. From virtual reality training to personalized employee experiences, the possibilities are endless.

The key is to find the right tools for your team and use them in a way that supports your overall HR strategy.

If you are interested in exploring lots of specific HR tech solutions, then the perfect place to get started is our hrtech’s marketplace.

14. Work Life Balance

With the lines between work and regular life blurring, employees are looking for ways to find harmony between their personal and professional lives.

Just how important is work-life balance? A recent survey by Statista found that 72% of employees in the US consider it a very important factor when choosing a job. That's a huge majority of people who want to make sure they have time for family, friends, and hobbies outside of work.

So what can companies do to support work-life balance? It starts with setting clear boundaries and expectations. Encourage employees to take their vacation time, unplug from work outside of business hours, and prioritize their mental and physical health.

Flexible work arrangements can also make a big difference. Offering options like remote work, flexible schedules, and part-time positions can help employees find a balance that works for them.

But it's not just about policies and programs. Creating a culture that values work-life balance is key. Leaders need to model healthy habits and make it clear that taking time off is not only allowed but encouraged.

Moving forward, work-life balance will become increasingly important. Companies that prioritize balance will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent.

15. Performance Management Evolution

Performance management is currently undergoing a major shift. Gone are the days of annual reviews and top-down feedback. Instead, companies are accepting a more continuous, collaborative approach to managing employee performance.

One big reason for this change is burnout. When employees are overworked and stressed, they can't perform at their best. Companies can help prevent burnout before it starts by focusing on regular check-ins and support.

And HR leaders are taking notice. In fact, 81% of HR professionals say they're making changes to their performance management processes. They know that the old ways of doing things simply aren't cutting it anymore.

So what does this new approach look like? For starters, it's more frequent. Instead of waiting for an annual review, managers are having regular conversations with their employees about goals, progress, and challenges. This helps catch problems early and keeps everyone on track.

It's also more collaborative. Employees are encouraged to take an active role in setting their own goals and providing feedback to their managers. This creates a sense of ownership and engagement that can be lacking in traditional performance management systems.

And perhaps most importantly, it's more focused on growth and development. Instead of just looking at past performance, managers are helping employees identify areas for improvement and providing the resources and support they need to succeed.

16. Mental Health And Well Being

Stress, anxiety and mental health challenges are on the rise. And companies are realizing that they need to take care of it.

According to a recent survey by ResumeLab, 68% of employees have taken time off work due to a mental health condition. That's more than two-thirds of the workforce.

Around one in six people (14.7%) experience mental health problems while on the job.

These numbers are really worth noting, and they're only going to get worse if companies don't step up. That's why 91% of companies plan to invest more in mental health solutions in 2024.

They know that supporting their employees' well-being is not only the right thing to do – it's also good for business.

So what can HR departments do to support mental health and well-being? It starts with creating a culture of openness and support. Encourage employees to speak up when they're struggling, and make sure they know that it's okay to take time off when they need it.

Offering mental health benefits is also crucial. This might include access to therapy, counseling, and other support services. Some companies are even offering mental health days – paid time off specifically for employees to focus on their well-being.

But it's not just about reactive support. HR departments can also take proactive steps to promote well-being. These might include mindfulness training, stress management workshops, and other wellness programs.

17. Change Management

Companies are facing a whole lot of challenges, from shifting customer demands to rapid technological advancements. And HR departments are on the front lines, helping employees go through these changes and adapt to the new normal.

Now, studies show that 70% of change initiatives fail which just highlights how difficult it can be to get people on board with new ways of working.

But there's hope. When employees are involved in the planning and implementation of change, success rates jump by 24%.

And when frontline employees take the lead in driving change, the success rate soars to 71%.

So what can HR departments do to support successful change management? It starts with communication. Make sure employees understand the reasons behind the change and how it will impact their day-to-day work. Be transparent about the challenges and the benefits.

It's also important to provide training and support. Change can be scary, and employees need to feel like they have the skills and resources to succeed in the new environment. Offer workshops, coaching, and other resources to help them build confidence and adapt to new ways of working.

And don't forget about leadership. Change starts at the top, and leaders need to model the behavior they want to see from their teams. Encourage leaders to be visible, approachable, and open to feedback throughout the change process.

18. Internal Talent Movement

In 2024, instead of always looking outside for new hires, companies are focusing on internal talent mobility – helping current employees grow and move into new roles within the organization.

Training someone who already knows the company culture and processes can be much more efficient than bringing in a new person.

But it's not just about saving costs. Internal talent mobility is also a key driver of retention.

When employees feel like they have opportunities to grow and advance within their company, they're more likely to stick around. In fact, companies that do a lot of internal recruiting keep employees around 41% longer than those that don't.

So what does a successful internal talent mobility program look like? It starts with identifying high-potential employees and giving them the training and development they need to take on new challenges. This might include things like mentorship programs, job shadowing, and cross-functional projects.

It's also important to create a culture of continuous learning. Encourage employees to take on new skills and explore different areas of the business. Offer training and development opportunities that align with both individual goals and company needs.

And don't forget about communication. Make sure employees know about internal job openings and the skills they need to qualify for them. Encourage managers to have regular career conversations with their direct reports and help them map out a path for growth.

As we move further into 2024, expect to see even more companies prioritizing internal talent mobility. It's a win-win – employees get the chance to grow and advance, while companies benefit from a more skilled, engaged, and loyal workforce.

19. Employee Experience

Along with performance management, work-life balance, companies are also realizing that creating a positive, engaging, and supportive work environment is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent.

But the reality is, many employees are struggling. A recent study found that 57% of employees are experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout, and 74% are dealing with at least a moderate level of stress. That's a lot of people who are feeling overwhelmed at work.

The good news is, companies that prioritize employee experience are seeing big benefits. When employees believe their employers care about them, job satisfaction goes up.

So what does a great employee experience look like? It starts with a culture of recognition and appreciation. Celebrate wins, both big and small. Show employees that their hard work and contributions are valued.

It's also about creating opportunities for growth and development. Offer training and mentorship programs that help employees build new skills and advance their careers. Encourage them to take on new challenges and stretch outside their comfort zones.

And don't forget about well-being. Provide resources and support to help employees manage stress, prioritize self-care, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This might include things like flexible schedules, mental health benefits, and wellness programs.

20. Remote Work

A recent study suggests that by 2025, 22% of the American workforce will be remote. That's more than one in five workers who will be joining from home, coffee shops, or anywhere else with a reliable internet connection.

And it's not just a small number of companies making the switch. According to McKinsey and Company's "American Opportunity Survey," a big 87% of people choose to work flexibly when given the option. And 16% of companies are now operating and hiring on a fully remote basis.

But remote work isn't just about convenience or flexibility. It's also having a big impact on employee well-being.

More than 70% of people working remotely reported an improvement in their mental health. When you don't have to deal with long commutes, office politics, or distractions, it can be easier to focus on your work and take care of yourself.

Of course, remote work isn't without its challenges. Building relationships with coworkers can be harder, and some struggle with the lack of structure and separation between work and home life. But with the right tools and support, these challenges can be overcome.

HR departments have a big role in making remote work successful. This might include providing training on remote communication and collaboration, offering mental health resources, and creating opportunities for virtual team building and socializing.

21. Employer Branding

Employer branding is more important than ever in 2024. With the job market heating up and competition for top talent at an all-time high, companies need to stand out from the crowd if they want to attract and retain the best and brightest.

Just how important is employer branding? Consider this: 75% of job seekers look at an employer's brand before they even apply for a job. That means if your company has a bad reputation, you could be missing out on a lot of great candidates.

And it's not just about attracting new hires. A negative reputation can cost a company at least 10% more per hire. That's a lot of money down the drain, especially when you consider that 69% of candidates would turn down a job offer from a company with a bad employer brand.

So what can companies do to build a strong employer brand? It starts with investing in your people. Companies that actively invest in their employer brand see a 28% drop in employee turnover and a 50% decrease in cost-per-hire. Word gets around when you treat your employees well and create a positive work environment.

But your employer brand is not just about what happens inside the company. It also includes your public image. This means everything from your website and social media presence to your community involvement and corporate social responsibility efforts.

HR departments have a big role in building and maintaining a strong employer brand. This might include creating compelling job descriptions, showcasing employee success stories, and partnering with marketing to create a cohesive brand message.

Conclusion

There you have it – the 21 most important HR trends to watch in 2024.

As we've seen, companies that follow these trends are gaining some big benefits. For instance, did you know that companies with strong microcultures are 1.6 times more likely to reach their business goals? Or that recognition from managers can boost employee engagement by a whopping 43%?

But perhaps the most exciting trend of all is the emergence of AI in the workplace. Experts predict that by 2035, AI could increase productivity by a massive 40%. That means we'll be able to get more done in less time – freeing us up to focus on the things that really matter.

So which of these trends will you focus on first?

And if you need any help with forming proper HR strategies and solutions for your company, feel free to reach out to us at hrtech.