According to a new report from Gartner, major adjustments to workplace architecture and policies are on the horizon, as sectors grapple with rapidly advancing technologies and changing workforce dynamics.
The report pinpoints nine pivotal workplace predictions that HR leaders must prioritise in the coming year to cement their companies' competitive edge and ability to attract and retain talent.
Emily Rose McRae, Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner HR practice, noted the shifts permeating contemporary workplaces, including the onset of generative AI (GenAI), experiments with a four-day workweek, and alterations within traditional career frameworks. McRae emphasised that the predictions underscore the facets of work that HR leaders must concentrate on in the next 12 months.
Highlighting strategies to reduce both intangible and tangible costs related to traditional office-centric models, the report projects that the cost-of-work crisis will reach a climax in 2024. Employers will likely offer perks such as caregiving benefits, housing subsidies, financial welfare schemes, and pet-friendly workplace policies to attract and retain employees.
Despite concerns over AI disruption, the report suggests GenAI will present more opportunities than threats. Rather than causing mass unemployment, GenAI could potentially widen the candidates qualified for certain positions by reducing technical skill requirements. The expert suggests that HR leaders extensively evaluate the implications of GenAI on their hiring strategies and staff training programmes.
A four-day work week, previously considered a radically progressive concept, could become the norm by 2024. This shift aims at boosting employee engagement, streamlining business processes, increasing employee retention and above all, carving out a competitive edge.
"Managers who can navigate and manage conflict amongst employees will have a large positive impact," said Peter Aykens, Chief of Research at the Gartner HR practice. He recommended that companies invest in conflict management training and create opportunities for new managers to learn from their experienced counterparts.
The report also warns of the risks of GenAI experimentation, such as data management and quality control. It argues that these risks, while significant, are outweighed by the potential benefits, necessitating that organisations train employees to responsibly use GenAI.
Moreover, skills rather than degrees may become the new requirement in job descriptions, breaking down the 'paper ceiling', particularly for those workers who have chosen alternative routes to obtain skills.
Climate change disaster response is predicted to emerge as a prominent feature in employee benefits packages, including physical safety provisions, compensation, and mental health support, Gartner states.
From planet to people, the analysts find Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) will shift from a standalone objective to a shared value, fully integrated into business operations and objectives.
Finally, the report concludes that traditional career paths and stereotypes will crumble in 2024. This shift will result in atypical career trajectories becoming commonplace, and employers breaking free from the stereotype of career continuity by offering flexible work options.