The Major HR Challenges of 2024

The HR function has never been as strategic as it is today within companies. Over the past few years, the world of work has undergone profound changes that companies must adapt to in order to remain competitive, win the talent war, and build their future success.

While the recent years were marked by the impact of COVID-19, the phenomenon of the great resignation, and the intensification of the talent war, what will be the major HR trends of 2024, and how can companies and their HR directors prepare for them?

The first major trend is the perpetuation of hybrid work. 

Hybrid work is here to stay, and the share of remote work is expected to increase. While the return to the office was a strong trend in 2023, especially in Europe, where attachment to the office remains high, hybrid work is more than a passing trend.

According to The Economist, before the pandemic, only 5% of paid workdays in Europe and America were done remotely, often for reasons like childcare or domestic needs. However, this pattern has radically changed after the pandemic: approximately 20% of workdays are now done remotely, and this percentage could reach 30% in the next decade. McKinsey also predicts a decrease in demand for at least 13% of office space in the world's major cities by 2030 compared to 2019.

Distribution of worked days in Europe and North America - Popwork

To adapt to this first trend, HR departments will need to implement sustainable hybrid work organization solutions, rethink physical workspaces, and train managers for hybrid or remote management.

If many companies have equipped themselves with flexible office management solutions like Semana or Officely, upskilling managers in hybrid or remote management is a crucial yet often underestimated point, leading us to the second major trend of 2024...

If the role of a manager is no longer attractive, it is more essential than ever. 

The role of a manager is no longer attractive: only 6% of employees want to become managers. This figure has never been lower.

How to explain this? Many employees have observed that the role of a manager is increasingly complex, and managers are under intense pressure to the point that 77% of managers have experienced burnout.

However, the role of a manager has never been more crucial. In teams working partially or permanently in remote mode, the manager is more than ever the link between the employee and the company. While the manager is responsible for the productivity of their team, they are also the primary driver of the team's engagement. Gallup estimates that 70% of an employee's performance and engagement now depends on their manager.

Therefore, it is necessary for HR departments to revalue the role of a manager by investing heavily in their manager community; the success of their company depends directly on it. The most successful companies will be those that train, support, and coach their managers.

To transform the managerial culture of their company, many HR directors have chosen solutions like Popwork, combining modern management training and a platform for facilitating good managerial practices.

Employees are still stressed and disillusioned. 

The world of work is ailing: 92% of workers question the meaning of their activity, and 34% of French employees experienced burnout in 2022. The consequences for companies are major: 87% of employees are disengaged in Europe, and resignations increased by 20% in 2022.

Overbooked employee - Popwork

HR departments in many companies are experimenting with different formulas to invent a new pact with their employees, such as the four-day workweek or "work from anywhere," for example. It will be interesting to observe in 2024 what new practices are being experimented with by innovative companies in this field.

To prevent burnouts and other psychosocial risks leading to personal distress and attrition risk before it's too late, we believe it is essential for companies to equip themselves with pulse-taking platforms. A solution like Popwork allows employees to regularly share their feelings and workload, giving managers and HR the opportunity to initiate the right conversations and take action before it's too late.

The increasingly strategic role of human resources in companies. 

Faced with a tight job market, the challenge of employee retention, and the numerous transformations in the world of work, HR plays an increasingly determining role in companies. Not only do HR policies and choices have a direct impact on the company's performance (telecommuting, disconnection, managerial rituals, etc.), but they also accompany societal changes (gender equality, inclusive HR policies, anti-discrimination efforts) – a fact recognized by 78% of employees under 30.

With a significant impact and critical project management within the company, 76% of HR professionals say their job has become more strategic, which can also be measured by the increase in the number of HR directors in company executive committees.

In 2024, HR departments will have a fundamental role in the success of their company and its ability to adapt to current challenges: perpetuation of hybrid work, reinvestment in the manager's role, support for employees and psychosocial risks to create an attractive and fulfilling workspace.

This challenge is more of a challenge for leaders: will they be able to give their HR the place they deserve in their strategy?

Finally, the last HR trend of 2024 will obviously be AI. 

This new technological disruption represents a tremendous opportunity for efficiency gains and will likely transform certain professions very quickly. This is a significant source of concern for employees since 50% of French people fear that their job will disappear because of artificial intelligence!

The final challenge for HR in 2024 will be to support their company's teams on the subject of artificial intelligence and find the right balance: on the one hand, ensuring that teams have the necessary resources to take advantage of this major innovation in their profession, and on the other hand, not succumbing to the trend and creating panic among many employees.

Employee. working with an AI bot - Popwork

Lastly, the role of HR will also be impacted by AI, as various aspects of HR tasks will be affected: candidate sourcing, resume screening, reference checks, AI assistance for legal queries, predictive calculation of burnout or attrition risks, and more.

In conclusion, 2024 presents real challenges from an HR perspective, but these challenges represent a double opportunity. First, they allow HR to build a corporate and managerial culture, crucial elements of an attractive, productive, and sustainable work environment. Second, this year should reaffirm the increasingly strategic role of HR departments and the impact they must have in the executive committee on the strategy of their company.