Wellable

2024 is bringing substantial changes that will transform industries and redefine how companies interact with their workforce. To thrive amidst these shifts, organizations must be proactive, adaptable, and well-informed about what’s ahead. This article highlights eight workplace predictions for 2024 and provides practical strategies for employers to navigate these trends and maintain a competitive edge.

Pressed for time? Here’s a quick summary…

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) integration: AI skills are in high demand. Upskilling in areas like ChatGPT prompt engineering ensures competitiveness and enhances workflows.
  • Hybrid work models & flexibility: The adoption of hybrid work is expected to rise to 81% with the office as a hub for collaboration. Flexibility remains essential, driven by the growth of side hustles and remote work preferences.
  • Salary & financial expectations: Employees anticipate salary increases and pay transparency in 2024. To retain workers, employers should review and adjust salaries accordingly. Offering deductible-free health plans can ease healthcare costs.
  • Beyond the bottom line: Organizations are increasing investments in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, realizing these are contributors to a positive brand image and overall success.

Here are eight future of the workplace trends for 2024:

1. AI & Technological Integration In The Workforce

AI & Technological Integration In The Workforce

As artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI, revolutionizes various industries, related skills are in high demand.

Job postings on LinkedIn seeking Generative AI expertise, such as proficiency in ChatGPT, have increased by 21 times since January 2023.

While concerns about AI’s rise persist—with 78% of workers fearing potential job loss—AI often complements rather than replaces human roles. Tech-savvy Gen Z is most open to AI, viewing it as a career accelerator. This suggests a future workforce that embraces technological integration.

Take action: Fostering a culture of trust and continuous learning around new technologies will ensure an adaptable, future-ready workforce. Employers must:

  • Address AI-related concerns openly: Boost trust through transparent communication about AI’s current and future role in the organization. Reassure employees that they don’t need to become AI experts overnight while supporting their skill development for an effective human-technology partnership. 
  • Invest in AI training: Provide AI training programs, focusing on skills like ChatGPT prompt engineering, and offer role-specific resources to enhance tech integration and workflow efficiency. 
  • 2. Growth Of Side Hustles & Gig Economy

    A significant number of employees, including 70% of Gen Z and half of Millennials, are turning to side hustles and gig work. Their motivations are twofold: the need for extra income due to a rise in living costs and inflation, and a preference for flexible, skill-based jobs that deviate from the traditional 9-to-5 model.

    Growth Of Side Hustles & Gig Economy

    Traditional side hustles, like Uber driving and food delivery services, have historically supplemented income. However, the modern gig economy has transformed with the explosive growth of influencer marketing. The influencer market reached an estimated $21.1 billion in 2023—a 29% jump from 2022. What started as a trend among the youth is now engaging a broader demographic, with platforms like TikTok at the forefront. This shift is fueled by remote work’s accessibility and flexibility, enabling individuals to create influencer content during their work hours.

    Take action: Integrate flexible work arrangements into your hiring strategy to tap into the talent pool of side hustlers, accessing a broader range of specialized skills. Consider offering part-time, contract, or freelance positions to accommodate those seeking extra income alongside their primary job.

    3. Shifting Labor Market Power Dynamics

    Since 2019, employees have gained an 8% increase in their perceived power within the labor market. This empowerment has led them to advocate for better pay, benefits, and flexibility, and 34% are prepared to find new jobs if their current roles don’t meet their expectations. On the other hand, employers sense a slight shift back in power balance, expecting economic pressures to limit employee mobility.

    Take action: To avoid staff turnover, balance firm leadership with the evolving expectations and increased bargaining power of employees. Encourage feedback through pulse surveys and manager check-ins, taking concrete actions to meet employee needs. Prioritize competitive compensation and flexibility.

    4. Evolving Work Models

    Evolving Work Models

    Hybrid work has become the norm, but opinions vary on the perfect mix of remote and in-office days. Most employers want employees on-site for two to three days a week, while: 

    • Half of employees prefer one day in the office per week 
    • 1/3 of employees desire fully remote work 
    • 49% of women want full-time remote work, showing a stronger preference than men (43%) 

    Despite these varied preferences, a fully remote setup is becoming increasingly less common, with the adoption of hybrid work expected to rise to 81% in 2024. Employers value in-office days for maintaining team cohesion and a strong work culture. As a result, the office is transforming from a designated work location into a hub for social connection and collaboration.

    Take action: As the office takes on a new meaning in a hybrid environment, it should be optimized for team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and team-building activities. However, recognize that certain roles may require quiet, focused workspaces. Ensure the office layout caters to these diverse needs, balancing community with productivity. Alternatively, identify which roles can be effectively performed remotely, considering the nature of the work and individual job requirements.

    Financial Expectations & Salary Trends

    Three-quarters of employees anticipate pay raises in 2024 (up from 54% in 2023), and employers that don’t meet these expectations risk losing talent: 

    • 69% of workers agree that more people will quit next year if they don’t find their salaries rewarding 
    • 68% believe employers will need to pay more to retain employees 

    Those planning to ask for a raise are motivated by factors like: 

    • Rising inflation (39%) 
    • Taking on more responsibilities (26%) 
    • A sense of being underpaid (16%) 

    Competitive compensation will be a key factor in shaping job satisfaction, talent acquisition, and employee retention.

    Take action: As pay expectations rise, review and adjust salaries to maintain competitiveness in the talent market. Consider individual performance, company milestones, and what competitors offer for similar roles.

    Job market expectations for 2024 vary, but most employees anticipate:  

    • Inclusion of salary in job listings (71%) 
    • More remote interviews than in-person interviews (68%) 
    • Longer recruitment processes (61%) 

    Seventy-six percent of employees believe these changes will benefit them.

    Take action: Providing concise salary ranges in job listings signals organizational integrity and transparency. It also streamlines the recruitment process by attracting candidates aligned with your compensation expectations. This saves time and resources while promoting a positive employer brand.

    7. CSR, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives

    CSR, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives

    Beyond profit-making, organizations are realizing the importance of their environmental and societal impact for their success. This is driving key initiatives: 

    • 81% of employees say their organization will increase investments in eco-friendly practices like waste reduction and energy conservation 
    • 80% say their company will increase investments in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, including philanthropy and community engagement 
    • 79% expect more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts than previous years 

    Take action: Leading in CSR, diversity, and ethical practices is not only a moral imperative but also shapes a positive company image and boosts employee satisfaction. Consider the following strategies:

    • Eco-friendly initiatives:
      • Launch recycling and composting programs to reduce environmental impact
      • Replace single-use plastics with reusable alternatives like water glasses and silverware;
      • Limit the number of required in-office days to align with employees’ desire for flexibility while reducing carbon emissions from commuting
    • CSR initiatives:
      • Use charitable donations as incentives for achieving goals, participating in wellness programs, or recognizing outstanding performance

    Example: Wellable rewards participants in internal wellness challenges with gift cards to donate to charitable causes of their choice. 

    • DEI initiatives:
      • Implement ongoing training programs that cover topics like unconscious bias, microaggressions, and inclusive leadership
      • Set diversity goals and publicly report on DEI progress 

    8. Deductible-Free Health Plans

    Healthcare affordability is a critical concern for employees, with one-in-four reporting that they cannot meet their healthcare needs without experiencing financial hardship. 

    Employers are addressing this issue: the percentage of large employers (2,000 or more employees) offering at least one deductible-free health plan will increase from 11% to 15% in 2024. 

    Take action: Along with offering deductible-free health plans to employees, consider linking premium contributions to salary, particularly benefiting lower-wage workers. This ensures that employees with lower incomes pay a reduced amount for their healthcare coverage, promoting financial fairness and well-being.

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