World of Work Trends 2024
Top Employers Institute's World of Work Trends 2024 analyses the latest trends in people strategies and practices from leading organisations globally. In the report, our analysis showed five significant trends affecting workplaces in 2024. Those trends are:
- Empower through AI
- The Future Defined with Purpose
- Dialogue for Transformation
- Evolution of Wellbeing Effectiveness
- Broaden the Horizon of DEI
Read more about each trend in our article below or get in-depth insights by completing the form on the left and downloading the report for free.
The speed of innovation in AI has opened doors to a revolution in how we work. The shifting cultural landscape has enabled leaders and employees to drive meaningful societal impact. And the growing awareness of different identities and wellbeing needs has made inclusion non-negotiable. The organisations that will be most successful in this new world of work capture these opportunities purposely, thoughtfully, and ethically.
The sweeping global financial, technological, and political changes that have been happening worldwide will bring attention to people's complexities and unique value. The year 2024 will see people firmly recentred at the heart of the workplace – and the five key trends of the coming year reflect the growing realisation that whilst AI will support and optimise, the real competitive advantage is found in the creativity, passion, and partnership between employees.
Trend 1: Empower through AI
The release of ChatGPT in November 2022 prompted a wave of excitement about the potential of generative AI and considerable concerns about its impact on employment. As we enter 2024, the conversation will become more grounded. Organisations will look to implement more ethical stewardship of their potential in the year ahead and start with a clear vision for human-AI synergies.
Many organisations are still in the exploratory stages with AI, and in 2024, the discussion will shift from what you can do with AI to what you should do with AI. An ethical framework for AI adoption will, therefore, become central to HR Digital strategies – and we see this happening in three ways:
- Organisations take a responsible approach to how data is used to track employee behaviour or sentiment. HR leaders must prioritise AI's ethical, explainable, and transparent roll-out.
- HR will see how technology can be used and deployed around the employee experience. When poorly implemented, AI could cause employees to lose a sense of meaning in their work.
- HR will look to see how AI can support, rather than challenge, the interaction between humans. Humans want to work with humans. And whilst AI offers HR innovative new routes to tracking and personalising offerings, face-to-face contact will become a greater imperative.
How will organisations begin to do this? The answer starts with leaders, the subject of our next trend. You can find more details on this trend by downloading the full report now.
Trend 2: The Future Defined with Purpose
Last year, in the World of Work Trends Report 2023, we predicted the growing importance of a "lived" purpose - one that comes straight from the heart of all those who work. This sense of purpose will remain a constant in their everyday decisions. More recent research conducted by Top Employers Institute shows that organisations will only see the benefits of a solid organisational purpose if they have the right leaders to bring it to life.
Purpose-driven leadership is critical to success. So, what do employees want from their leaders in 2024?
- On big-picture issues, they want leaders to be situated in the real world, speaking about real-world problems, just as their employees would. They should think beyond immediate business concerns to offer more to their employees.
- Empathy is also at the heart of purpose-driven leadership. Leaders will need this trait as much as their business acumen in the coming year.
Empathy requires a genuine two-way dialogue. Leaders must listen more - employees expect an authentic voice in important decisions.
Organisational purpose is an evolving and collaborative process that demands the commitment of every employee. That leads us to our third trend. You can find all the details about this trend and more in the complete report. Download it now!
Trend 3: Dialogue for Transformation
Employees who feel genuinely listened to by the organisation are more likely to be engaged, and organisations orchestrating meaningful employee dialogues are reaping the benefits. Our latest Top Employers data shows that almost every HR practice encouraging employee involvement in strategic decisions helps to drive business success metrics.
A Dialogue for Transformation has two elements:
- On an individual level, employees need to see their input applied practically in business decisions - those who feel empowered to influence how their work gets done experience far higher performance levels and job satisfaction.
- Beyond the individual, collective intelligence describes the alchemy that happens when diverse perspectives meet collaboratively. It represents the sum of individual intelligence and the additional innovation sparked through their combination.
Empowerment plus collective intelligence has helped to drive new ideas for organisations, often above and beyond the scope of regular day-to-day business.
Moving the needle on what matters will demand ever closer and more constant conversation with employees. Transformational dialogue will be foundational for the last two trends. Download the full report to find out more.
Trend 4: Evolution of Wellbeing Effectiveness
Many organisations struggle to balance their HR budgets while still trying to enhance employee wellbeing. In 2024, therefore, wellbeing will be about getting the most suitable offerings, not the most. Research carried out by Top Employers Institute last year demonstrated that additional wellbeing programmes provided little or no additional benefit to employees beyond a saturation point.
Most Top Employers actively promote their wellbeing programmes through organisation-wide strategy, assessment and metrics.
- Organisation-wide total wellbeing strategy. Nearly four in five (79%) organisations have a coherent overarching approach to all dimensions of wellbeing (up four percentage points since our last survey).
- Wellbeing programme assessment. Nearly three in four (72%) organisations regularly conduct an 'employee wellbeing needs assessment' to identify employee needs, interests, likes and dislikes and adjust their offerings where appropriate (up five percentage points).
- Wellbeing metrics. We have also seen a significant increase in the use of metrics, with over two-thirds of our Top Employers consistently using them (68%, up eight percentage points), along with the accountability of over half (54%) of leaders to meet wellbeing targets (up seven percentage points).
With this, there may be specific wellbeing challenges for new demographics, which takes us to our final trend.
Trend 5: Broaden the Horizon of DEI
In the last year, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have also come under budgetary pressure, so organisations are looking for these initiatives to impact their workforce positively. In 2024, the tight talent market will grow as employers become more open to "non-traditional" candidates.
We think DEI approaches will change in three ways:
- The consideration of diversity will expand far beyond demographic segmentation. Whilst groupings, such as gender and race, will continue to be areas of focus, 2024 will see a shift towards a more nuanced approach to DEI. For example, expect the importance of neurodivergent talent (and its link to higher levels of creativity and innovation) to grow.
- DEI analytics and the metrics used will become more sophisticated. Not all demographics are straightforward to capture. However, we have learned from progress in gender representation that data is critical to improvement.
- The "majority" will be actively included in DEI strategies at some point in their career journey, with different experiences increasingly acknowledged. A more holistic inclusion strategy will likely be adopted to complement the ongoing targeted initiatives for under-represented groups.
Download a copy of The World of Work 2024 by filling out the form now.