Navigating HR & OD Challenges in 2024

Posted on 29 February 2024 by You HR

A new wave of change is coming

As we step into the New Year, the ever-evolving landscape of human resources (HR) and organisational development (OD) presents both exciting opportunities and unique challenges for HR Professionals, Leaders, and Managers. From adapting to accommodate ongoing workforce needs or addressing emerging trends, January 2024 sets the stage for those responsible to proactively shape the employee and employer experience. Jonna Mundy, The HR & OD Consultancy's CEO delves into some key HR and OD issues and strategies and shares how to navigate them successfully.


Remote Working Realities:

The remote working revolution continues to reshape how, and where work is undertaken, and the workplace itself. As organisation’s embrace a fusion of flexible working models or strives to maintain a fully remote way of working, focus should be on fostering collaboration, maintaining employee engagement. Whilst we can ride the wave of claims that ‘hybrid’ ways of working are new, there has always been such practice in place, it’s more so a case, that in today’s modern employment practice, we need to work with agility and ensure potential risks or issues related to healthy work-life balance are addressed. The start of 2024 is a great time to consider how policy and practice can be enhanced and better accommodate the demands on working environments, investing in having the right virtual behaviours in place and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will strengthen teams and essentially ensure you are providing the right tools and resources that serve the right purpose to support employees' on a more digitalised platform.


Physical and Mental Employee Wellbeing:

Employee wellbeing has rightfully taken centre stage as we all continue to grapple with the ongoing aftermath of the pandemic and its toll on our health. Proactively supporting to address concerns, risks, and issues, particularly from a mental health perspective is a top priority for HR in 2024. Considering wellness strategies and plans where programmes destigmatise mental health through open forums and discussions will be incredibly beneficial, along with providing access to resources that will critically support the overall health and resilience of your workforce. New analysis from The Health Foundation reveals that 3.7 million working-age people are in work with a health condition that is ‘work-limiting’, meaning it limits the type or amount of work such individuals’ will be able to do. This figure increased by 1.4 million over the past decade, with more working-age people reporting long-term health conditions than ever before – a trend that is set to continue. Whilst work-limiting conditions are more common among women and workers of an older age, as well as those without university-level education or where there are differences with ethnic groups, the rate of conditions has grown fastest among younger workers. More needs to be done to increase the underrepresentation of those with work-limited conditions in professional and managerial roles, and organisational wellbeing strategies need to address such emerging concerns.


Retaining Talent in a Competitive Market:

With the job market continuing to be driven by candidates, and for many roles, competition to attract and retain top talent remains rife, it would be prudent for Recruiting Managers and HR resources need to have workforce and succession planning high on their list of priorities, along with ensuring recruitment strategies and plans are bolstered with a smooth streamlined recruitment process. These will enhance employer branding, and succinctly pave the way for onboarding and induction experiences to follow, that will truly capture the exact necessities to set new starters up for success. Technology and innovation will enable creative thinking outside the norm, but moreover, transparently demonstrate how diversity, equality with equity, and inclusion is crucially embraced in your organisation when recruiting, nurturing, and retaining talent.


Skills Development and Upskilling:

The rapid pace of technological advancement demands a workforce with an adaptable skill set. Whether budget constraints are limiting recruitment or whilst you look to successfully recruit, identifying ways to upskill your existing workforce will be of great organisational and employee value. Those responsible for learning and development should ensure sufficient organisational capacity and capability is in place to co-create a culture of continuous learning, providing opportunities for upskilling, and identifying key skills needed for the future, with a particular focus of digital literacy, technology skills and mandating cybersecurity awareness. This will not only aid digital transformation but protect and safeguard organisational data and digital assets vigilantly. Developing soft skills and strengthening emotional intelligence will also be paramount development areas for 2024. Homing in on communication, teamwork, and the ability to be agile and cope with change as automation takes over routine tasks or as wider organisational change is embraced; it will empower work cultures, enhance collaboration, and improve employee wellbeing. These skills are crucial for effective leaders and managers to overcome and resolve conflict and build stronger relationships internally within the organisation and externally. Focusing on workforce development not only benefits employees but also positions the organisation for long-term success.


Adapting HR Policies and Practice to embrace Legislative change:

We have already seen a raft of change from the Retained EU Law Revocation and Reform Act (2023) statutory instrument being introduced as of the 1st of January 2024 which has reformed the Working Time Regulations (1998) to simplify holiday entitlement and pay, as well as making amendments to the Equality Act (2010). Not only is the latter aiming to reduce the burden on small businesses regarding TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) consultation requirements, it will take a deeper dive and give clarity to address; indirect discrimination and the eradication of needing a shared protected characteristic; reinforces a single source test for the responsible body equal pay claims are made, gives broader definition of disability discrimination, changes maternity related provisions; and introduces greater prevention of discrimination in recruitment practice. More change will follow for this Act later in the year with the introduction of The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act (2023), and aside of your standard change to increase national minimum wage, there are many more changes afoot that we will see introduced throughout 2024, all of which will have an impact organisationally, and shape the world of work from an employer / employee perspective. Being prepared for the new Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act (2023), the Carer’s Leave Act (2023) … Now really is the time to look ahead and prepare for a procedural storm and ensure compliance with an evolving legal landscape that will shake-up the future of employment practice.


Employee Engagement:

If the significance of actively involving your workforce hasn't resonated with you yet from reading the above, it's time to recognise its absolute importance. Consistently seeking and evaluating insights, feedback, and active participation from employees is vital. This practice not only helps in understanding their needs and aligning them with organisational goals and objectives, but will also facilitate addressing concerns promptly, ensuring satisfaction reaches the desired level. Measuring levels of engagement, and having core values that unite your workforce and enhance the employee experience, whilst promoting trust and accountability, with an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement will strengthen employee relations and open up strategies to reward and recognise what employees want and need which would be beneficial for all and work wonders for your organisational culture.


Conclusion:

So, as you embark on your journey for 2024, we hope the above has been a useful read for organisational Leaders, Managers and HR professionals in shaping your future plans. By proactively addressing the HR and OD challenges set out above, it will bring about opportunities for organisational and people growth, whilst creating a well led workplace that not only attracts and retains top talent, but fosters a culture expected in today’s modern world of employment.

Here's to a year of strategic HR and OD initiatives and a thriving workforce in 2024!


If you need support in navigating your way through HR and OD challenges in 2024, speak with us – get in touch by emailing alice@hr-od.co.uk to book a FREE confidential HR & OD Discovery virtual session where we can apply our extensive expertise and offer a range of HR and OD people products that work – just ask our clients who relentlessly rate our solutions with ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ feedback.

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