10 HR Trends to Follow in 2024

Part of a series  |  2024 HR Trends Series

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Stay on top of these 10 HR trends shaping tomorrow's workplace. Download the 2024 HR trends guide to access all the trends and discover how your organization can prepare.

The workplace will undergo significant changes in 2024, with numerous HR trends already materializing. Developments across diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), data and generative artificial intelligence (AI), HR technology, compliance and talent are shifting HR and business priorities and influencing leadership decisions. Staying current will be crucial for leaders hoping to move forward with clarity and confidence in a world of work constantly labeled "evolving," "disrupted" and "ever-changing."

10 HR trends to follow in 2024

1. Inclusion is playing a leading role

Leading with inclusion is coming to the fore in DE&I, with some organizations prioritizing the "I" in "DE&I."

"Judicial developments are causing organizations to thoroughly review their inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging programs, hiring practices and development offerings," says Tiffany Davis, chief inclusion and diversity officer, ADP. "Some organizations that have focused on supporting the development of certain groups have expanded their charters to include others and provide more comprehensive offerings with inclusion in mind. Education and awareness are critical as organizations consider reviewing and evolving their strategy toward an inclusion-first mindset."

2. Leaders are acting on DE&I before and beyond legislation

Organizations are becoming increasingly proactive in their DE&I measures, from expanding their understanding of identity and disability to adopting pay transparency to acknowledging how intersectionality impacts their workforce. Workers appear satisfied, with 53 percent saying their company has gotten better at DE&I compared to three years ago.

"In the past, the be-all and end-all of DE&I have had to do with compliance," says Giselle Mota, chief of product inclusion, ADP. "Sometimes, compliance only goes so far, leaving the full scope of nuances unaddressed. For example, before the EEOC updates its definitions of race and ethnicity, many organizations are expanding those options in self-ID sections to ensure employees and candidates are adequately represented. Additionally, beyond civil rights acts and antidiscrimination statements, many organizations now intentionally track analytics and create programs and policies that address intersectional nuances and people who are often overlooked."

3. Pay equity considerations remain strong as pay transparency laws gain ground

Pay transparency, an avenue for improving pay equity, is becoming increasingly important as states and localities enact laws requiring organizations to disclose pay in job postings and to workers upon request. Organizations need comprehensive pay data to inform their approaches, a compliance plan and a clear communications strategy to respond effectively.

"If leaders don't address their pay strategy internally to prepare for pay transparency, they won't be able to convey what they pay and why," says Kiran Contractor, director, talent acquisition, ADP. "That could be problematic because that's what the employee market wants."

4. Ethics and compliance are influencing decisions about data and generative AI

Given the rise of generative AI, ethics and compliance are increasingly important considerations for organizations. Tactics are addressing how data will be used with generative AI, who will use the technology and how best to comply with related laws and regulations. Access rights and responsibilities, data types and AI ethics policies and frameworks are also being considered.

"Organizations should be addressing the ethical and compliance aspects of data and generative AI," says Jason Albert, global chief privacy officer, ADP. "How do they account for data privacy and data security, given generative AI's disruption? What rights do employees have over their data being used to train generative AI models? As an industry, we'll continue observing developments across AI ethics and compliance because having these two areas as overlays is important in creating trust. Generative AI needs that trust, is evolving rapidly and will soon be transformative in ways we can't anticipate."

5. HR technology is receiving an intelligent upgrade

Leaders can likely expect more intelligent, easy-to-use HR technologies in 2024. Generative AI will be a primary facilitator, optimizing HR and payroll tasks and dense processes and enabling leaders to prioritize their workers and scale operations without adding resources. Consequently, leaders can expect a potential reduction in costs and time constraints as they utilize scores of people data and convert time-consuming tasks into rapid to-dos for knowledgeable AI assistants.

"We've just seen the beginning for generative AI," says Linda Mougalian, senior vice president, go-to-market strategy, ADP. "There's a race to bring value to the table but also a need to establish the infrastructure, organizational partnerships and governance to make the technology robust, reliable and trusted at scale. As we move into 2024, generative AI will shift from being used for specific tasks to being ubiquitously integrated into everything we do — a new expectation for how we work."

6. Wellness, rewards and recognition are receiving attention in employee experience technology

Accounting for critical components of the employee experience, major HR vendors have released recognition and rewards tools, emphasizing recognition. Additionally, rewards and recognition are among the top four spend categories for more than 20 percent of organizations increasing HR technology spending in 2024. Meanwhile, the wellness technology market is enveloping several subcategories, namely physical, mental and financial wellness. All are holding significant weight amid labor shortages impacting how organizations manage hiring and retention.

7. Multistate compliance for remote workers continues to be an issue

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many realized "working from home" could mean "working from wherever there's an internet connection." If work was getting done, being a commutable distance from the office suddenly didn't matter as much anymore. According to a 2023 global workforce survey conducted by the ADP Research Institute, almost half of workers say they've already relocated or are considering relocating. These realities can present challenges for employers registered in just one state.

As employees move across state lines, employers should understand their responsibilities for registering, paying taxes and complying with the laws applicable to their remote workers. Leaders should emphasize how important it is for employees to report relocations and ensure addresses are always up to date so they can be proactive about state registrations, taxes and other compliance items.

8. Multistate benefits administration is making compliance more complex

Many states have enacted laws addressing required employee benefits, presenting new challenges for employers administering benefits from another state. Some state laws have differing requirements, making having one base policy for all employees challenging. Some examples of varying state requirements include:

  • Paid parental, medical and family leave
  • Retirement plan options
  • Paid time off to vote
  • Amount of sick time

"Employers must stay abreast of the latest state and local laws and take proactive steps to ensure compliance," says Pete Isberg, vice president of government affairs, ADP. "This requires proper planning and allocation of resources, which may include seeking guidance from outside counsel and tax advisors."

9. Skills may be the secret to the labor shortage

There are 6.36 million unemployed workers in the labor market, yet employers are having difficulty filling roles. Factors at play could include a mismatch of education with business needs and jobs requiring new-technology skills. Regardless, employers need to fill positions with qualified workers. Instead of focusing solely on finding the right skills, they should prioritize building them. According to the ADP Research Institute, management skills and people skills are the most needed for the future of work. Deb Hughes, ADP's senior vice president of HR and change and communications, believes soft skills will also be in demand.

"Soft skills are often undervalued in the workplace, despite their crucial role in building connections and fostering empathy," Hughes says. "Companies that prioritize, amplify and develop these skills in their workers will be the ones that thrive."

10. The traditional career path is evolving

How careers unfold today is different. A traditional career path often involved getting a degree, entering the workforce and "climbing the ladder" at one or two organizations. Instead, more workers today are traversing a career web where they can choose mobility or stability. With increased education costs and entry-level roles not paying enough to offset student debt, some workers are opting for fields that don't require degrees or entering the workforce while in school.

"Employees aren't following a traditional career path anymore — they rarely exist," says Amy Leschke-Kahle, vice president of talent insights and innovation, ADP. "This means leaders need to evolve and redefine how they think about careers so they can meet employees where they are."

Dive deeper

Organizations must continuously stay abreast of the latest developments in HR and business. By remaining current across HR technology, compliance, data and generative AI, DE&I and talent, leaders can position themselves for success and move forward with clarity and confidence in the new year, which promises to bring significant changes. Leaders can thrive by embracing these changes and taking time to plan.

Get help: Download the 2024 HR trends guide to access all the trends and discover how your organization can prepare.