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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Kirkland

2024 Culture & Talent Trends

We've entered 2024, and my LinkedIn feed is full of predictions for the year ahead...

... and I must say, I quite like it! 


Recent years have been a big lesson in expecting the unexpected, with curveballs as the new normal...


But I am particularly keeping an eye on a few talent and culture trends. 


1. AI- love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in-between, it's

here to stay 


It has and will continue to change the world of work.


Many people want to use it- Microsoft's Work Trend Index reveals that 70% of employees are eager to offload as much work as possible to AI to reduce their workload.


Organisations already focussing on skills-based approaches to talent management will have an advantage here. Understanding and curating jobs as skills & task collections will be a key step in figuring out what can be done (and crucially better performed) by AI, and what can uniquely be done by a human. AI will augment many processes and roles- insights with data, reducing human bias, and behaviour nudges (to name a few) will be hugely beneficial across areas like talent acquisition and performance enablement. Investing some time looking at this at both an individual and an organisational level will unlock synergies and efficiencies. It gets interesting with organisations moving towards a "skills-first" approach to talent management- which is increasingly seen in the market. 





... But, we need to prepare people and talent accordingly. "Prompting" was not even remotely on my radar when I started my career (or even five years ago), yet it has emerged as one of the most coveted skills in 2023. A culture where it is the norm to continually learn, upskill, and reskill will be paramount (not only for AI-related abilities but leadership and interpersonal skills will now need to be developed to an even greater level). From an employee perspective- learning agility, a desire to learn & grow- and from an employer side- curated pathways, skills-based learning, and outsourcing where necessary will be crucial.


My thoughts & data were informed by this article by LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky- worth a read for more detail on talent management & and AI: https://hbr.org/2023/12/talent-management-in-the-age-of-ai


2. Intentional culture design will be key in unlocking the full potential of the talent market 


We've seen an increasing (sometimes hostile) debate around office, hybrid and remote working cultures- I believe that a) being intentional about designing culture will be critical in bridging this divide, and b) organisations who have flexibility in their Employee Value Propositions (EVP) will find themselves competitively placed in the talent market. 


A recent Gartner survey reports that 41% of HR leaders believe hybrid work weakens employees' connection to company culture.


I view this as a huge opportunity- not to drive everyone back to the office five days a week (although, of course, there are industries and sectors where this is required)- but for organisations to be intentional about the design and operationalisation of their cultures and to understand how to create cultures that work in a variety of settings. 


However, almost half of the HR leaders Gartner surveyed are understandably grappling with how to drive the change needed to realise their desired culture.


Organisations able to make hybrid models work (or flex models where employees can choose within a menu) naturally open themselves to a much larger and richer talent pool. If we can equip people to feel more confident in building culture remotely and flexibly, then we will have a greater chance of unlocking the full potential of the talent market. 



All against the backdrop of business strategy & needs....


While it is a formidable challenge, you can intentionally design cultures that work in hybrid and remote settings. It's not a case of CTRL C/ V your physical culture, but looking at how to design or redesign to work in these settings. 


From a pure access to talent perspective, organisations that were previously priced out of specific talent markets and now choose to make hybrid and remote cultures part of their EVP- will gain a significant advantage when accessing talent they previously may not have been able to attract. One survey cited that 57% of workers would consider leaving their jobs if remote work was no longer allowed- being able to offer flexibility is a competitive talent advantage (Forbes).

 

Organisations that can access a larger pool of skilled talent, design cultures that foster alignment, belonging, and speed & agility will be at a huge advantage this year. 


3. Beyond a "Purpose-ful" Narrative


The term "company purpose" has become quite the catchphrase over the last few years. I anticipate that in 2024, the conversation will continue to pivot to what lies beyond just having a purpose. 


So what? 


More than merely documenting purpose is required, as is just inserting it into your Employer Branding activities. Purpose is a crucial part of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), and nowadays candidates, customers and employees are looking for substance and action. In 2024, I hope to see more companies integrating their strategies into "purpose" creation and implementation, connecting individual leadership purpose to company purpose, shifting from words to action... and, more than anything, defining behaviours for concrete change! 


There will be exciting conversations about what is beyond purpose this year, and I am looking forward to seeing what's to come! 


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