Global HR

6 HR Trends and Predictions for 2024

November 27, 2023
November 27, 2023
Halah Flynn
Lattice Team

As every new year purports to launch us into a new world of work, HR teams everywhere are expected to stay ahead of the curve. Until AI becomes powerful enough to predict the future for us, we’ve used original Lattice research and talked to industry experts from our CPO Council to round up the most important trends and predictions for HR teams in 2024.

Discover how 2024 is shaping up to be HR’s most impactful year yet. 

1. Performance and engagement will be HR’s highest priorities.

Stuck choosing between driving performance and building a great place to work? Industry-leading HR professionals know better than anyone that a successful business needs both. 

In fact, the highest-performing HR teams in our 2024 State of People Strategy Report were more likely to have performance and engagement tied as their top priorities for the upcoming year. 

Supporting both initiatives comes from the philosophy that highly engaged employees do their best work. (Remember quiet quitting? That was only a year ago, and companies are still finding that low engagement leads to poorer business outcomes.) An environment that’s conducive to great performance requires clear expectations, flexible work policies, a sense of trust from managers, and regular recognition — all of which contribute to employee engagement, according to a 2023 survey by Lattice and YouGov

Employees rely on work environments that are conducive to trust and flexibility.

Here are a few things HR teams can do to help employees do their best work in 2024: 

2. DEIB isn’t going away.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) will remain a focus for people teams across the globe. 

Although our 2024 State of People Strategy Report found that DEIB fell down the list of priorities for HR teams, there is hope: 54% of HR professionals said their companies have been putting more effort into DEIB programs and policies over the past two years.

“As HR leaders adapt to the power of people, we need to be the first to remember: Trends come and go, but DEIB's core remains solid,” said Donald Knight, chief people officer at Greenhouse. “While the spotlight might shift, DEIB isn’t just a checkbox — it’s our gateway to creativity, to broad perspectives, and to competitive advantage.” 

Don’t let new priorities eclipse DEIB efforts that have been steadily building steam. Employees notice and internalize workplace changes that de-emphasize DEIB. When employees feel a diminished sense of belonging, it’s harder for them to contribute meaningfully — and they’re more likely to leave in search of a workplace that embraces and empowers them. 

“Let's unwaveringly champion what we know is great for people and great for business, even when it's not the talk of the town,” Knight added. 

Three ways people teams can start 2024 with a renewed focus on DEIB:

3. HR is joining the AI movement.

Artificial intelligence swept news headlines throughout 2023, meaning implementation of the latest AI tech will be on HR leaders’ minds (and in their budgets) in 2024. 

“Everywhere I look, there’s chatter about AI,” Knight said. “But here’s my two cents: AI isn’t the villain. When bias is mitigated, it’s a powerful ally, ready to help us sharpen our focus on what truly matters — the human connections in human resources.”

HR isn’t afraid of being replaced by AI: According to our 2024 State of People Strategy Report, 72% of HR pros don’t think AI will impact company headcount, and 65% weren’t worried about their job security in general. In fact, AI is already helping HR make work more meaningful as Knight described — 76% said they have started discussing, exploring, or implementing AI solutions in the workplace. 

“AI is a part of our future, whether we are ready for it or not,” said Gianna Driver, CHRO at Exabeam. “In HR, we’re often seen as late adopters of technology. This is our moment to change that narrative and allow AI to make us even more efficient, faster, and better at our jobs.”

Of course, AI comes with serious risks, like algorithmic biases, intellectual property infringement, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. But 68% of HR executives surveyed by Gartner said the benefits of AI outweigh the risks.

The risks can — and should — be managed by HR. Developing policies for employee use, training teams to manage the company’s intellectual property, and ensuring humans review and edit anything AI tools generate are just the start. 

“AI enables us to do our jobs better,” Driver said. “So let AI do what the technology can do, and focus on being human and bringing empathy and other human-centric skills to HR.” 

4. Equipping managers to lead will help businesses go farther. 

HR teams rely heavily on managers to keep a pulse on employee engagement, provide goals and document progress for their teams, and act as a set of eyes and ears for employee concerns about burnout, compensation, and more. 

That’s quite a tall order for managers who must also balance their roles and expectations. In 2023, managers were at higher risk of burning out than individual contributors were, with 66% of team-level managers reporting some or significant levels of burnout

But in organizations where managers are supported, empowered, and given the tools to succeed, “employees are 2.8 times more likely to provide positive net promoter scores, 2.5 times more likely to describe their company as highly innovative, and 1.6 times more likely to be highly engaged,” according to research published in the MIT Sloan Management Review

In 2024, manager enablement will be a key for implementing HR’s programming that keeps performance and engagement afloat. Here are four things HR can do to help managers start 2024 with confidence: 

5. Change fatigue will loom over employee performance.

Change fatigue is a general feeling of apathy or resignation toward company changes by employees, especially when too much change takes place in a short period.

Layoffs, acquisitions, restructuring, and other changes are constants in business, but they were especially prevalent this past year, with 41% of HR teams reporting layoffs at their company in our 2024 State of People Strategy Report. For the most part, these difficult changes were handled poorly: 

  • 59% of HR professionals said they felt the C-suite falls short in providing enough support for addressing low employee morale following a layoff.
  • Another 62% and 63% said the C-suite doesn’t provide enough support with training managers or with redefining roles, respectively.

Layoffs aren’t the only source of change fatigue. Organizational restructuring, cultural transformations, return-to-office changes, and the replacement of legacy tech systems can also drastically affect employees’ daily lives and understanding of their role at work. The average employee experienced 10 planned enterprise changes in 2022, according to Gartner, up from two in 2016. 

Gartner’s research shows the impacts of change fatigue are not only damaging to employee morale, but also directly affect performance, productivity, and other business outcomes. When they experienced change fatigue, surveyed employees reported:

  • 42% less intent to stay
  • 30% lower levels of trust
  • 27% less sustainable performance
  • 27% less responsiveness 
  • 22% less discretionary effort
  • 17% less enterprise contribution

Yet Gartner also found in another survey that only 20% of HR leaders are equipped to spot change fatigue, meaning it must become a key part of people teams’ listening strategies and employee surveys in 2024. 

Here’s what HR can do: 

6. Employees will expect more empathy from executives.

Internal communications is a pillar of company culture, where organizational values are crystalized in the way leadership communicates with employees. 

A regular line of communication — all-hands calls, town hall meetings, and regular face time between employees and executives — is crucial for ensuring that employees feel supported and heard, but the topics of communication are just as important. 

In 2024, HR teams will have to stay attuned to news and world events, and help manage the company leaders’ response to those events in a genuine, meaningful, and truthful way. 

Research on empathy in business from Ernst & Young found that:

  • More than half of employees (52%) believe their company’s efforts to be empathetic toward employees are dishonest. 
  • The majority of employees (86%) say empathetic leadership helps boost morale while 87% believe empathy is a key part of creating an inclusive workplace.

To maintain cohesion, HR teams will need to help repair the employee-executive relationship — and do it fast. Here’s how: 

  • Demonstrate to executives that low morale and engagement affect business outcomes.
  • Identify organizational values that drive internal and external communications. 
  • Work with the C-suite on guidelines for commenting on news and world events in the workplace. 

Of course, 2024 will be full of surprises, too. In the meantime, the best thing HR teams can do to be prepared is to survey employees about their needs, and work closely to align with company leadership about the path forward. Oh, and investing in your HR tech stack: Here’s why you need a better HR tech solution by January 1