People sitting on bench

Hurdles Talent Leaders are Facing in 2024

A new year means new and exciting projects. But it can also mean new challenges. Let's take a look at some of the challenges that talent leaders are getting ready to face in 2024. 

The past year has brought forth many changes, both positive and negative to the working world. Advancements in technology, changes in expectations of employees, and most importantly the shift in work dynamics present some newer challenges to the workforce. The new year is in full swing, and it brings with it fresh hurdles for those responsible for managing and developing the organization's most valuable asset—its people.

Let’s take a look at a few key challenges that talent leader sare likely to encounter and also offer some practical strategies to address them.

Talent Acquisition in an Unstable Market

It should be no surprise that organizations today engage in more intentional workforce planning. Compared to a few years ago, companies today are considering which hires are truly necessary or even pausing hiring entirely in some cases. Budgets are still tight, which means that companies are still taking a conservative approach to planning, instead of hiring to fill a need here and now.

Even if your organization is not hiring in the early parts of the new year, public opinion suggests that the job market has started to improve and that companies have begun to invest in growth again. Additionally, we see that employers place a greater emphasis on quality now more than ever as new employees are expected to take on additional responsibilities.

But to attract the best talent - now or when the time comes - you need to present yourself as the best employer. So whether you are increasing your focus on quality over quantity, or looking to hit the ground running when hiring picks up again, try to use this time now to your advantage and strengthen your organization’s employer brand. Conduct research with your current employees to figure out how you can best highlight your company’s values, vision, culture, and growth opportunities openly on your website and social media platforms.

Refine your recruitment strategies and bring forth the power of new technologies and AI to fine-tune certain areas in your hiring process. Making improvements to your talent strategy can help you and your talent teams be prepared and charge full steam ahead when hiring begins again.

Skills Gaps

The uncertainties of the hiring and recruitment market, combined with constant technological advancements, mean that many departments within your organization might be struggling with skills gaps. As a talent leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that your people have the skills necessary to remain competitive in the new year and beyond - regardless of your hiring roadmap.

So, explore and organize training and development programs that will allow employees to enhance their skill set and also maybe acquire new ones. E-learning tools like Maven and Kahoot, online courses such as UdemyCoursera, and EdEx, as well as certifications and distance learning are some examples you can offer your team.

As a people leader, you also can promote cross-functional training, where employees can upskill themselves on tasks not directly related to their immediate roles. You can also facilitate continual knowledge sharing between the teams by organizing activities such as lunch and learns, and mentorship programs, and utilizing platforms such as Slack and Teams to openly communicate about projects, learnings, and roadblocks. You may even offer recognition programs for members who actively participate in these as a sign of motivation. Activities of this kind can create a workforce that is more adaptable to the needs of the organization in this uncertain period while also promoting a learning culture.

Finally, you can work directly with hiring managers to regularly assess the skills of your personnel to identify areas of improvement through a skills gap analysis. A skills gap analysis is about documenting what skills you do have today and comparing it with the projected skills you will need in the future. It always starts with being uncomfortably transparent about your strengths and weaknesses as a team that either supports or hinders you from reaching those goals. An in-depth understanding of your team will be ever so crucial to staying ahead of the skills curve in this rapidly evolving job market.

Quiet Quitting

There is no doubt that the workforce has taken quite a mental beating recently. Employee engagement is at an all-time low with up to 85% not engaged, affecting company morale and overall productivity leading to disengaged employees not performing to the best of their abilities. Coined by Bryan Creely, a corporate recruiter turned coach, quiet quitting occurs when “where employees put in a minimal amount of effort just to get through the workday”.

There are several ways you can tackle quiet quitting, but employee wellbeing is always a good place to start - since it’s foundational to performance, engagement, and longevity at work.

Refresh your organization's approach to wellbeing and mental health by showing your workers that you are putting it on top of the priority list. Establish open communication lines and encourage your team to share their thoughts with leadership to build trust and foster a “we will get out of this” mindset.

Given that leaders and managers are the key to establishing trust between an organization and their employees, it’s important that you offer training and support to them on how to navigate these difficult conversations. Providing actionable feedback, empathetic listening, and career succession plans are some things to focus on during these training activities.

In addition, leaders also have to ensure that employees can see the impact of their work on the business’s ROI. Knowing that their efforts contribute to the bottom line can significantly increase an employee’s motivation and job satisfaction. Linking individual tasks to the company's ROI helps employees understand how their work aligns with broader organizational goals. This alignment fosters a sense of belonging and a shared commitment to the company's success

Organizations with high levels of employee engagement are shown to double their ROI and even be 21% more profitable than their competition. More studies have shown that companies that are committed to bettering their employee engagement have survived these storms and even outperformed their competitors in the process.

Remote and Hybrid Work

The last several years have reshaped the way we work. Remote and hybrid work models have become the new normal and while they come with a plethora of positives, they also present unique challenges for people leaders. This could be in the areas of employee engagement, communication, collaboration, and overall employee well-being.

As HR leaders, you have to ensure that your organization has adapted to this paradigm shift by ensuring that your organization has a defined remote/hybrid work policy. 

Secondly, it is important to invest in technology that supports remote and hybrid work. This could include virtual team collaboration and project management software, or even cybersecurity measures. Lastly, encourage your workforce to embrace this flexibility and emphasize the importance of mental health and work-life balance. You can organize virtual team-building activities in addition to providing resources and initiatives that focus on health all in the spirit of boosting employee wellbeing.

Strong organizations are built on a thriving and resilient workforce so it is time for People leaders to step up and create those organizations of the future. Prioritize employee well-being and tweak your company’s work policy to accommodate remote and/or hybrid work. Do not be afraid to address employee engagement and work with your talent teams to improve your hiring practices. Invest in upskilling initiatives and work actively to prepare your organization for the future. Navigating the uncertainties that 2024 will bring will require adaptability, proactiveness, flexibility, and innovation.

Author profile Manu Prasanna

Embarking on a unique journey encompassing marketing and recruitment, Manu has a fascination for all things Employer Branding, Recruitment and HR Operations.