Article: A year for reinvention: What 2024 holds for the employee experience

Employee Relations

A year for reinvention: What 2024 holds for the employee experience

Understanding what employees need goes beyond basic perks. It means using AI to support HR without taking over, spending wisely for a better employee experience, and embracing seamless tech for a tech-savvy workforce.
A year for reinvention: What 2024 holds for the employee experience

Creating a fun workplace with pool tables and free lunches may once have been a tactic to attract the best talent, but employee preferences are shifting. While these perks are appreciated, employees are increasingly more interested in understanding their part in reaching broader business goals, achieving career growth, receiving feedback and being heard at work. This means having two-way open communication channels that facilitate constructive dialogue about roles, performance, impact and opportunities. For the Asia Pacific region, this is particularly crucial, with PwC finding that about 70% of employees in this region could look for greener pastures if employers don't hear them out.

Change, these days, indeed is the only constant. Happening in tandem with this evolving employee sentiment is the rapid transformation fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. So, what is in store for business leaders navigating the employee experience? Expect the following key trends to leave a significant impression on businesses in the year ahead.

While AI will add immense value to HR tech stacks, robots won’t be calling all the shots anytime soon 

Let's get one thing straight; AI cannot apply the level of consideration, individual reasoning and group collaboration that is required from humans navigating complexity and relationships in the workplace. This holds especially true for empathy-reliant and judgement-heavy roles like human resources (HR). 

Automation or AI-powered technology will never be able to fully replace the “power skills” of a skilled HR practitioner, including selecting qualified candidates, recognising someone’s potential, assessing talent and making performance management decisions. 

To say that AI is not and will not continue to be beneficial in HR would be a disservice to the potential of AI. It frees teams up to operate more strategically, by speeding up tasks like job description preparation, drafting interview questions, improving communications, and supporting payroll and benefits administration.

Employers will re-evaluate budget and focus on responsible spending for the employee experience 

In 2023, the economic conditions forced business leaders to reassess how budgets were distributed. This resulted in challenging decisions for some employers, including layoffs, a pause in hiring, and the postponement of promotions or salary raises.

With constrained financial resources, leaders must invest in what truly matters to employees. Trim away flashy initiatives that might have temporarily boosted engagement in the past but no longer cater to the current needs of employees. Employees are not retained by having a beer on tap – they want to contribute to meeting business goals, receive feedback, have career progression and be heard at work, none of which has to involve spending budget.

Now is the time to invest in efforts that foster an engaged workforce, with diverse backgrounds and an environment where employees collaboratively work to achieve common business outcomes. Employees want flexibility, career growth, interesting work and comprehensive benefits. This is possible if leaders hone in on responsible spending that positively impacts employee experience. 

Seamless tech experiences will become the norm as more digital natives enter the workforce

While digital natives are already part of the current workforce, there will be an influx of even more tech-savvy graduates. 

This generation is currently in their final years of secondary education and has enjoyed the proximity to a proliferation of technology throughout their formative years. With their technical prowess comes an expectation of instant gratification and seamless experiences that won’t tolerate dated, clunky systems and processes. There will also be higher expectations for inclusivity of voices and representation in design — preparing for all of this is imperative in building sustainable, value-adding organisations.

Having a well-planned employee experience technology strategy is essential to attracting the best digital natives coming into the labour market. Investing in solutions that enable cross-functional collaboration, streamline decision-making,  uplevel data insights, power in-the-moment learning and strengthen an engaged, diverse learning culture will cultivate an environment that addresses the next generation’s needs.

While the unpredictable nature of recent years has tested organisations’ ability to withstand volatility, continual changes impacting the workforce will require innovation and creativity. 2024 will be a momentous year, as business leaders strive to build a sustainable path forward to optimise the experience of their greatest assets - people.

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Topics: Employee Relations, #Future of Work, #Artificial Intelligence, #EmployeeExperience

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