Article: 6 resolutions for HR this 2024

Strategic HR

6 resolutions for HR this 2024

New year, new resolutions! What will you as a HR practitioner commit to do, or not do, this year? Here are six suggestions.
6 resolutions for HR this 2024

As we enter 2024, it's time to consider what we want to achieve in the coming year, and what guiding principles we intend to follow over the next twelve months. Here are six suggestions for HR practitioners aiming to elevate their work.

1. Don't bank too much on generative AI

Generative AI was the talk of the town throughout 2023, with hype coming from every front and companies rushing to jump on the bandwagon. But in the world of work, the technology has since turned out to be more of a simple step forward than a great leap: its practical applications boil down to slightly improved automation, with intensive human curation still required to extract genuine value from its capabilities.

Generative AI absolutely does have its use in the workplace, and multiple applications have proven how useful it is in supporting for HR functions. But it shouldn't be the sole and central pillar of a people strategy. Rather, the 'human' element – HR's own specialisation – must remain central to decisions, processes, and initiatives, and we must remember that generative AI is the means to a human end - not an end in itself.

2. Spend plenty of time with your business leadership

No more silos! HR strategy needs to be integrated with business strategy, and the best way to do that is to hear directly from the business decision makers. Some of the best HR leaders worldwide establish strong and in-depth relationships with their executive teams, embedding themselves in discussions that affect the business direction and using the takeaways from those conversations to shape the people strategy in ways that benefit the organisation's performance.

And it's not just the topmost HR leadership who can do this. HR practitioners at all levels need to make some kind of effort to work with the business-related departments, even if it's just simple communication about what's going on with various aspects of the business.

3. Stay away from age stereotypes, young or old

Since the pandemic, there's been a lot of talk about the generational divide between older employees and younger, Gen Z workers. This may have been initially justified, as several entire cohorts of fresh graduates entered the workforce post-lockdown with zero experience or understanding of workplace norms and expectations. But that muddled introduction was more than two years ago, and there are no excuses for still holding onto low-effort stereotypes – young or old.

HR needs to set the tone for more accurate, equitable treatment of different age demographics. While stereotyping won't ever completely go away, HR is in a position to ensure that it does not affect the hiring, treatment, career development, or opportunities given to employees. Make use of that position!

4. Keep embracing flexibility

Even today, many companies still go back and forth on the value of flexibility, or face challenges with its implementation. The fact is, flexibility is a choice that employers and employees alike make every day. And it goes two ways: just as employees may be willing to put in different or extra hours, employers also must be willing to fairly allow them equitable downtime and compensatory time off.

HR can make that kind of equitable flexibility easier with well thought out policies which are clearly communicated to leaders and managers, and by supporting employees who wish to make use of those policies.

5. Listen to what employees are saying

Employee experience hasn't been great for a while. Even though some companies have managed to buck the trend and give their people a good workplace experience, the truth is that the last few years' prolonged disruptions have taken a toll on many employees' job satisfaction. And that has had a knock-on effect on performance and retention.

HR needs to have a strong grasp of what's happening on the ground, where the points of friction are, and when a small short-term fix is needed as opposed to a larger-scale intervention. And that means continually, consistently listening to employees, not just through official pulse surveys but also through simple human communication.

6. Most importantly, stay human!

Every resolution listed above has a common factor: the human element. People use technology, not the other way around; people communicate, people have empathy, people support people. HR might utilise AI and other tech tools to carry out tasks and successfully execute their strategies, but the ultimate objective of those tasks and strategies is to ensure that people are well managed and equitably treated in the workplace. And so, as we enter 2024, this should be the resolution to keep in mind above all others: stay human.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Watercooler, #Outlook2024

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