Organizational Wellness

Six HR Trends Already Shaping the 2024 Workplace

Oct 3, 2023
Last Updated Jun 14, 2024

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — annual planning! After all, who doesn’t love huddling around Google Drive to make a year-long to-do list?

If you’re taking the time to plan that far in advance, you want your ideas to be grounded in what’s actually going on in the world. After all, finding out that your carefully curated strategies were little more than a creative writing project is about as fun as getting coal in your stocking. 
Fortunately for you, there are already overarching HR trends that can inform your thinking as you look forward to 2024. 

Spoiler alert: Technology, worker wellbeing, flexibility, professional development, and overlooked workers are set to have a major influence on HR next year. Here’s how your department can use these trends to power performance all year long.

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Trend One: Fostering Holistic Wellness

Wellbeing has become increasingly important the last few years, and this is going to continue into 2024.

When surveyed in 2023, 93% of workers consider their wellbeing at work as important as their salary (up from 83% in 2022). In tandem, 87% of workers say they would consider leaving a company that does not focus on employee wellbeing (a 10% increase, year-over-year).

Employees are also excited about corporate wellness efforts. Seventy-seven percent of workers engaged with their employer’s wellbeing benefits last year, which is up from 68% in 2022. 

How to Take Advantage of this HR Trend

This trend directly benefits organizations. Employee health is ultimately good for business, after all! Workers who feel better are more productive, profitable, and less likely to leave an organization. You can tap this trend by:

  • Launching a Wellness Program. A wellness initiative is an institutional commitment to workforce wellness. Connecting employees with actionable resources — like health apps and gym memberships — enables them to take better care of themselves. It simultaneously makes clear your organization’s care of and commitment to its employees.
  • Building a Culture of Wellbeing. To get the most out of the program, you have to create an environment where employees feel supported on their wellbeing journey. Simple actions can help, like managers blocking time on their calendar to meditate to set a positive example for the team. Companies can also make this wellbeing culture clear with a broad gesture: Spotify, for example, had a company-wide wellness week. It shut all offices to create the space their workforce needed to destress, recharge, and take care of themselves.

Trend Two: Flex Work Environments

While the pandemic brought in WFH, 2024 is ushering in an era of ‘work where’s best for you.’ For all the debate around WFH vs. Return to Office, there's actually a simple answer. The best work environment is the one that an employee prefers.

This is rooted in that all-important concept of employee wellbeing. As revealed in Wellhub' State of Work-Life Wellness 2024 report, employees working in their preferred environment (whether that’s hybrid, office, or at home) report higher wellbeing than those in their non-preferred workplace. Employees working where they want are more likely than those experiencing a ‘mismatch’ are more likely to: be in shape, feel happy with their current company, experience psychological safety at work, and say they are thriving (among other wellness boosts).

How to Take Advantage of this HR Trend

More than a third of employees wish they worked in a different work environment. You can help these employees with flex work policies like:

  • Custom Schedules: In an ideal world, where your organization can offer work-from-home options along with an office environment, you can let employees choose where they are working day-to-day. This lets you offer full autonomy to employees to pick the environment they need to do their best work on any given day.
  • Flex Work Hours: When employees have a doctor’s appointment or childcare dropoff in the morning, getting to work on time can be stressful. You can decrease this anxiety by offering flexible working hours. This means employees do their work on the schedule that best accommodates them that day. Doing so can give employees the ability to better pick where they work, such as an employee who prefers working in the office but can’t make it there by nine since their dentist is across town. If their start time is not an issue, then neither is the extra drive time.

Trend Three: Deploying AI (Everywhere, All At Once)

Artificial intelligence was the belle of the ball in 2023, and it’s going to continue reshaping HR in 2024. 

Don’t worry — AI is making HR departments more efficient, not redundant. It makes it easier to automate mundane tasks, such as performance reviews and payroll processing. This leaves HR free to focus on more strategic tasks, like strategizing for expanding the team or modernizing training programs

If your organization hasn’t explored using this technology yet, 2024 is your year.

How to Take Advantage of this HR Trend

Before using any AI, make sure to review your tools and objectives to ensure they comply with relevant laws and regulations. Putting this extra work in up front can ultimately save you time as you roll out AI to:


Trend Four: Supercharging Professional Development

Another side effect of AI is an increasing demand for workers that can use the platforms. At the same time, employers continue to hire at slow rates after mass layoffs, leaving many teams smaller and with fewer skills than at the start of 2023.

Together, these pressures are pushing HR to provide professional development opportunities that help employees rise to the occasion amid shifting expectations.

This certainly isn't a doom-and-gloom trend! Eight out of 10 workers believe automation will free people up to do more fulfilling work. And effective professional development can increase job satisfaction: 89% say that professional development in their field is important to keeping them more engaged at work.

How to Take Advantage of this HR Trend

Identifying what roles and employees require upskilling and education will be a key function of HR in the coming years as they help people keep their skills up-to-date.

  • AI Certifications: Sponsoring employee participation in relevant digital courses in AI can help your employees and organization benefit from these advancements.
  • Employee Surveys: What employees wanted to know about three years ago could well be outdated now. As you develop your professional development plans for 2024, consider running a pulse survey on what new skills they would find most helpful here and now.

Trend Five: Resolving the Productivity Paradox

In recent years, worker productivity has plateaued — or even slowed — despite the increase in technology and other efficiencies. This is known as the productivity paradox

As a result, many organizations are working hard to improve productivity without simply throwing more tools at workers.

How to Take Advantage of this HR Trend

  • Leveraging Wellbeing: The majority of workers say every dimension of wellbeing impacts their productivity. (Emotional wellness is the most influential, with 95% of workers saying it impacts their productivity.) Employers that want to boost productivity can start by evaluating their employee wellness strategy to meet workers’ needs more effectively.
  • Conducting Time Audits: Understanding when employees are most productive, for example, can be a game-changer. By collecting and analyzing data on employee work patterns, HR can optimize schedules to align with peak productivity hours.
  • Improving Meeting Efficiency: Poorly run meetings are notorious productivity killers. HR can encourage Slack or project management tools as alternatives. Providing education on how to run an effective meeting can help employees make the most of their time together. 

Trend Six: Hiring the Hidden Workforce

Struggling to fill your vacancies? The “forgotten workforce” can be the solution to this problem in 2024. 

The hidden group consists of individuals from diverse backgrounds who can fill the gaps within the labor market. People like retirees looking to return to work, caregivers, neurodiverse individuals, individuals with long-term health problems, and those without degrees but a wealth of ability.

How to Take Advantage of this HR Trend

One of the best ways to attract and retain these hidden talents is to adopt a more inclusive approach to hiring, removing any barriers these individuals face when job hunting. To do this, consider these strategies:

  • Inclusive Job Descriptions: The first step is to ensure that job descriptions are written for a wide range of candidates. Eliminate jargon, focus on core skills and qualifications, and emphasize the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Skills-Based Hiring: Consider shifting the hiring focus from a strict emphasis on qualifications and experience to a skills-based approach. Recognize that skills can be acquired through various life experiences, and candidates should be evaluated based on their ability to perform the job rather than their formal education or prior job titles.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Many individuals in the hidden workforce, such as retirees and caregivers, may require flexible work arrangements. Offering options like remote work, part-time positions, or flexible hours can attract and retain this talent.

Stay on Trend

Taking care of employees never goes out of style. 

More than 15,000 companies trust Wellhub with their employees’ wellbeing. Our network of more than 50,000 wellness partners lets us meet workers wherever they are in their well being journey. 

The business results speak for themselves: Active Wellhub users report higher wellbeing than non users, are less likely to leave their job, and have lower healthcare costs.

Speak with a Wellhub wellbeing specialist to harness the power of wellness in 2024!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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