The year 2023 proved to be a year of continued disruption and exploration for HR and talent leaders globally. Amidst shifts like hybrid work models, the great reshuffle, economic uncertainty, hiring freezes, and technological disruptions from AI advances, HR teams have had to navigate numerous complex challenges. CHROs, in response, prioritised resilience, continuity, and value, skillfully balancing business adaptation and the well-being of their people.
Balancing business adaptation and people impact defined much of the year, according to Dr. Thomas Ogilvie, CHRO of DHL Group. In Jeff Schwartz's depiction –a future of work expert, the landscape witnessed intense "exploration" into skills and AI, coupled with a sense of "exasperation" due to the looming recession and challenges in talent retention.
AI will go from hype to scale, but mostly causing headaches and forcing rapid adaptation and abandonment of old ways of working --Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic,psychologist, author
Many efforts centred on resilience, noted Kate Barker – a global HR futurist based in the UAE, through real-time performance management, ethical AI integration, and leadership development. Tight talent markets and economic cooldowns brought “challenging” times, said Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of ManpowerGroup.
Amidst the challenges, there was a notable surge in experimentation, as highlighted by IBM's CHRO, Nickle LaMoreaux, who pointed to "tremendous growth”. And as professor and author Dave Ulrich shared, dialogues grew around HR’s value to stakeholders like employees, customers, and communities. If organisations don’t succeed in business, there is no workplace.
So what’s ahead in 2024? Continued tech integration, with a need to evolve operating models to capitalise on AI’s promise, while ensuring safe, ethical usage. As Barker predicted, HR’s influence will match strategy like never before.
I'm excited for the collaboration between HR and AI to improve experience, productivity and innovation --Nickle LaMoreaux, CHRO, IBM
Ulrich also foresees HR organising initiatives into a capability framework - spanning talent, organisation, leadership and functional excellence - that serves all stakeholders. Success will come through analytics measuring the value created and prioritising the highest-impact opportunities.
There will also be an emphasis on internal talent mobility, transparent performance management enabling continuous coaching and growth, and focus on skills, as Schwartz outlined. Leaders agree HR will spearhead positive societal change, becoming a catalyst for ESG and sustainability commitments.
2024 is the year HR spearheads the charge toward a more sustainable, inclusive and business-focused future -- Kate Barker, future of work expert
2023 was a year of exploration, and 2024 will be a year to drive impact. HR has learnings to apply and opportunities to capture. With a focus on capability building, value creation, and ethical tech integration, it can redefine work’s future.
Though economic and political turbulence may continue globally alongside advancing automation, HR now has a chance to chart a bold new course focused on human capabilities.
In essence, while challenges will persist, HR stands at the forefront, ready to lead impactful change in areas crucial to society's health: our people, passions, and the human potential to thrive.