Wondering what 2024 will bring? It probably comes as no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) dominates predictions about the world of work, training, learning and development (L&D), and Human Resources (HR) in 2024. Experts point to organizations moving from “AI adoption to AI maturity.” Personalized learning continues to be a focus—and something AI can help organizations achieve. The in-office/remote/hybrid work model remains a subject of debate, although most experts seem to feel organizations ultimately will bow to employees’ preference for flexibility in their work location.
L&D experts and research identify trends to keep an eye on in the coming year:
TOP EMPLOYERS INSTITUTE’S WORLD OF WORK TRENDS 2024
- Empower through AI. The release of ChatGPT in November 2022 prompted a wave of excitement about the potential of generative AI and considerable concerns about its impact on employment. As we enter 2024, the conversation will become more grounded. Organizations will look to implement more ethical stewardship of their potential in the year ahead and start with a clear vision for human-AI synergies.
Many organizations are still in the exploratory stages with AI, and in 2024, the discussion will shift from what you can do with AI to what you should do with AI. An ethical framework for AI adoption will, therefore, become central to HR digital strategies. We see this happening in three ways:
- Organizations take a responsible approach to how data is used to track employee behavior or sentiment. HR leaders must prioritize AI’s ethical, explainable, and transparent roll-out.
- HR will see how technology can be used and deployed around the employee experience. When poorly implemented, AI could cause employees to lose a sense of meaning in their work.
- HR will look to see how AI can support, rather than challenge, the interaction between humans. Humans want to work with humans. And while AI offers HR innovative new routes to tracking and personalizing offerings, face-to-face contact will become a greater imperative.
- The future defined with purpose. In last year’s World of Work Trends Report, we predicted the growing importance of a “lived” purpose—one that comes straight from the heart of all those who work. This sense of purpose will remain a constant in their everyday decisions. More recent research conducted by Top Employers Institute shows that organizations will only see the benefits of a solid organizational purpose if they have the right leaders to bring it to life.
Purpose-driven leadership is critical to success. So what do employees want from their leaders in 2024?
- On big-picture issues, they want leaders to be situated in the real world, speaking about real-world problems, just as their employees would. They should think beyond immediate business concerns to offer more to their employees.
- Empathy is also at the heart of purpose-driven leadership. Leaders will need this trait as much as their business acumen in the coming year. Empathy requires a genuine two-way dialogue. Leaders must listen more—employees expect an authentic voice in important decisions.
- Dialogue for transformation. Employees who feel genuinely listened to by the organization are more likely to be engaged, and organizations orchestrating meaningful employee dialogues are reaping the benefits. Our latest Top Employers data shows that almost every HR practice encouraging employee involvement in strategic decisions helps to drive business success metrics.
A Dialogue for Transformation has two elements:
- On an individual level, employees need to see their input applied practically in business decisions—those who feel empowered to influence how their work gets done experience far higher performance levels and job satisfaction.
- Beyond the individual, collective intelligence describes the alchemy that happens when diverse perspectives meet collaboratively. It represents the sum of individual intelligence and the additional innovation sparked through their combination.
- Evolution of well-being effectiveness. Many organizations struggle to balance their HR budgets while still trying to enhance employee well-being. Research carried out by Top Employers Institute last year demonstrated that additional well-being programs provided little or no additional benefit to employees beyond a saturation point.
Most Top Employers actively promote their well-being programs through organization-wide strategy, assessment, and metrics.
- Nearly 4 in 5 (79 percent) organizations have a coherent overarching approach to all dimensions of well-being (up 4 percentage points since the last survey).
- Nearly 3 in 4 (72 percent) organizations regularly conduct an “employee well-being needs assessment” to identify employee needs, interests, likes and dislikes, and to adjust their offerings where appropriate (up 5 percentage points).
- There has been a significant increase in the use of metrics, with more than two-thirds of Top Employers consistently using them (68 percent, up 8 percentage points), along with the accountability of more than half (54 percent) of leaders to meet well-being targets (up 7 percentage points).
- Broaden the horizon of DEI. In the last year, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have come under budgetary pressure, so organizations are looking for these initiatives to impact their workforce positively. In 2024, the tight talent market will grow as employers become more open to “non-traditional” candidates.
We think DEI approaches will change in three ways:
- The consideration of diversity will expand far beyond demographic segmentation. While groupings, such as gender and race, will continue to be areas of focus, 2024 will see a shift toward a more nuanced approach to DEI. For example, expect the importance of neurodivergent talent (and its link to higher levels of creativity and innovation) to grow.
- DEI analytics and the metrics used will become more sophisticated. Not all demographics are straightforward to capture. However, we have learned from progress in gender representation that data is critical to improvement.
- The “majority” will be actively included in DEI strategies at some point in their career journey, with different experiences increasingly acknowledged. A more holistic inclusion strategy likely will be adopted to complement the ongoing targeted initiatives for under-represented groups.
TALENTLMS AND VYOND REPORT
New research from TalentLMS and Vyond revealed that 41 percent of employees will look for another job in 2024 if their company doesn’t provide them with training opportunities. Some 66 percent of the 1,000 respondents say they need to develop new skills to be successful at their job. Here are the five trends spotted in the report:
- Personalized learning: Cookie-cutter training doesn’t cut it anymore. Some 80 percent of employees surveyed in the TalentLMS and Vyond research think personalized learning will be important in 2024. With emerging tech promising to enable personalization at scale, we’ll see more organizations in the coming year switching to a more individualized approach to training. From curriculum consumers, learners are set to become curriculum curators.
- Learn better, work better, live better: From skills growth to self-growth. Some 68 percent of employees think non-work-related training that supports their overall well-being will be important in 2024. From mental health and mindfulness to financial wellness, career management, and further, L&D is taking a more holistic approach to employee development. Fusing personal development with workplace learning will not only support employees to work better but also live better.
- AI in training—innovation, automation, and acceleration. The widespread rollout of AI features, platforms, and tools will impact multiple domains of training, such as learning metrics, personalization, content development and curation, assessments, feedback, and more. Throughout the report, we’ve seen that employees are highly motivated to explore AI, pointing to fertile ground for the accelerated adoption of AI in training. This year, we’ll see AI unlocking new opportunities in measuring and bridging skill gaps and driving innovation.
- Learning with purpose—integrating L&D initiatives with business goals. Metrics and analytics are central in assessing the impact of L&D efforts on achieving business objectives. With AI unlocking new levels of reporting and metrics, data-driven training will anchor L&D more deeply in organizational goals. It will enable laser-focused addressing of business needs through training. In short, it will not be just about learning anymore; it’ll be about learning with purpose.
- Bringing back the human touch—interpersonal skills in focus. On the heels of working from home, hybrid work, and a lack of socialization during the pandemic, people learned to keep more to themselves. But after falling into the rhythm of social distancing, many still struggle to readjust to the return of social interactions. On top of that, workplaces have become more tech-driven and digital, with a shortfall of human touch and a decline in face-to-face interaction. We anticipate this soft skills gap will come more into focus in 2024, highlighting the need to bring back the human touch in the workplace.
In addition, skills are rapidly changing. The study shows employees are aware of that, with 57 percent saying that the shelf life of skills is shorter than it used to be.
7 Takeaways for Employers:
1. Fast-track the development of new skills.
2. Fire up internal mobility to address skill gaps.
3. Embed learning into the workflow.
4. Shift from a content-centric to a learner-centric approach.
5. Empower learners with data.
6. Craft captivating learning experiences.
7. Develop a learning culture as learning takes a village.
FORRESTER’S FUTURE OF WORK IN 2024
- An “EX Winter” will freeze employee experience (EX) investments. In 2024, many teams that drive EX will suffer from a lack of funding or focus. Investments in technology won’t drive EX forward, either: While 66 percent of technology decision-makers who work in software say they will invest in employee experience/human capital management software in the year ahead, those investments won’t be used to their full advantage.
- AI will cause mischief in talent management and recruiting. In 2024, we will see AI’s impacts in talent management and recruiting—particularly the latter. Forrester predicts hiring mayhem: At least one well-known company will hire a candidate who doesn’t actually exist. Use of bots and generative AI by candidates will require recruiters to employ retaliatory, protective AI in response. In turn, some of that HR recruiting software will go awry.
- Leaders won’t hear their own employee listening efforts. In 2024, an inability or unwillingness to listen will contribute to the EX winter, where some leaders, emboldened by lower attrition and slowly improving return-to-office (ultimately hybrid) efforts, will miss the chance to hear from the people who actually do the work of their organization.
The survey of 1,800 U.S. respondents found that 85 percent of workers are worried they will lose their jobs in 2024. Half reported they were a little worried while more than one-third (35 percent) said they were definitely worried.
Other key findings include:
- 8 in 10 respondents (78 percent) expect a recession in the U.S. in 2024.
- 69 percent believe that competition for jobs will increase in 2024.
- Nearly half (45 percent) predict a reduction in remote job openings.
- 8 in 10 respondents (78 percent) fear losing their jobs due to the growth of AI in 2024.
- 62 percent expect the labor market will be more stressful than in previous years.
- 40 percent predict more people will suffer job burnout in 2024.
- 87 percent believe more companies will introduce more return-to-office (RTO) policies
- 67 percent think the gig economy will continue to expand in 2024.
- Almost 9 in 10 people (87 percent) believe more companies will introduce return-to-office (RTO) policies in 2024 than in 2023.
- 72 percent think there will be a higher demand for specialists in 2024.
- 61 percent expect recruitment processes to be longer in 2024.
- 69 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that more people will quit in 2024 if they don’t consider their salaries rewarding. And 68 percent say employers must pay more to retain workers in 2024.
- Investment in technology resiliency: Udemy has seen 2.5 million enrollments in more than 1,500 native-language courses. The industries with the most employees enrolled in one or more generative AI course on Udemy’s education platform include manufacturing, retail, and financial services.
- Green skills in high demand: Given the pervasive impact of climate change, sustainability roles are experiencing rapid growth and employees are scrambling to try and gain the skills necessary. The recent 2024 Learning & Skills Trend Report revealed a 3,128 percent surge in learning hours dedicated to ESG-related skills, encompassing sustainable investment and finance, as well as environmental impact assessment.
- Empowering middle managers: Equipping middle managers with essential training fosters effective leadership in hybrid work environments, addresses employee concerns, and adapts to evolving workflows. Upskilling mitigates burnout, enhances performance, and promotes team cohesion and growth. Cohort learning reduces feelings of isolation and silos.
- Companies care more about skills than resumes: Companies are finding that skill-based hires align more closely with long-term strategic goals and are better equipped to upskill existing teams. Simultaneously, there is a rise in the hiring of interim employees or executives with specific subject expertise to meet immediate business needs.
SCOTT CAWOOD, CEO, WORLDATWORK, THE TOTAL REWARDS ASSOCIATION
- AI’s impact on the workplace will continue to grow, but the anxieties behind it will begin to minimize. We know our workplaces are in store for change via AI, but changeneedn’t necessarily mean trauma. This is the year we start putting AI into place in our organizations and rallying around its potential. Yes, automation will displace 85 million jobs over the next five years, according to the World Economic Forum. But it also will create 97 million new jobs. Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s recent Future of Work report suggests that by 2030, the ongoing AI revolution will have translated into the skills required for our jobs changing by 65 percent. This all suggests to me that the anxieties around AI represent a fear of the unknown—new technology, new (or shifting) job responsibilities, and new ways of working—as much as they represent a fear for one’s security. Automation and AI will cease to be unknowns and integrate themselves such that a polarity of us can see their advantages up close. This may well be the year it happens.
- The disadvantages of return-to-office (RTO) mandates will become more apparent, while voices in favor of RTO grow louder. RTO has been debated ad infinitum. For those of you tired of the back-and-forth, I’m sorry to say it’s going to continue, and perhaps grow more cacophonous in 2024.
First, the data: Gallup’s report on remote and hybrid work arrived in October 2023, and it was tellingly titled, “The Future of the Office Has Arrived: It’s Hybrid.” Of note, “Nine in 10 remote-capable employees prefer some remote work flexibility, with the majority preferring hybrid work.”
Remote- and hybrid-capable employees see no reason to return to the office if it does not materially impact their productivity, and they will correspondingly seek workplaces that align with this perspective. For organizations that double-down on RTO mandates, the consequence will be difficulty in recruiting and retention. At the same time, those that embrace malleable remote and hybrid options will see a larger pool of potential employees, reduced quit and burnout rates, and increased employee flexibility relative to base pay. RTO proponents, particularly those with extensive holdings in business real estate, aren’t going to go quietly—I’d guess they’ll grow even louder and bolder as the scales continue to tip in the other direction—but this is their new reality. The genie is not going back into the bottle.
ROB PORTER, ELEARNING EXPERT, CoSo CLOUD
- Expedited onboarding: In a world where hybrid work models are the norm, traditional onboarding processes are no longer sufficient. Business leaders must streamline their onboarding to reduce delays and improve employee integration, especially in virtual environments.
- The AI reckoning: A year after the launch of ChatGPT, workers and companies are increasingly comfortable with AI. However, beyond the hype, it’s crucial for organizations to ensure their staff have a comprehensive understanding of this evolving technology and its parameters.
- Automation for efficiency: In the age of information overload, automation and integration tools can play a pivotal role in helping employees focus on high-impact tasks by automating routine activities to drive efficiency and productivity.
JOHN HACKSTON, HEAD OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP, THE MYERS-BRIGGS COMPANY
- The push to end remote work: With the increasing efforts by companies to terminate remote work, blanket policies are not a smart or beneficial initiative—and organizations shouldn’t do that unless they have excellent reasons to do so. They are risking losing valuable talent or compromising employees’ satisfaction.
- AI and technology: Besides the hype, organizations and HR professionals must consider its costs and implications before implementing AI tools—they can be more harmful than good depending on the situation.
- Communication: This remains a must-have for organizations willing to advance and support their workforce in 2024 amid worldwide instability. The golden rule for success is, “Never assume, always ask,” and understand the communication needs of each team or individual.
KRYSTA VAN RANST, CEO AND FOUNDER, BUILDING PPL
From headlines to being named word of the year by Collins Dictionary, AI will continue to form an active part of our daily work, and L&D is no exception. In our industry that lives and breathes human interaction and connection, the question remains: How will AI best support L&D in a meaningful way?
Any L&D professional can tell you that their initiative is only as good as the system in place to support it. You may have the best L&D workshop lined up, but you’ll only see quality results if the team is equipped with the tools necessary to bring it to fruition, and that starts with assembling standard operating procedures (SOPs). We use these processes to help guide our teams in setting guidelines, clearly defining roles and facilitating ongoing improvement. AI will help us enhance the effectiveness of our training programs.
In 2024, we will see this in action as AI is used more actively in the development of additional L&D content. With the help of AI assistance, we will have a greater opportunity to tailor in-house training content for individual company needs and ultimately enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of training programs.
Beyond AI, there will be a growing need and untapped potential for knowledge transfer and the cultivation of a dynamic, multigenerational workforce as Baby Boomers leave the workforce. With the demographic shift beginning now through 2031, there will be a valuable chance in the coming years for organizations, particularly in the realms of leadership and management, to create comprehensive progression plans, which will encourage companies to invest in identifying and nurturing talent for leadership roles.
L&D initiatives in 2024 also will become increasingly important with the rise of the acquisition of businesses and the integration of older organizations into a newer technological age. Initiatives such as the shadowing of experienced employees by new hires during onboarding or reverse mentoring by recording processes and sharing with the team will help older businesses upskill programs to bridge the generation gap and ensure that junior employees are allowed to learn and grow.
The changing demographic coupled with the rise in technology also will lead to more consistent opportunities for on-the-fly learning. Organizations will be better positioned as a whole to leverage tech-enabled platforms that provide on-demand learning opportunities, which will allow a team’s skills to stay relevant in the rapidly changing landscape of work.
REBECCA WETTEMANN, CEO, VALOIR
- Skills get real. Recruiting and retaining talent continues to be HR’s biggest challenge, and it will be a key area of investment for HR leaders in 2024 as they seek to take a more data-driven, marketplace approach to managing talent at all levels. 2024 will see organizations get real about skills and look to technology to support their evolution to a more skills-based (rather than role-based) approach. Europe has long been ahead of North America given the structure of its labor markets, but 2024 will see North America playing catch-up.
There are a couple of key reasons this is happening now. First the rise of AI is making building and updating dynamic skills ontologies easier and cheaper. Second, the growth in investments in skills-focused HR technologies means vendors are developing more mature products for the North American market, and using sales and marketing dollars to raise visibility for their solutions. Third, one fallout from the Great Resignation was the recognition that organizations needed to have a better handle on the real skills their talent had at a more granular level to ensure business continuity and succession. Finally, the rise of AI, and the expectations that AI will replace all or part of many employees’ jobs, mean HR needs to determine now what skills are ripe for replacement and what roles are impacted to determine how to plan training for adjacent and next-level skills to keep those employees fully productive.
- A focus on the ROI from employee well-being. In 2024 HR will re-examine its portfolio of benefits and technologies to ensure they’re investing in employee welfare where it delivers clear returns. A key part of employee retention is employee well-being—and that takes more than a meditation application subscription and some recognition For HR, this means having the data to identify top performers and their needs. It also means taking a data-driven approach to other benefits that can reduce stress and increase wellness—such as mental and financial health (including on-demand pay) benefits, recognition and education programs, and coaching and mentoring.
- The CX-EX crossover. Although there have always been parallels between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX), we’ll see more of a melding of the two worlds in 2024 as CX vendors in decelerating and crowded spaces seek new addressable markets and people data (HR) companies with rich data sets look for new ways to leverage them. We’ll also see vendors that play in both markets—such as contact center vendors with workforce management capabilities—take advantage of their data and experience to make more measurable links between CX and EX.
LUCY BEAUMONT, SOLUTION LEAD – MANAGER & LEADER, SHL
Generative AI is an unstoppable tsunami of unprecedented change that is and will hit all organizations. 2023 saw the first real strides in commercial and open-access generative AI with the release of ChatGPT Plus in February. Generative AI undoubtedly will make HR and business processes more efficient, reduce repetitive tasks, and lead to great leaps in predictive talent analytics.
The HR tech industry is fighting to lead the way, but HR should be cautious in reviewing and validating AI-based HR tech. AI is largely unregulated, and there are risks in its use. As organizations look to ride this wave, they will need to be savvy about understanding the technology available and validating its suitability as we integrate AI in 2024.
On the skills front, I believe we will see the pendulum swing to a focus on behavioral rather than technical skills—identifying individuals who have the agility to learn new skills, who can problem solve and communicate their findings to others. In doing so, a focus on recruiting, developing, and mobilizing talent with the soft or behavioral skills to succeed in the future will become the greatest competitive advantage to HR.
ELISSA ROSSI, VICE PRESIDENT, COMPLIANCE SERVICES, TRALIANT
In 2024, I expect we’ll see a shift in the content of harassment prevention training toward harassment on the basis of characteristics other than sex and gender. While there has been a major focus in recent years on sexual harassment, the EEOC and state regulators have made it clear that employers need to pay attention to harassment related to other characteristics—such as religion, national origin, and disability. Employers can keep up with this shift by providing harassment prevention training that reflects current priorities rather than outdated ones.
Along the same lines, we should see a shift in training related to accommodations, both as to content and the need for this type of training. The Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision in Groff v. DeJoy established a new, and significantly higher, standard an employer needs to meet to show that a requested religious accommodation is an undue hardship. Instead of the old “de minimis” standard that was in place for decades, an employer now needs to show it would incur “substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.” The higher standard means more employees are likely to seek—and be entitled to—these accommodations. To respond to this, employers need to make sure they educate managers, HR professionals, and others, and that the accommodations training they provide is up-to-date and emphasizes the change in the law and the legal risks that come with it.
- Workplace communication enters its “selective phase.” Over the last few years, enterprises have been in a lengthy transitional period where traditional communication methods such as e-mail and meetings have been supplemented with digital tools designed to support a new way of work. This has unintentionally created messy and bloated communication environments. We discovered half of workers experience decreased productivity resulting from the exhaustive number of daily communications. In 2024, team leaders will become more intentional about which communications methods they use for certain types of tasks in an effort to improve clarity and reduce burnout.
—Wendy Hamilton, CEO, TechSmith
- Rethinking the meeting. This past year, we’ve seen organizations become acutely aware of the damage that too many of the wrong types of meetings can have on productivity and employee well-being. In 2024, companies will be increasingly critical about what requires a meeting and replace many of these interactions with asynchronous communication methods like pre-recorded video. We’ve come to find that 98 percent of workers using video at work say it improves the effectiveness of their message in various ways, including reducing misunderstandings, increasing engagement, and saving time. Employees also have expressed interest in using pre-recorded video for communications that don’t require real-time conversation such as status updates, onboarding and training, and project feedback.
—Jennifer Bedford, Head of Operations, TechSmith
- Death of the (text-heavy) e-mail. “While the death of e-mail continues to be greatly exaggerated, we can expect less text-heavy correspondence and more e-mails supported by multimedia assets to improve clarity. E-mail was a primary communication method for 79 percent of 900 workers surveyed in our recent report, but remains inefficient for exchanging information. Some 97 percent of those who add images such as screenshots, infographics, and charts to e-mails said it makes their messages more effective, reduces misunderstandings, and saves time by limiting the need for back-and-forth conversations.
—Emmie Musser, Future of Work Strategist, TechSmith
JEREMY WALSH, EVP, PARTNER SOLUTIONS, ALLCAMPUS
The rise of AI is expected to fundamentally change the workplace, streamlining workforce capabilities and automating mundane tasks for employees. In the new year, employers will be eager to create an AI-enabled workforce, but employees still lack the necessary training and skills to truly harness generative AI’s benefits. Data shows almost two-thirds (63 percent) of organizations say employees will need some new skills or a completely new set of skills to work with generative AI tools in their day-to-day roles by the end of 2024.
Employees will need guidance and training from their organizations on how to best interact and leverage AI tools. Organizations can integrate AI training into their learning and development programs through upskilling courses that demonstrate practical and ethical applications of AI and offer training that is tailored to different employee roles. During this time, it also will be important to reskill practical skills such as critical thinking to refresh employees’ ability to analyze and evaluate information and outputs from generative AI. Investing in the development of soft and interpersonal skills also will be an area of focus for employers to encourage the distinctly human ability to collaborate with others.
It’s also worth noting that employees are anxious about what AI means for their job security. This means that in addition to technical and soft skills training, employers need to spend time casting a vision around how adopting AI can move employees toward higher-skilled and more rewarding work in 2024.
JEANETTE WHEELER, CHIEF HR OFFICER, MHR
With the arrival of 2024, the landscape of learning and development (L&D) is undergoing a significant transformation. The traditional model of face-to-face, instructor-led learning is fading, making way for more flexible and diverse approaches. eLearning has become a staple, but challenges loom, particularly in catering to a workforce where 80 percent don’t work behind desks and needing to address the anxieties of 73 percent of young people who feel they lack career development opportunities.
To overcome these challenges, there has been a notable shift toward learning experience platforms (LXPs), an evolution of the more traditional learning management systems (LMSs). While LMSs focus on providing consistent baseline knowledge for all employees, LXPs empower individuals to self-direct their learning through AI-driven, personalized content recommendations. This move from employer-centric to employee-driven learning reflects a broader evolution in the perception of L&D.
The emphasis on employee empowerment is a prevailing trend, showcasing a move toward autonomy in learning. Industries with high turnover rates, such as retail and hospitality, are urged to focus on training front-line workers through mobile-ready, personalized, and on-the-job learning. This necessitates a departure from traditional, synchronous, instructor-led methods to a more need-based approach.
In 2024, organizations are expected to cut learning budgets due to economic uncertainties. However, this is a short-term fix that will have long-term consequences. Investing in employee development will not only enhance performance but also attract and retain top talent. Metrics such as retention rates, time to competency, and business improvement will be crucial in justifying L&D investments.
The evolving jobs landscape, with a 25 percent change in required skill sets since 2015 and an expected doubling by 2027, highlights the importance of upskilling. Technologies are evolving rapidly, creating skill gaps, especially in areas such as finance, where soft skills and leadership capabilities are lacking. L&D departments are advised to collaborate closely with employees and managers to understand current and future skill needs, particularly in industries where AI could disrupt traditional roles.
- Generative AI hype will simmer down. Although it has played a critical role over the last year in bringing AI into everyday business processes, generative AI as it stands today is more about accomplishing tasks than making deep strategic decisions that impact an entire business. As such, we will see companies slow down on keeping up with the AI hype train. Instead, we will see them leverage AI to progress toward true partnership with HR and executive teams as we trend toward a skills-based workforce.
- HR will move to become the HAIR (human and AI resources) function. As AI gets implemented within organizations, it will become HR’s increasing responsibility to ensure the systems augmenting humans are rolled out responsibly, effectively, and with humans in mind.
- More states will move to regulate AI in HR. AI regulations will be one of the leading conversations. Whether they are modeled after New York’s local law or independently formed, the transparency and enforcement of AI methodologies will be top of mind for all organizations. Compliance and voluntary enforcement of these regulations will become a differentiator for AI-focused vendors.
- Automation will be accepted. Automation is not simply “good to have” but a “must have” as the speed of business and the fight for talent across industries, geographies, and specialties continue. The end-user experience for both prospects and employers is already moving beyond traditionally slow mechanisms such as resumes, lengthy interview cycles, and skill tests. In 2024, automation will be a welcome necessity to help employers and prospects keep up the pace and maintain high standards.
- The upskilling revolution continues. Focus will continue to shift from pure sourcing and passive talent to talent management and upskilling. With the tight labor market and pressures to attract talent with relevant skills based on rapid innovation and workforce transformation in almost every industry, organizations increasingly will be forced to upskill the existing team they have.
—Ashutosh Garg, CEO, Eightfold AI
- Productivity levels will spike exponentially. 2024 will be the first year that the combination of AI technologies (generative and workflow automation) will create more hours in the day for everyone. As companies and the public become more familiar with leveraging this technology within their work—whether it’s for recruiters, candidates, or hiring managers—we will see a huge productivity jump.
- The rise of skills-based organizations. We will see the HR industry move from conceptual to actual, in-practice skills-based organizations. Companies will move away from the traditional structures of set roles and job titles and toward an operating model that sees individuals with skills and capabilities that can be fluidly deployed to work matching their interests and evolving business priorities. In 2024, this is going to become the standard for how companies operate versus a theoretical exercise.
—Sachit Kamat, Chief Product Officer, Eightfold AI
SAM ZHENG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, DEEPHOW
- On human resources: By 2024, we foresee a paradigm shift in skilled workforce training, moving beyond traditional methods. The future of HR lies in creating immersive onboarding experiences, where AI-powered platforms such as DeepHow don’t just teach skills, they embed organizational culture and values deeply and effectively. Our data shows this approach can significantly increase both employee engagement and retention, reshaping the landscape of HR in the skilled trades sector.
- On the manufacturing industry: As we approach 2024, manufacturing is set to embrace a new era of learning and development. With the onset of Industry 4.0, the key will be in bridging the gap between seasoned expertise and emerging talent.
- On AI: In 2024, AI’s role in workforce training will evolve into a more dynamic, interactive partner in the learning process. Gone are the days of passive data crunching. AI is set to revolutionize how knowledge is captured and shared, turning raw data into customized, interactive learning experiences. This will not only enhance learning outcomes but also revolutionize how industries approach training and knowledge retention.
According to Brandon Hall, 37 percent of organizations don’t prioritize compliance training. Whether it is from a lack of time, technology, or resources to offer an effective compliance training program, the results are the same: It hurts the employees, and it hurts the business.
For all businesses, an effective compliance training program is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have, and we only expect that need to grow in 2024—especially with the rise of AI. A strong compliance training program is the vital thread that weaves together an organization’s commitment to employee mental and physical well-being, regulatory adherence, and a culture of integrity, ensuring business growth.
To truly engage employees with an otherwise seemingly boring topic, employers should strive to adopt a training program that is relevant and accessible to all employees. Business leaders can accomplish this by thinking outside of the box and offering training in a number of different formats, beyond traditional PowerPoint or click-next training. For example, this can look like just-in-time training, centered around important dates and events, or utilize gamification through making completion of the training a team activity.
Ultimately, employers will need to adopt a compliance training program that is dynamic, engaging, and caters to the diverse learning preferences and needs of employees. This enables companies to foster a culture of continuous learning and ensure that employees not only understand the importance of compliance, but also actively participate and retain crucial information for a safer, more compliant work environment.
—Kyile Stair, Chief People Officer, Litmos
According to a new report by Forrester, AI will affect more than 11 million U.S. jobs. While many employees fear AI will replace their roles, these numbers are more about augmentation than replacement. As AI technologies become increasingly integrated into various industries, employees soon will be required to possess the skills and knowledge to work alongside AI systems seamlessly.
Proper training can bridge the gap between the promise of generative AI and its practical implementation. Although 86 percent of employees believe they require training on how to harness AI, many have reported not receiving the training they expected as companies started increasing the use of AI. Several factors contribute to this discrepancy: lack of in-house expertise, resource constraints, ineffective training models, ROI concerns, and competing training priorities.
In light of these challenges, it’s imperative for organizations to recognize the importance of AI training and to invest strategically in it. Companies that prioritize a culture of continuous learning and adaptability will be better positioned to navigate the transformative impact of AI, fostering an environment where employees are not only equipped to work alongside AI systems but also excited about the opportunities it presents for personal and professional growth.
—Tommy Richardson, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Litmos
ANDREW SCIVALLY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, ELB LEARNING
- Microlearning: We may take a few meetings from our desk, send a few e-mails from a coffee shop, and share updates with our team while at the airport gate. Work doesn’t happen all in one place and neither should learning and development. We will continue to see a rise in microlearning in 2024. Training will become more informal and personal with smaller chunks of easily accessible learning that has a greater impact.
- Soft skills training: The younger generation that is entering the workforce has a vastly different idea of how to interact. They’ve grown up communicating behind a phone or computer, so there is a huge need for social training on how to deal with confrontation and emotions in real time, professional in-person interactions, and connection.
- Effects of AI on L&D departments: AI is going to vastly decrease the amount of time it takes to build a learning or training program. We soon will be able to tell AI to develop a training course and receive an output of around 80 percent done. From there, all it takes is some tweaking, customization, and implementation. With the huge increase in the speed of content production, there will be an effect on the need for learning and development departments within an organization.
DAN HAYWARD, CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, GO1
- Learning gets personal, thanks to AI. Generative AI will not only help surface the right content to the right users at the right time, but it will also enable personalized learning pathways tailored to each employee. These pathways required managers and instructors to spend a lot of time getting to know individuals to develop custom learning plans. GenAI will be able to connect unrelated pieces of content to deliver exactly what each learner needs or wants and recommend the next step in their desired learning journey, whether compliance-based, upskilling, or personal development.
- Microlearning goes mainstream. With distributed workforces needing just-in-time access from anywhere, microlearning will gain a bigger market share. Go1 found that in 2023,learning content that was 11-30 minutes long had double the enrollments of other content. With more learning being done in between meetings, on mobile devices or on the learner’s own time, short snackable content will be the priority for organizations.
- As budgets shrink, L&D outcomes will be measured more diligently. Being asked to do more with less, HR will need to demonstrate value from its LMS and learning content providers. In the rush to transition to remote work, HR needs to allocate spending towards the right programs for its employees and connect business objectives to demonstrable ROI. Whether required for compliance or offered as overall professional development, L&D measurement will become a top priority for HR to understand employee engagement and satisfaction to know how to improve outcomes.
ANEESH KULKARNI, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, STRIVR
In 2024, training professionals are expected to leverage digital technologies to help improve employee comprehension, make curriculum more relevant for specific jobs, and expedite the creation of new learning materials.
With the growing need for better tools to facilitate onboarding and upskilling, virtual reality (VR) training will become increasingly pertinent, especially for younger workers. The anticipated launch of Apple’s Vision Pro will significantly impact the market, although Apple is signaling that adoption may grow over several years, similar to the Apple Watch. In the meantime, Meta launched the Quest 3 at a fraction of the price of the Vision Pro; the more accessible pricing should drive broader VR training adoption in enterprises. Some 51 percent of companies are already using VR and another 30 percent are in the R&D phase, so there’s significant momentum.
VR is proving useful in simulating real-life environments and enhancing skills in scenarios from customer service to emergency response. Learning to drive a forklift in VR gives employees a safe place to try things out, but using VR training to practice responding to a dangerous situation such as a robbery can significantly improve their readiness—97 percent of employees surveyed felt prepared to react appropriately after training. VR training is also easier to deploy at scale. One major retailer was able to train 8,600 associates in three weeks with a new customer de-escalation program.
The application of generative AI, specifically for text, speech, images, and video, will accelerate and democratize the creation of environments, scenes, avatars, animation, and speech. For example, generative AI models based on diffusion or GANs could drive a big leap in how easy it is to create an environment with just a few photos of a warehouse or retail space. As another example, GPT models that are trained both on learning content and conversational techniques can revolutionize scenario-based learning.
I’m also excited about mixed reality (MR) and the “passthrough” video capabilities of the Vision Pro and Quest 3. This capability means a remote instructor can see the same thing a student is looking at, and they can solve problems together, or guide a student through a challenging task in real time.
As we enter 2024, the dynamic fusion of VR, MR, and AI in corporate training is going to create not just an evolution but a revolution in our ability to redefine workforce development and bring unprecedented levels of interactivity, personalization, and effectiveness to the field.
AARON SKONNARD, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, PLURALSIGHT
- What are the top skills employers will be looking for in 2024? The obvious answer to this question is that employers will be looking for AI/generative AI skills in 2024. As AI has dominated the tech landscape in 2023, it will continue to do so in 2024. However, I think we’ll see a shift from AI adoption to AI maturity. This means organizations and technologists will not just be focusing on the initial phase of understanding AI and its novelty, but will focus on deepening their AI skills to make the most out of their AI investments. Technologists will start learning how to build efficiencies in other technologies such as cloud, software development, and cybersecurity through the use of AI/generative AI, and those outside of tech roles will find ways to maximize their time through AI automation.
As any good tech leader knows, however, AI skills are built on a foundation of other strong tech skills, such as coding, cloud computing, devops, and cybersecurity best practices. These skills will continue to be relevant in 2024. Technologists will be expected to use these building block skills to propel innovation through emergent technologies such as AI.
- How will the tech upskilling landscape shift because of AI/generative AI in 2024? The word “disruptive” doesn’t seem to do justice to the impact that AI/GenAI has had on the tech industry. In 2023, we saw GenAI solutions rise from startups to enterprises. GenAI’s ability to transform how we work, how we educate, and how teams develop isn’t just unprecedented, it’s difficult to comprehend. And it’s proven that there is much for technologists to learn when it comes to the world of AI.
The upskilling space is not immune to GenAI’s disruption. GenAI has demonstrated that learning content can be generated in a matter of seconds and can seamlessly enhance data analytics, search capabilities, and technical problem solving. I view these advancements to the way we learn as a great thing—it’s easier than ever for learning experiences to be customized and for learning to happen on-demand and in the flow of work. Technologists are gravitating more and more toward bite-sized pieces of learning content rather than long-form, traditional training resources. Gone are the days where it makes sense for an introductory course on a technology to be seven hours long. In the era of GenAI, learning platforms must meet learners where they are by delivering the crucial learning elements in small doses, which allows technologists to seek out and easily find content that is useful to them in the moment.
- What 3 points of advice would you give to organizations looking to close their skills gaps?
- Focus on human intelligence.The tech industry has been fundamentally changed as a result of artificial intelligence. However, AI, like any technology, still relies on human input. So if you want to get the most out of AI, and any other technology, you need people with the skills to leverage that technologyand who have skills across other domains important to your business. AI can only take an organization so far. It’s the humans powering the technology that will truly drive innovation.
- Bring learning into the flow of work.The next wave of tech learning requires leaders to bring learning directly to their teams, within the flow of work. Learning should become more of a conversation today, where content is the answer to specific questions that arise in the flow of work. Tech learning solutions need to embrace that conversational modality and experience. By making learning a natural part of technologists’ workflow, organizations will naturally begin to see their skills gaps close.
- Always be data driven.The first step in closing skills gaps is identifying them. Rather than playing guessing games using anecdotal evidence to figure out what those skill gaps might be, it’s crucial to integrate empirical, data-based evidence into your upskilling program. Without that knowledge, you’ll be slower to innovate, waste valuable resources, and miss opportunities to empower your people to grow and develop throughout their careers. A spreadsheet or other manual methods of tracking that data just won’t cut it. Especially with AI likely to bring an oversaturation of content, you need reliable data and analytics to drive a more effective and targeted learning experience.
- Aside from generative AI, what will the next tech skills boom be? While there will always be new tech innovations hitting the scene, realistically, in 2024, I see the next big skills movement being what I call “AI plus.” “AI plus cloud,” “AI plus security,” “AI plus data science.” All of these existing foundational tech skills can be enhanced and streamlined through effective applications of AI. AI skill sets will start to become more niche as technologists in every domain become experts in applying AI tools to their technology problems. This will represent a shift from AI adoption to AI maturity.