This has been an exciting year for contemporary HR perspectives, a season in which leaders have been called on to provide solutions to pain points that seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Wouldn’t it have been lovely to have a heads-up on some of it? Who wouldn’t appreciate a breather between one wave of change momentum and the next? Maybe now is the time for that age-old phrase: We’ll get ’em next year.
To set the pace for a well-planned 2024, we asked industry leaders to share pivotal themes they think will shape the practice of human resources technology in the coming months. They hit on data-driven decision-making, manager empowerment, AI in a multi-generational workforce and responsible adoption of new technology.
These predictions collectively paint a comprehensive picture of the 2024 HR tech landscape, a year when leading with data, technology integration and AI adoption will take center stage.
Becky Cantieri, chief people officer at SurveyMonkey
Cantieri emphasizes the growing significance of data-based insights in shaping HR decisions. She contends that—similar to finance, product and marketing teams—HR must embrace data.
“Data professionalizes the HR function,” according to Cantieri, who leads this area at the well-known feedback solution platform SurveyMonkey. She sees the use of data as an essential capacity that HR teams need to develop continually. This involves making crucial decisions regarding investments, understanding the business impact and showcasing the value HR adds to the organization. “It’s a new muscle for some and one that requires continuous, repetitive use to build,” she says.
Megan Smith, head of HR at SAP North America
According to Smith’s prediction, there will be a shift toward recognizing and empowering front-line and middle managers in 2024. “The squeeze on managers over the past several years is real,” she says. Acknowledging the challenges these managers face in balancing tighter budgets and employee engagement, Smith emphasizes the need for technology and strategies to help these essential leaders navigate complex problems effectively.
She suggests that investing in the success of managers will result in engaged employees who are aligned with the company’s strategy. “Managers are often put in the middle to rationalize what feels like opposing forces,” says Smith, a leader at SAP, one of the most prominent enterprise software providers. “2024 is the opportunity to reverse this and fully realize the valuable contributions of front-line and middle managers.”
Katherine Loranger, chief people officer at Safeguard Global
Loranger, who heads human resources at international workforce platform Safeguard Global, highlights the uncertainty surrounding the evolving nature of work, especially with the influence of AI in a five-generation workforce. Loranger sees a significant challenge for HR in evolving leaders’ roles to adapt to the impact of new tech. She says priorities will include ensuring employee security, motivation and engagement.
Employees in a multi-generation workforce will have different relationships with technology, especially with AI, says Loranger. “But for everyone, there’s an opportunity to change our work for the better by adopting technology and enhancing technical skills,” she adds. Loranger advocates for a focus on people-centric and critical thinking attributes, as HR aims to build strategic leaders capable of leveraging technology for the betterment of work.
Lisa Lesko, chief people officer at Bristlecone
Lesko urges caution in adopting artificial intelligence, especially generative AI, emphasizing the need for controls and protocols. This people leader at digital supply chain platform Bristlecone stresses the importance of responsible use and education to address security concerns. “Before we go too far … we have to have guidance,” Lesko says.
She acknowledges the capabilities of AI and advocates for an accountable approach to its implementation, ensuring the right guard rails and education are in place. “We have that [AI] capability internally, and we want to share it with our customers, but we want to do it responsibly,” she adds.
Chris Collins, NAHR Fellow and professor at Cornell University
Recently recognized by the National Academy of Human Resources, Collins underscores the need to integrate technology with human interaction seamlessly. He highlights the importance of creating a blended experience between people and tech to avoid clunky transitions.
“We’re getting hammered with technology, and we have to be thinking through how it fits with human interaction,” says Collins. He also advocates for an experimental approach in HR tech initiatives, suggesting that not all practices need to be 100% perfect from the start, especially in the rapidly evolving landscape of 2024.
“It’s about getting out there faster and then thinking about how to continue to make it better over time,” says Collins. “Tech is moving so quickly, we have to get our HR teams to experiment more.”
Linda Lee, chief people and culture officer at Velocity Global
From her perspective as a leader at international workforce management platform Velocity Global, Lee says that in 2024, the most influential workplaces will continue their commitment to fostering a robust culture. She suggests that a strong organizational environment cultivates high-performing teams that generate a ripple effect, positively impacting employees and customers.
Looking to next year, Lee challenges the prevalence of buzzwords and instead proposes a thematic shift towards a “massive rebuild” as companies and individuals refocus and reconstruct following recent challenges. In terms of in-demand skills, Lee emphasizes that resilience and adaptability will be critical in the tech industry, noting that “this is true at any stage of a person’s career.” Lee also advocates for a proactive approach to AI, encouraging leaders to create environments that support safety, compliance and continuous improvement.
Megan Dixon, VP of data science at Assurance IQ
Dixon points out a crucial challenge in the workplace of 2024—a need for people to interpret the output of new technology in a business context to ensure it is appropriate. “AI has significant potential to transform the roles of many knowledge workers,” says Dixon. “But there’s one problem: Too few employees understand data and analytics to be able to use it effectively.”
Dixon stresses the need for training to bridge this gap, particularly around enabling employees to use AI tools effectively. Her organization, which helps people choose insurance through personalized recommendations, is investing in analytics training for its employees. In 2024, it plans to enhance education specifically focused on AI, aiming to improve efficiency and harness the benefits of this technology.
Geoff Webb, VP of solution strategy at isolved
HR teams will be challenged in 2024 to meet business needs while expanding the organization’s understanding of the strategic potential of HR, says Webb of the HCM platform isolved. Despite contending with ongoing operational concerns such as hiring, development, retention and compliance, true effectiveness will hinge on HR being recognized as an integral component of the overarching business strategy.
Webb predicts that without this acknowledgment, HR leaders risk being constrained to reactive responses to short-term drivers. This could stunt the development of a more impactful and efficient strategic approach when it comes to long-term HR tech solutions.