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HR trends to know and plan for in 2024

12 November 2023

The resilience and optimism of  Small and Medium sized business owners never ceases to inspire me. While there are things going on in the world that could lead us to be pessimistic, a whooping 79% of business leaders involved in a recent study stated that they expected improvement or stability in the business environment during 2024.

To turn that optimism into reality here are my top tips:

  1. Embrace AI Appropriately.

AI is here to stay and it can be incredibly powerful for SMEs, but like all things it needs to be used appropriately.

We are expecting to see more of our clients including AI skills in their positions descriptions. I’m encouraging owners and managers to think about where AI can save them time and give them a competitive advantage. At this point, I don’t think AI will replace many roles in businesses we work with, but over time people with AI skills will be given greater opportunities than people without them.

AI will also reduce time spent on administrative tasks such as meeting minutes and filing documents.

  1. Harmonising Hybrid Work

Thank goodness the legal requirement to work from home is behind us and there is a choice to allow certain roles where it makes sense to work remotely. The difficulty is that now that our workforce is a blend, it can be difficult to get the right mix. We need to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that to compete for talent, we will need to be offering a level of hybrid work.

For Impact HR we are focusing on Outcomes over Locations, which means working closely with our clients to ensure the business has clear KPIs/OKRs/Goals (whatever you call them in your business) for each member of the team and as a leader, you can see if they are being met or not. If they are not being met, taking action early is essential.

  1. Balancing Wage Growth

Wages are continuing to grow and it is tough for everyone. As an employer, the costs can inhibit growing the team. For the employees, it is often a difficult decision of leaving somewhere they love because they can get paid more in organisations with deeper pockets.

This year Impact HR will be working closely with our clients to carefully map the real value they offer their employees. How much to employees save by working remotely 2 days a week? Petrol, parking, eating out, tolls etc all add up. How much flexibility can make a difference in the lives of their team. Our Employee Value Propositions need to be more personalised, but that doesn’t mean that it is significantly more complex for the business owner. Creating awareness is essential.

  1. Development Dividends

Developing yourself and your team in 2024 is going to be the cheapest way to achieve goals. Running a busy business, I know how hard it can be to set aside time to focus on improving my own skills. Yet without this investment, I know I still be at a different stage of business growth.

Investing in developing the Impact HR team is a non-negotiable. The changing laws, technology improvements, best practice implementations that we invest in all gives our clients a better experience and outcomes. What is it that will make the difference to your team and yourself? The training will be cheaper than recruitment costs.

  1. Retention and Attracting team members

The same research that demonstrates how optimistic we are, shows that even that has limits. Finding and retaining the right talent is a pressing issue for almost 50% of business leaders.

Our clients are expecting to recruit for newly created positions. Thinking differently about recruitment is going to be essential. We are exploring a range of different strategies with a lot of success.

Due to recruitment challenges, retention is going to be even more important. The cost of replacing someone will be more than annual increases. Thinking about how to keep your team by creating opportunities (like working with AI, taking on more responsibilities or cross training with another member of the team) will be important for managing wage and recruitment costs.

  1. Employee Wellbeing

Prioritizing Employee Wellbeing is quickly becoming a strategic advantage and the future of work.  Last year we saw a legislative shift from not just ensuring a physically safe workplace but also a workplace free from psychosocial hazards.  Australian businesses spend billions of dollars each year on loss of productivity and absenteeism due to poor employee mental health, when employee wellbeing becomes a workplace priority it plays a role in helping employees create healthy and balanced lives, and helps with engagement and retention.

Employee Wellbeing is more than just having an Employee Assistance Program available, it’s ensuring you and your leaders are well trained to have the right conversations all of the time not just when you think it matters.  It’s also continually ensuring workloads aren’t too demanding or not demanding enough, creating clear and relevant job descriptions, developing and reviewing work place policies such as bullying and harassment, recruitment, code of conduct and grievance handling, and guidelines that respect peoples after hours boundaries.

We’d love to help you have a fabulous 2024 by putting these strategies into action in a way that is just right for your business. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on or call us on 1300 474 672.

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