This 12 months, HR functions will embrace generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), spend money on technology that reinforces the worker experience, and adopt powerful predictive analytics and skills technologies, in accordance with HR industry analysts, practitioners and thought leaders interviewed by SHRM Online.

HR leaders will turn to technologies that not only improve regulatory compliance but in addition help their organizations make higher, faster talent decisions and redefine how work is completed.

Forward-Thinking Companies Will Continue to Invest in EX

Some analysts are predicting an worker experience (EX) “recession” in 2024 as executives turn their attention to reducing costs and boosting efficiencies and away from issues similar to inclusion, equity and variety; flexible work schedules; and worker mental health. Employees may have fewer job options, and employers will take back some leverage.

But while many organizations may reduce or freeze EX spending in 2024, experts caution about the results of such moves.

J.P. Gownder is a vp and principal analyst with Forrester. He wrote in a blog post that in accordance with Forrester research, 66 percent of technology decision-makers said they’ll increase investment in EX or human resource technologies in 2024, and lots of of those investments might be designed to enhance efficiencies as a substitute of EX outcomes.

But leaders who buck the EX recession trend stand to achieve tangible advantages in 2024.

“By developing a mature EX program, your organization can drive higher productivity, lower attrition and more creativity,” Gownder wrote.

Other experts consider resourceful HR leaders will find ways to speculate in EX amid tighter budgets.

“HR might be pushed to preserve engagement in a down market and even throughout cost cutting and reductions,” said Dan Kaplan, a senior client partner within the CHRO practice with management consulting firm Korn Ferry. “It might be a difficult dance, but one of the best HR leaders will discover a strategy to achieve this.”

Juan Pablo Gonzalez, a senior client partner specializing in HR issues for Korn Ferry, said that organizations’ commitment to EX is not going to wane in 2024, but EX will look very different.

“The nature of EX is more likely to develop into more personalized while at the identical time develop into less personal,” Gonzalez said. “For example, through the use of AI features already available in large software platforms like Microsoft Office Copilot, Workday and Salesforce, employers and employees have already modified their EX. What’s happening is that employees’ interactions with technology have increasingly replaced their interactions with people, however the interactions with technology have develop into more tailored to employees’ specific needs and profiles.”

Mark Stelzner, founder and managing principal of IA, a HR advisory firm in Atlanta, said that while budgets might be redistributed in 2024 as organizations are challenged to manage their bottom lines, good EX-related technology investments will proceed to pay dividends for firms.

“I might argue that investing in EX will, the truth is, increase efficiencies and reduce costs,” Stelzner said. “What we would see in 2024 is a continued shift toward a ‘process-led, technology-enabled’ philosophy in organizations. The optimization of end-to-end processes often results in decisions just like the retiring of existing technology debt and the unification of tools and technologies to have fewer, well-integrated touchpoints to ease worker confusion and optimize personalization.”

John Kostoulas, a vp analyst with Gartner specializing in HR technology, said making more strategic purchasing decisions and improving governance of existing technology ecosystems are two keys to improving EX. Recent Gartner research found that 60 percent of HR leaders consider their current technologies hinder quite than improve the worker experience.

Evelyn McMullen, a research manager specializing in the worker experience for Nucleus Research, said technology investments designed only to enhance efficiencies and never EX outcomes can prove to be short-sighted. An improved EX typically leads to raised performance and a discount of costs related to turnover, she noted.

“The risk of reducing EX budgets is very large when considering the constant pendulum of the labor market and of job candidate advantage,” McMullen said. “When the control inevitably falls back into the hands of the job seeker, organizations that keep their investments in EX might be in a greater position to capture and retain one of the best talent.”

GenAI Moves from Experimentation to Accelerating Adoption

HR functions will go from dipping their toes into GenAI to wading into deeper waters in 2024 through increased adoption of the technology.

As leaders enact more rigorous GenAI governance plans and the risks of using the technology begin to diminish, HR and recruiting will increasingly use GenAI tools already of their HRIS platforms to jot down job descriptions and interview guides, create engagement surveys, develop training courses, analyze data, and craft policies.

A Conference Board survey of CHROs in late 2023 found that 61 percent plan to speculate in AI to streamline HR processes in 2024.

“Many HR leaders are still firstly of their GenAI journeys but will either get access to GenAI capabilities through their pre-existing HR technology providers or will exit and acquire latest GenAI tools by mid-2024,” said Eser Rizaoglu, an analyst in Gartner’s HR research and advisory practice.

Rizaoglu said many HR tech vendors are still attempting to determine learn how to get essentially the most from GenAI’s capabilities while balancing the necessity to protect data, ensure effective governance and consider ethical considerations. “Until this high-quality balancing act is achieved the mass proliferation of GenAI capabilities across HR might be difficult,” he said.

Stelzner said that while GenAI created excitement and spurred experimentation inside HR last 12 months, the “cold reality” is many organizations still aren’t able to jump in with each feet.

“Any growth within the adoption of GenAI in 2024 will likely be incremental, including higher utilization of chatbots, augmentation for the personalization of worker communications, greater give attention to possibilities within the talent acquisition space and the automation of testing for system upgrades and implementations,” he said.

Research conducted by Accenture found GenAI has the potential to remodel 40 percent of all working hours in organizations. “That doesn’t mean 40 percent of jobs will go away, but quite it reflects a shift in the best way work is completed,” said Michael Benyamin, a managing director with Accenture who leads the firm’s HR transformation and delivery practice. “Technology will take away some tasks and permit employees to develop into more productive, creative and effective within the work they do. AI works as a multiplier of human capability.”

As GenAI begins to enhance or transform more job roles, HR and learning leaders might want to create agile learning programs to reskill staff in the usage of rapidly evolving GenAI tools. Many staff have received little to no training in learn how to use the technology.

A 2023 survey by Salesforce found 62 percent of staff said they lack the abilities to effectively and safely use GenAI. Another study by the Boston Consulting Group found only 14 percent of front-line employees had undergone any AI-related upskilling, although the technology guarantees to fundamentally reshape how they perform their jobs.

As GenAI becomes more prevalent within the workplace, Benyamin said it’s essential for HR to assist establish policies for responsible and ethical AI use, in addition to to create training programs to handle concerns similar to bias, discrimination, data protection and appropriate data use.

Greater Focus on Change Management, Improving Adoption of New HR Software

Experts consider many HR leaders will seek to enhance the return on their technology investments in 2024 by adopting change management strategies, similar to ensuring employees use the newly adopted tech solutions.

One ongoing challenge for HR is managing the regular stream of updates and latest features from cloud technology vendors, leading to many HR software-as-a-service (SaaS) licenses going unused. A 2023 study from Productiv, a SaaS intelligence platform in Palo Alto, Calif., found that 53 percent of SaaS licenses go unused overall in organizations.

Ben Eubanks, chief research officer for Lighthouse Research, an HR advisory and research company in Huntsville, Ala., said many organizations underestimate what it takes to make sure staff frequently use latest HR platforms and apps once they’re introduced.

“HR and talent technologies are usually not ‘Flip the switch and also you’re good to go’ kind of solutions,” Eubanks said. “But many employers still see it that way and underestimate the behavioral change needed for adoption.”

Rethinking Employee Engagement Surveys

More HR and EX teams will rethink how they create engagement surveys, in addition to how often they distribute them, to scale back “survey fatigue.”

Gretchen Alarcon, senior vp and general manager of worker workflow products for ServiceNow, said as organizations proceed to try to search out the “secret sauce” that may bring staff back into the office more often in 2024, HR leaders might want to use more meaningful measurement tools.

“Organizations will use worker voice surveys and feedback to investigate how time spent within the office correlates to worker sentiment and productivity,” she said. “This will allow leaders to make decisions based on data, not assumptions, so that they can tailor their return-to-office [RTO] strategies to worker needs, behaviors and on what drives productivity.”

Reaping Benefits from Improved Skills Technologies

HR and recruiting leaders shifting to skill-based hiring and promotion strategies will get a lift from evolution in technologies similar to skills ontologies that use AI and machine learning to mechanically create, organize and update databases of worker skills—significantly reducing the quantity of manual work required by HR.

Next-generation ontologies and other emerging skills technologies could make it easier for HR leaders to discover skills gaps of their organizations, then adjust recruiting or learning and development plans accordingly. While there isn’t a true end-to-end skills technology solution available in the market, many HR leaders are stitching together AI-driven point solutions to create effective skills databases and assessment tools.

“In 2024, as organizations embrace skills intelligence technology, they’ll start to acknowledge it’s not about having the largest skills database, but a wealthy and connected skills database that’s continually updating,” Alarcon said. Such databases allow firms to grasp whether talent gaps are because of an absence of the correct people or an absence of skills, she added, and whether or not they need to construct, buy or borrow talent for the long run.

Predictive Analytics Tools Grow More Powerful

Human resource practitioners and analysts consider HR will profit from increasingly powerful predictive analytics tools that may improve workforce planning and data-driven decision making.

“With larger data sets and improved algorithms, the HR function should give you the chance to do things like moderate the hiring boom-and-bust cycles which have characterised the last couple of years,” said Gonzalez of Korn Ferry. Rather than hiring 1000’s of employees after which laying half of them off six months later, for instance, Gonzalez said employers might be higher in a position to predict the number and kind of employees they’ll need over an inexpensive time frame. “They then can hire and develop a more stable workforce to the advantage of all organizational stakeholders,” he said.

Stelzner believes many HR functions have missed opportunities by not fully embracing the potential of information analytics. Failing to speculate within the crucial tools and skills to investigate HR data may end up in missed insights and hinder the flexibility to align HR strategies with broader business goals, he said.

“Historically, HR also has struggled with the accuracy of its data,” Stelzner said. “This impacts the function’s ability to depend on reporting and data analytics to tell and support its decision making. What’s worse is that the remaining of the business has been trained to expect questionable data from HR systems, so there’s work to be done in data cleanup, reporting and evaluation to regain credibility throughout the enterprise.”

Dave Zielinski is principal of Skiwood Communications, a business writing and editing company in Minneapolis.

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