As February kicks off, here are the four emerging trends for workplace cultures.
For companies trying to build great workplace cultures, 2024 promises a complex challenge.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is upending the workplace, and employees are clamouring for training and tools to stay ahead of a rapidly changing business environment. Environmental concerns are rising, and the efforts to remake the industries of the world will impact every company.
With each of these challenges, business leaders have an unmatched opportunity. New data from Boston Consulting Group shows more than a quarter of employees globally are ready to leave their current jobs.
The best way to retain talent is to become a great workplace where every employee has a consistently positive experience.
Great Place To Work® research shows that it’s the company, not the industry that determines how employees feel at work. It’s not the size of your company either. The key ingredient is employee trust, where leaders build deep relationships with employees in all job types and role levels, where workers are proud of the work they do, and feel a sense of belonging to the people they work with.
Here’s what that will require in 2024:
1. Make trust the most important asset for your business
Trust has never been more valuable, and the year ahead will only make trust harder to earn. The rise of artificial intelligence, cost of living, and the ongoing transformation of digital information systems will force consumers to ask more questions.
According to UKG, 54% of employees have no idea how their company is using AI. It’s those companies that keep their people informed and maintain a high trust culture that will thrive amidst the rise of these technologies
“We’re entering an era where trust will mean 10 times what it meant in 2023,” says Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work. Companies will have to prove they are doing things to make the planet better, that they are adopting and launching new technology in a responsible and ethical manner, and that they can be trusted to wield their growing influence transparently and ethically.
Not only will trust matter in the current moment, but people will question if they can trust companies for the coming decade as new technology drives a radical transformation of life. “It’s going to be a commitment,” Bush says.
To understand what companies they trust, Bush believes consumers will look to the employees of the company. “You can trust a company in terms of how they’re using artificial intelligence when you know their employees trust them,” he says.
2. Find more ways to support and improve mental health for every employee
According to a 2023 survey, 20% of Australian employees believe their employer doesn’t care about their wellbeing, while 20% of New Zealanders reported always being stressed at work.
However, Great Place To Work Certified™ workplaces outperform typical Australian and New Zealand businesses, with 83% of employees reporting psychologically and emotionally healthy work environments.
“We’re entering an era where trust will mean 10 times what it meant in 2023.” – Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work
SSEmployees at great workplaces were more likely to report receiving a fair share of company profits, a fair shot at a promotion, and fair treatment from their manager. Companies that want to improve mental health for all employees will have to investigate the structural causes of burnout and fatigue across the organization and turn employee feedback into clearly communicated action.
3. Increase your focus on retention, upskilling, and talent development
As finding talent with the right skills becomes more difficult, employers must invest more in developing the talent they need internally. Even when companies reduce headcount, they need skilled workers to continue operating the business.
A focus on recruitment shifts to a focus on developing and reskilling the workers you already have.
The skills gap and skills shortages remain a top concern for many Australian and New Zealand industries. 26% of CEOs ranking a talent shortage as the top “damaging factor” to their business outlook, per Gartner.
This might be the year to launch your partnership with underserved communities, or revolutionize your learning and development tools with AI and new technology.
4. Double down on developing the best leaders for your company
Workplace culture starts with leadership, and the best workplaces are committing resources to developing their people to lead with empathy and courage.
“You can trust a company in terms of how they’re using artificial intelligence when you know their employees trust them.” – Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work
As the business landscape has changed, what it means to be a leader has also changed. Employees expectations of their leader have shifted: Inspiring visionaries are giving way to coaches and mentors who can both lead the way and empower their people to lead in their own right.
The power of leadership will play an enormous roll in differentiating companies that can build trust and navigate uncertainty in the age of AI, global disruption, business transformation, and those that fall behind.