One of the biggest challenges facing the leaders of today, is the demands of tomorrow.
From the changing demands of prospective candidates to the rise of AI and the ever-complex logistics of flexible working for the modern workforce, the workplace has changed in recent years. And it’s not just change in the wake of Covid-19 that we need to focus on.
The workforce is changing; and with more Gen-Z entering the office, and attitudes shifting to facilitate more conversations around sustainability as well as inclusion and diversity, we consider a large part of our role to be preparing future leaders for what’s on the horizon.
In this article, we want to focus specifically on the trends which we encourage leaders to look out for in 2024 – not just with regards to their workforce, recruitment drives, and retention strategies, but also across business structures and working practices.
The impact of Gen-Z entering the workplace – and how to prepare for them
The rise of Gen-Z in the workplace is something that we have covered in a previous article – however, it’s something which is continuing to impact the way that businesses are managed. So, in light of this, here’s how to prepare your business and your leadership style for an influx of 20-somethings in 2024.
Gen-Z have different priorities, different outlooks, and often very different ideas and ways of communicating their thoughts in the workplace. In the simplest terms, those who are classed as part of the Gen-Z generation are often viewed as more outspoken and will speak up for their beliefs and what they recognise as being right or wrong. They, in short, have different needs, and different attitudes to the world around them, as a result of their early experiences of work being seen through the “Covid lens”.
From a leadership standpoint, this means recognising the need for a more empathetic approach to leadership; adopting small changes which can have a big impact on these younger and more outspoken workers. One-to-one catch ups are shown to have a positive effect on Gen-Z’s career development, while onboarding and enhanced team building opportunities should be used to help your workforce integrate as a whole.
How to navigate sustainability
Sustainability isn’t just about climate change and reversing your carbon footprint as a business – it’s also about striking the right balance between your social goals and your community presence.
Company ESG goals have been a talking point in the business sector for a number of years now, but have become increasingly important as a result of the enhanced emphasis on social responsibility alongside business management, employee wellbeing, and environmentally friendly operations.
In 2024, we expect to see more businesses and companies opening up about their carbon footprint and the changes they are committed to making to help reach net zero – while philanthropy is also likely to increase with more partnerships between businesses and environmental initiatives. On a more basic level, leaders and business owners are also encouraged to explore small changes that can be made within team structures and the office itself, to minimise carbon output and balance emissions. These include the increased use of video calls over large team meetings, and a continuation of flexible working.
Making your company resilient in the face of increased innovation
You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, join them. The rise in technological innovation is, for some, terrifying. The adoption and integration of AI has increased tenfold in recent years, raising questions about the future of not only specific job roles but entire industries, and causing leaders to explore drastic changes to their businesses in order to retain clients and hold onto their place in the market.
As part of the leadership trends for 2024, we expect to see more companies and businesses protecting their future by embracing these changes – particularly through the creation of teams whose role it is to identify the benefits of such technology and bring it directly into the business.
Once upon a time, social media could have been viewed as an uprising enemy against traditional marketing – yet, with some education and the adoption of inhouse social teams, most businesses across all sectors have embraced the platform as an opportunity.
AI and other technological advancements can offer the same opportunity, provided that leaders like you have faith in your businesses ability to be resilient and adopt – rather than fight – such innovation.
How can leaders stay ahead of the curve – even when we don’t know what’s coming?
The aforementioned trends are things that we can see coming from a mile off, making them easier to anticipate and prepare for as business owners, leaders, and team managers.
However, that’s not to say that 2024 won’t bring with it changes that are more difficult to predict – which is why one of our focus points as we near the end of 2023, is on preparing leaders to be more resilient than ever for the upcoming year.
The increased scrutiny on business leaders, not just considering innovative technology and sustainability, but in how they address individuals, pass judgement on regulations, and communicate with teams, means that resilience is critical and effective communication is integral.
Some of our recommendations for leaders as we approach 2024 include maintaining effective health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, for yourself and for your team through enhanced employee benefits and safeguarding.
Personally, we also recommend investing in your own understanding of empathy and listening as well as acting, getting to know the priorities of incoming candidates and your workforce, and adopting changes which acknowledge and bridge business success with happy and productive employees.
Finally, when it comes to recruitment, take the time to work out what you need before creating job adverts and holding interviews. It is more important than ever to onboard individuals who understand your company goals and can connect with your vision proactively and collaboratively. For recruitment support across your senior leadership roles, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Horton International.