HR Trends For 2024 – More Of The Same Or Some New Initiatives?

By Helen Burrowes

HR Consultant

Over the last couple of years, the workplace has changed considerably.  Remote working was a forced working practice for a lot of businesses, and whilst this was due to the Covid pandemic this more flexible approach to splitting working between the office and a remote location/employees home, has become the ‘norm’, and regarded as an employee perk.

In recent reports, the employer’s intention to bring employees back into the workplace/office has heightened during 2023 and is expected to continue into 2024 as businesses look at how their employees add value and are more productive.  Where employers are imposing a return to the workplace, they should refer to the employment contract terms to understand the clauses relating to the work location or seek legal advice.

When considering less remote working the employer should consider retention of their key talent, and be aware that more flexibility opens up the pool of talent available e.g. talent outside of the immediate area/office location, people and carers/parents looking for increased flexibility. Flexibility on ‘where people work and how they work’ can improve productivity.

Employers have focused on performance improvements, to ensure that their employees are aligned with the direction of the business, to support continued growth and to remain competitive in the industry.  This has resulted in development initiatives to train current employees and to provide additional skills.  Whilst budgets have been limited, training continues to be a focus in 2024 as the return on investment in development allows for the business to grow in the future. 

Financially, employees and employers have all seen an increase in costs.  The employer has seen an increase in the cost of products and services, and the employee has been directly impacted by rising cost of living, including fuel and food.  This has resulted in higher than normal salary increases during 2023, where it was reported that salary increase were at an all time 30 year high.  The average salary increase was reported at 6 percent. 

To retain their talent, employers looked at ways to support their employees financially.  Some employers offered a one off bonus payment to help with the rising cost of living and to reduce the impacts this is having on individuals wellbeing.  At the time of writing this document, it is reported that we are not expecting to see these percentages increase over 2024 however pay levels may remain the same and therefore an expectation by employees (due to continued inflation) to maintain a similar average salary increase in 2024.

Employee wellbeing and mental resilience to manage day to day tasks, has been supported by employers implementing strategies.  The focus is on preventing stress and promoting a safe and positive working environment. Where employees feel safe in their working environment this encourages higher mental health and improved employee engagement and performance.

Performance using AI continues to be discussed, with reports on how using software can improve productivity, and make tasks easier and quicker.  AI can support with the repetitive tasks therefore freeing up this resource.  Employers continue to consider how AI will impact their business in the future, with the pros of increased productivity versus the cost of implementation and the impact this will have on their people. 

Employment law changes

The government communicated in their 2023 budget that they intend to review family friendly legislation, with the following coming into force on 06 April 2024.

  • Flexible working
  • Protection from redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave)
  • Carers leave

Further family friendly updates will be provided when known, including:

  • Neonatal leave and pay
  • Fertility treatment
  • Miscarriage leave

The Nockolds HR team will communicate the confirmed changes throughout 2024, to enable HR professionals and business owners to update their internal processes.  Our recommendations will be to:

  • Review current policies and procedures
  • Update letters / scripts
  • Communicate the updates to employees, using your internal channels including HR systems, staff announcements, staff handbook
  • Train line managers on the changes

It will be vital for HR teams to engage with senior management / executives to prepare for the changes in legislation.

2024 will continue to be challenging for businesses.  Having robust HR practices in place, with some flexibility to adjust to the financial uncertainty will be critical for businesses. 

To engage with the workforce your business may wish to consider the following projects:

  • Engagement surveys
  • Salary and benefits benchmarking
  • Consider the new employment legislation in 2024
  • Formalise your remote working policy
  • Review/implement a wellbeing strategy

To discuss your HR business requirements for 2024, call our team of HR Consultants on 0345 6460406 or email us at to arrange a call.