2024: HR’s Path to Renewed Normality

2024: HR's Path to Renewed Normality

[By: Sarah Dobson]- As 2024 unfolds, the world has shifted its gaze beyond the pandemic, yet its impact lingers, notably in workplace dynamics, employee wellbeing, and the incorporation of new technologies like generative AI. These changes are reshaping the role of Human Resources (HR) in profound ways.

Canadian HR Reporter engaged with three HR leaders from Canada to gain insights into the upcoming year’s challenges and opportunities for HR departments and their organizations.

Embracing Change and Nurturing Talent

Kirk Merrett of Hyundai Canada views 2024 as a milestone year, marking a return to pre-pandemic normalcy. However, the focus remains on attracting and retaining talent, emphasizing the importance of a strong company culture and proactive talent research by job candidates.

Peter Pontone from Ricoh Canada highlights the necessity for agility in HR, a lesson learned during the pandemic. Adapting to rapid changes and aligning closely with business strategies are now paramount for HR professionals.

Anika Holder of Penguin Random House Canada stresses the need for a workplace “reset,” acknowledging the ongoing recovery from the pandemic. This involves redefining workplace norms and values to support contemporary working styles and enhance connections within the workforce.

Prioritizing Culture and Employee Development

Merrett emphasizes Hyundai’s commitment to maintaining its company culture, recognizing that various factors can influence it. Initiatives like structured career development plans and mentorship programs, launched in 2023, aim to boost employee engagement and address the primary reason for job changes: career advancement.

Hybrid Work and Mental Health: A New Focus

The hybrid work model, balancing remote and in-office work, is a key focus, according to Pontone. This approach acknowledges the diverse needs of different groups within the organization. Also, mental health and overall wellbeing, including financial wellness, are high priorities, with initiatives aimed at providing comprehensive support to employees.

DEI: Creating a Sense of Belonging

Holder emphasizes the importance of doubling down on efforts related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), with a focus on creating psychological safety and a sense of belonging in the workplace. Merrett shares Hyundai Canada’s progress on their DEI journey, highlighting efforts to foster an inclusive culture through Employee Resource Groups and various cultural celebrations.

The Tech Revolution: AI in the Workplace

Finally, the article touches on the technological revolution within HR. Holder sees technology, particularly AI, as an opportunity for skill development and a culture of experimentation. Pontone also acknowledges AI as both a challenge and an opportunity for learning and adaptation.

In conclusion, HR in 2024 is about navigating the complexities of a post-pandemic world, balancing the preservation of company culture with embracing new norms, and leveraging technology for competitive advantage. These leaders emphasize the need for agility, adaptability, and a proactive approach to ensure HR plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of work.