business trends

Wow! It’s been an amazing year! But even though we’ve come a long way since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to have major ripple effects in our lives and businesses. As we look ahead to 2024, there are five business trends we think are especially worth paying attention to. 

There’s no doubt the landscape of American business has changed…and will continue to. It’s illustrated in how we’re now offering flexible work schedules, rethinking the idea of sick leave, looking more closely at the employee experience, and making sustainability a larger priority. 

So businesses hiring in the new year and beyond need to consider what well-informed job candidates will be looking for. Paying attention to these trends will benefit you and your teams in the long run. 

No. 1 – Reimaging Employee Leave

work stressIf COVID taught us anything, it’s that employee wellness should be at the core of company culture. According to Tufts, companies that make health in the workplace a priority are starting to grow in number. And employee wellness doesn’t just cover physical health but emotional health, as well. 

The idea of a “sick day” may come with certain connotations. But companies are rebranding these necessary days into “wellness days.” This removes any guilt or stigma around what qualifies for taking a day for personal health reasons. Companies are also recognizing the need to provide mental health incentives, such as paid mental health days and telemedicine options, in their health plans. 

The broader emphasis on mental health is one that’s particularly important to younger job seekers. Because work without thoughtful structure can lead to overwhelm or even burnout, traditionally employees have called in sick just to have a day to regroup. However, the trend of rethinking sick leave aims to reduce work stress from the start.

Fostering an environment that emphasizes employee mental health is very appealing to job candidates. Keep in mind that in the office, connection is key. Offering consistent recognition programs, as well as social activities, like potluck lunches and fun, themed work days, can help create a more connected environment. That gives you a big advantage when it comes to building a strong team that lasts. 

No. 2 – People Are Assets

team meetingTaking the time to develop this kind of company culture is critical. Because if the culture is not right, it’s very easy for employees to feel undervalued and move on. Recognizing that your people are assets is a powerful mindset.

The knowledge, skills, and drive of good employees keep a company thriving. Organizations that place high value on this will notice more exemplary leaders emerging. One strategy is to not only emphasize “hard” or trainable skills but also “soft” or people skills. (This goes for current employees and potential hires.)

For instance, the ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important to develop relationships that last. Perhaps an employee excels at this, whether the relationships they create are with clients, other employees, or both.  These kinds of effective soft skills encourage creativity, problem-solving, and strong teamwork. They also contribute to an environment with higher employee retention. 

No. 3 – Upskilling and Reskilling

upskillingSpeaking of longevity,, upskilling and reskilling are both related trends on an upward tick. We wrote about this more extensively in a popular recent blog post; we hope you’ll check out. 

Both upskilling and reskilling invest into training employees with skills that empower them to grow. But there’s an essential difference between the two tactics. Upskilling is training an employee in new systems or skills that align with their present job. Reskilling is investing in an entirely new skillset. 

Both can be extremely beneficial and go hand-in-hand with valuing your employees as assets. Any company that takes time to advance their employees is one likely to attract the right candidates and achieve amazing things. 

No. 4 – Focusing on Sustainability

shaking handsIt’s no secret that more and more companies are developing a greener thumb. This is in part because environmental sustainability has become highly attractive to prospective employees. People tend to gravitate towards companies that share similar beliefs and values. So, for those who care deeply about the environment, this means looking for a company that places emphasis on environmental responsibility.