Lovewell’s logic: What will the year ahead have in store?

Debbie Lovewell Tuck Editor Employee BenefitsA belated Happy New Year to you all!

At the turn of the year, many of us will have taken the opportunity to take stock and consider what we would like to achieve this year, along with what we will need to do or change in order to do so. While personally I don’t subscribe to the concept of new year resolutions, I do believe the change in year provides a good opportunity to plan for the year ahead.

Inevitably, around this time of year, we receive numerous press releases setting out predictions for the year ahead. These are commonly based on a combination of industry research and the extension of trends that are already beginning to be seen within workplaces. Each set of predictions obviously differs depending on the market sector they were compiled within, but some common themes have emerged. While most are not new or won’t be a great surprise to anyone in the industry, they can be a useful steer.

So, according to these, what does 2024 have in store for HR, reward and benefits professionals?

Pay transparency: From April, the EU regulation The Pay Transparency Directive will require all employers to introduce gender pay gap reporting or, in countries where this already exists, to broaden the scope of the requirements. In addition, employers will be required to publish the salary range for each advertised job role and to stop asking candidates about their current and past salaries.

Employees, meanwhile, will have the right to request information from their employer about what others in comparable roles are paid.

Agile-working arrangements: The debate about the return to the office versus remote working is expected to continue. Overall, the consensus appears to be that a one-size-fits-all approach to where and when employees work no longer works for everyone. Instead, the recommendation seems to be that employers should instead take a data-driven approach, enabling them to structure agile or flexible working arrangements that meet the different demands across a workforce.

Organisations that mandate a return to the physical workplace are expected to lose talent as a result.

Updating benefits packages: There are also myriad opinions around the type of benefits packages employers will offer over the coming year. One school of thought is that these will be stripped back to the most essential items to support employees, such as healthcare and wellbeing benefits, and financial wellbeing support during the cost-of-living crisis.

At the other end of the scale, meanwhile, are those who expect employers to introduce more nice-to-have items to entice staff back into the physical workplace, such as on-site amenities, for example, or who move towards a more flexible, customisable package to meet the needs of all employees.

So, how many of you included at least one of these areas in your plans for the coming year? As ever, only time will tell how the year will play out and which of these trends ultimately take priority.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
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