Navigating the Talent Landscape in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide to Hiring and Employee Retention

By Carly Holm, Founder & CEO of Humani HR, a member of WPO's Nashville II Chapter and proud sponsor of the 2024 WPO Entrepreneurial Excellence Forum

In today’s ever-evolving landscape of the job market, businesses find themselves navigating new challenges and opportunities in 2024. From changes in hiring, to essential strategies for improving employee retention, there are many updates business owners and entrepreneurs should be aware of in today’s workplace. Understanding the dynamics of the modern workforce, the significance of the employee onboarding process and actionable insights to stay up-to-date with 2024 hiring trends are crucial for any organization.

First, Let’s Review the Current State of the Job Market

As we step into 2024, the job market remains as dynamic and competitive as ever. With advancements in technology, changing work preferences, and the aftermath of global events, businesses must stay attuned to the pulse of the workforce. Remote work, flexible schedules and a heightened focus on employee well-being have become integral factors in attracting and retaining talent.

Job seekers are more discerning than ever before, considering not only the role they are applying for, but also the company’s values, culture and commitment to employee growth. In response, organizations are increasingly adopting a holistic approach to talent acquisition, recognizing that the best employees are those whose personal and professional values align with the company’s mission and vision.

Where to Start:

  1. Practice “COHR”

Keeping “COHR” in mind can be a great first step to employee hiring and retention in the modern workplace. Often, companies wanting to be top-notch employers that are able to hire and retain top talent go straight to thinking about fancy perks and “modernizing” their workplace. These are very important, but for the overall employee experience to be great, it is important to first ensure your company's compliance and operations are in order. No matter the perks in the workplace, employees want the confidence that the business is being run properly and that their pay will arrive on time without error. They want a smooth experience with their HRIS system and ability to easily manage their personal items such as health benefits, retirement benefits, and payroll information. With this, it’s important to start with what we call COHR HR:

  • Compliance - Ensuring all mandatory compliance is in place in everything that the organization does – i.e. handbooks, policies, employment contracts, job descriptions, etc. For onboarding, this is imperative for demonstrating a well-run business to new and existing employees, building their confidence in your company.
  • Operations - Refers to all tactical HR operations such as: employee onboarding, payroll, HR software, systems and technology
  • Hiring - Includes all strategic hiring practices, which we will discuss
  • Retention - Refers to all retention efforts and best practices – more on that below as well.
  1. Strategies for Strategic Hiring

To hire strategically in 2024, businesses must adapt to the evolving expectations of the workforce. One of the key strategies companies may want to consider implementing this year is flexible work arrangements. According to Forbes, whether organizations select remote, hybrid or flexible schedule options, studies show that offering flexible work arrangements widens the pool of hiring candidates and aligns with the personal preferences of current employees. And flexible can mean different forms of flexibility, depending on the nature of the company’s business and the nature of the specific roles.

Another important strategy for keeping up with the needs of the current workforce is to prioritize diversity and inclusion. A diverse and inclusive workplace is not just a moral imperative; it is a business necessity. Companies should actively seek diversity in their hiring practices and create an inclusive environment where employees feel valued. According to Forbes, this not only enhances perspective and innovation at your organization, but also contributes to higher employee satisfaction and retention.

Finally, it’s critical business leaders invest in leadership and development to keep up with today’s workforce. As Forbes found in their 2024 research on employee development, companies that prioritize employee development and provide opportunities for upskilling are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Offering mentorship programs, training sessions and access to learning resources can contribute to the professional growth of employees. Additionally, companies can explore partnerships with educational institutions or online learning platforms to provide their employees with relevant and cutting-edge skills.

  1. The Importance of Effective Onboarding

An often overlooked aspect of employee retention is the significance of the new employee onboarding process, part of HR operations.  An effective onboarding experience sets the tone for an employee’s journey within the company. It goes beyond paperwork and formal introductions, encompassing a comprehensive orientation to the organization’s culture, values and expectations.

In 2024, business leaders should invest in robust onboarding practices that facilitate a smooth transition for new hires, while ensuring all mandatory compliance needs in the employee’s region are covered. Recent studies such as this one from Glean support this.  A well-structured onboarding program not only accelerates the integration of new employees into their roles, but also contributes to long-term commitment and retention within the organization.

A comprehensive onboarding process includes:

          Clear Communication: Provide new hires with a detailed overview of the company’s mission, vision and values. Ensure that expectations are communicated clearly, and goals are aligned with the broader organizational objectives.

          Training and Development: Offer thorough training sessions that equip new employees with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles. Additionally, provide ongoing learning opportunities to encourage continuous professional development.

          Integration into Company Culture: Foster a sense of community by introducing new hires to the company’s culture . This can include team-building activities, mentorship programs and social events that help new employees connect with their colleagues.

          Feedback Mechanisms: Establish open lines of communication from the beginning, encouraging new hires to provide feedback on their onboarding experience. This not only helps in refining the onboarding process but also makes employees feel valued and heard.

  1. Improving Employee Retention Rates

Employee retention is a key concern for businesses seeking sustained success. High turnover not only disrupts workflow, but also incurs significant costs in recruiting and training new talent. To address this challenge, companies are increasingly focusing on creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

Employee progression planning, employee engagement incentives and development opportunities are vital components of successful retention strategies. As the Harvard Business Review found in their latest research, companies that prioritize employee well-being and foster a sense of belonging are more likely to retain their top performers. Recognizing the importance of mental health and work-life balance, some companies are implementing wellness initiatives, flexible work arrangements and additional support systems to ensure their employees feel supported and will want to remain at the organization.

The Takeaways

As business leaders navigate the complexities of today’s job market, a strategic approach to hiring and employee retention is clearly crucial for success. By practicing the COHR HR method (Compliance, Operations, Hiring & Retention), staying attuned to new developments, prioritizing onboarding and professional development, and implementing forward-thinking hiring practices, organizations can build a resilient and engaged workforce. Going forward, companies will find adaptability and commitment to well-being to be the cornerstones of sustainable success. The organizations that embrace change, foster a positive workplace culture, and invest in the growth of their employees will undoubtedly stand out in the competitive talent landscape of 2024.


About the Author

Carly Holm is the Founder and CEO of Humani HR, which helps small and medium-sized businesses with all aspects of their HR & People Operations across both the US and Canada. Carly’s passion for both business and HR started early, earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Human Resources more than 15 years ago. She subsequently spent a decade at Bank of America and CIBC in both Canada and the US, working as an HR Business Partner.

Being a business owner herself, Carly is passionate about helping the founders and executives of small and medium-sized businesses grow their companies by elevating their People Operations. She began Humani HR with the mission of creating a successful business with an incredible workplace, while in turn supporting clients who are doing the same. As recognition for her success, Carly was awarded the prestigious Forty Under 40 Award in 2022 for Canada’s National Capital Region. She now resides in Nashville, TN, as Humani HR builds out its US business.

Outside of work, Carly loves spending time with her husband and their 3 young boys, cooking, skiing, and staying active.

Contact Carly: