As we hurtle towards a new year, we asked our team to give us the lowdown on the upcoming trends that our customers can anticipate in 2024. From the transformative shifts in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) practices to the burgeoning significance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, these insights offer a glimpse into the trends that will shape the business landscape in the coming year.

Leadership

Chief Explorer, Colin Lamb, spoke of what he expects leaders to face in the coming year, and how successful organisations will respond:

“2024 is going to be another tough year for business. Just when we thought we were out of the woods with COVID, businesses are being continually challenged on an economic scale and having to rethink what, how and why they do what they do. 

The biggest challenges we will face in 2024 will be the ongoing disruption due to inflation and economic downturn driven by political, economic, environmental, and global events. The ever-evolving change of customer expectations (personalisation and choice) and behavioural change (how people are choosing to buy) and how digital and AI in particular are taking us down roads we never thought possible at an instantaneous rate.  

These three external factors will drive businesses to change, adapt and evolve quicker than we realise. Disruption is afoot and the successful leaders will be at the forefront, while others who do not prioritise this will be left behind. “

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In 2024, our EDI Lead Katy Morrison expects the discourse on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to take a progressive turn:

“Talent shortages and the need for new skill sets mean that organisations will be stepping beyond traditional talent pools, and focusing on reskilling current employees, and even reintegrating retirees and caregivers back into pivotal roles.  I also believe that we’ll see a push to integrate diverse perspectives into strategy and organisational culture.

Companies will focus on inclusion rather than just compliance, and try to foster better working relationships by identifying commonalities. This approach will involve comprehensive training programs and events, going beyond sporadic or one-off training sessions to create a lasting impact. Companies are gearing up to collect EDI data, set goals, and implement measurements. Aligning with public bodies' practices, top-performing companies are integrating EDI policies and goals, demonstrating a commitment to creating and showcasing impact.”

Business

Next, we asked our Business Director, Jordan Kay, to outline the pivotal business trends he expects our customers to face in 2024.

“Rather than replacing jobs, I believe 2024 will bring a collaborative approach to AI. Businesses are exploring ways to integrate AI into daily operations, enhancing tasks from writing to boosting efficiency. This shift signifies a move towards embracing AI as a tool for augmenting human capabilities and it will, in turn, lead to a focus on shoring up the Skills Gap.

Companies in 2024 will begin reinvesting in people's soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and leadership. As technology continues to advance and be implemented more widely, businesses need to prioritise the development of their employees' abilities to effectively use these technologies and collaborate with others in the workplace.”0

Environment, Social Impact, & Governance

Our Chief Sustainability Officer, Mehalah Beckett, offers her opinion on how the ESG landscape will evolve in 2024.

“What I hope to see is 2024 being the start of a shift in the UK business model. B Corp-friendly practices are gaining popularity, with businesses advocating for legal responsibility to benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment. As The Better Business Act gains traction in parliament, this signals a commitment to aligning profit with broader societal and environmental concerns.

With this in mind, I believe that purpose-driven start-ups, having gained momentum since the pandemic, are set to explode in 2024. Aligning brand loyalty with a meaningful purpose, these businesses are reshaping markets, surpassing competitors focused solely on financial returns.

In terms of environmental impact, businesses will start to transition from their net-zero plans to tangible actions. 2024 demands substantial changes in internal processes and supply chains. Companies are expected to enforce rigorous standards throughout their supply partnerships, ensuring a genuine commitment to addressing climate change.”