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Future-Proof Your Workforce: 5 Strategic Insights for Modern Businesses

Future-Proof Your Workforce: 5 Strategic Insights for Modern Businesses

Attract, Retain and Empower Top Talent in 2024 and Beyond

As organisations continue to navigate the ever-evolving business landscape – influenced by technological advancements, changing workforce expectations, and global economic factors – understanding current hiring trends is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge and attracting and retaining top talent.

In 2024, we’re seeing the emergence of five key trends that are influencing the recruitment space and in this article, we’re delving deeper by providing insights on how businesses can embrace each trend to stay ahead of the curve and position themselves as an attractive organisation to potential candidates.

Let's dive in.

1. Credentials Based Hiring is Out, Skills Based Hiring is In

The traditional focus on credentials in the recruitment space is shifting towards a skills-based hiring approach, and as organisations are continuing to evolve, the demand for specific skillsets is growing. Companies are beginning to recognise that traditional qualifications may not always reflect a candidate’s true capabilities or potential and, according to LinkedIn’s 2024 Workforce Report, 73% of recruiting professionals believe hiring based on skills is now a priority.

This approach centres the likes of practical skills and competencies over formal education, and therefore opens businesses up to an entirely new pool of potential candidates, who may have gained their expertise through non-traditional pathways, which would otherwise be ignored if credentials were listed as a must-have.

  • Adjust Your Job Descriptions: Remove unnecessary degree requirements, and specify the skills needed for the role. This approach widens the talent pool and attracts candidates with practical, hands-on experience as well as creating opportunities for talent who would otherwise be forgotten.
  • Offer Upskilling & Promote Internal Mobility: Invest in training programmes that enable employees to acquire new skills and stay relevant in their roles, or beyond. Create internal talent marketplaces that allow employees to explore different roles based on their skills or implement a system to map existing employees’ skills and identify potential career pathways within the company.
  • Conduct Skills Assessments: Consider the introduction of tools and platforms that assess candidates’ skills through practical tests and simulations. Reviewing portfolios and engaging in scenario-based interviews can also be effective ways to assess the skillsets of potential employees.

2. The Increasing demand for hybrid, remote & flexible work

As the pandemic restrictions eased, many were faced with the question: will we ever return to the traditional workplace? However, the demand for hybrid work models couldn’t be higher with 50% of employees being prepared to forgo a pay increase if it means they get the flexibility of their desired working patterns.

For employers, by recognising the benefits of implementing flexible work arrangements – such as increased productivity, reduced overhead costs (large businesses could save a potential £7.2m per annum by reducing their office headcount by just 50 people) and access to a wider candidate pool – they’ll not only be a far more attractive option for potential candidates, they’ll also reap the rewards of a more engaged workforce and boost their bottom-line.

  • Adopt Flexible Policies: Establish clear policies that support remote and hybrid work. This includes providing the necessary technology, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures, and fostering a culture of trust and accountability.
  • Invest in Digital Collaboration Tools: To maintain productivity and engagement, companies should invest in advanced collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. These platforms facilitate seamless communication and project management, bridging the gap between remote and in-office employees.
  • Prioritise Employee Wellbeing: Remote work can blur the lines between personal and professional life. Offering mental health resources, promoting work-life balance, and encouraging regular breaks can enhance employee satisfaction and retention.


As businesses increasingly incorporate AI and automation into their operations, the value of emotional intelligence and soft skills—such as empathy, collaboration, problem-solving and communication—has surged. These human-centric qualities are crucial in roles that require a nuanced approach alongside meaningful human interaction and creativity, complementing the technical capabilities of AI.

  • Prioritise Soft Skills in Recruitment: Include soft skills assessments in the hiring process through behavioural interviews, role-playing scenarios, and personality assessments. Look for traits such as emotional intelligence, adaptability, and teamwork.
  • Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning: Encourage employees to develop their soft skills through workshops, mentorship programmes, and cross-functional team projects. Providing opportunities for personal development can enhance these essential skills.
  • Integrate Soft Skills Training with AI Initiatives: As AI and automation reshape job roles, ensure that employees are equipped to harness these technologies effectively while maintaining strong interpersonal skills.

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4. It's time to embrace a multigenerational workforce

With Gen Z entering the workforce alongside Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, we’re seeing five generations at once working alongside each other for the first time in modern history. With this in mind, the need for businesses to reflect on and adapt their hiring practices to foster inclusivity and harmony among such diverse age groups has never been greater. So, what can organisations do to support this and stand out as an attractive option for job seekers? Here’s what we here at SmartPA recommend:

  • Promote Intergenerational Collaboration: Create opportunities for cross-generational mentorship and collaboration and promote this. By pairing younger employees with experienced mentors, you are able to facilitate knowledge-sharing and foster mutual respect.
  • Personalise the Candidate Experience: Adapt recruitment strategies to meet the expectations of different generations. For example, Gen Z candidates may value quick and transparent communication, while Baby Boomers might appreciate a more traditional approach. Customising the recruitment process to the individual, through the likes of communication preferences, can enhance the candidate experience and make your organisation more personable and attractive to top talent.

5. the spotlight's on diversity, equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion remain critical priorities in 2024. A diverse workforce drives innovation, enhances decision-making, and reflects a company’s commitment to social responsibility and in a recent study from EY, 60% of respondents across multiple generations currently prioritise DEI in choosing a company over one that does not. By prioritising DEI in the workplace, and championing a culture of inclusivity, organisations are not only more likely to attract top talent, but also retain them.

  • Establish Clear DEI Goals: Set measurable DEI objectives and integrate them into the company’s mission and values. Regularly track progress and hold leadership accountable for achieving these goals.
  • Implement Bias-Free Recruitment Practices: Utilise blind recruitment techniques to minimise unconscious bias. Leveraging AI-powered tools can also help ensure job descriptions and interview processes are inclusive and unbiased.
  • Foster an Inclusive Workplace Culture: Promote an inclusive culture through employee resource groups, diversity training programmes, and open dialogues on DEI topics. Encouraging diverse perspectives fosters a sense of belonging and enhances employee engagement, ultimately making you a more attractive option to potential candidates.


If there's one thing businesses are conscious of in today's competitive market, it's that savvy spending is essential. While many businesses focus primarily on direct revenue activities, the impact of administrative support is often overlooked. Exceptional administrative teams streamline operations, boost productivity, and drive revenue growth by freeing up key personnel to focus on core activities.

For many forward-thinking organisations, they understand that investing in administrative support is a strategic move, not just an expense. Effective administrative support aligns with broader business goals, enhancing overall efficiency and decision-making processes.

With this in mind, outsourcing is emerging as a strategic frontrunner for businesses to meet their workforce needs. By leveraging external expertise, companies can access a wide range of specialised skills and experience whilst reducing operational costs, meaning their focus can shift to core business functions and driving growth.

Benefits of Outsourcing:

  • Access to a Wider Talent Pool: Outsourcing allows companies to tap into a diverse and skilled workforce from around the world, and this is particularly beneficial for roles requiring niche expertise.
  • Cost Efficiency: Outsourcing to a company like SmartPA can significantly reduce labour costs, especially for non-core functions, and can transform variable costs into fixed costs, including the elimination of expenses related to recruitment, training, and office space for administrative staff.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Outsourcing provides the flexibility to scale operations up or down based on business needs. This agility is crucial in responding to market fluctuations and seasonal demands especially amidst global economic uncertainty.

final thoughts

As we move through the remainder of 2024, the above trends underscore the need for businesses to be agile, innovative and inclusive in order to get themselves ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive market. Implementing these strategies effectively requires a proactive approach, a commitment to continuous learning, and an unwavering focus on creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture and as businesses adapt to these trends, they will be better positioned to attract and retain the talent necessary to drive long-term success and future-proof their workforce.


About SmartPA

SmartPA leads the transformation of admin and business support services through technology and education, while our mission is to unleash potential by supporting young people and women to become business role models for future generations. Powered by a global team of passionate and accredited SmartPAs, we accelerate the success of over 5,000 businesses worldwide, delivering impactful outsourced support that allows organisations to focus on what they do best. With a Centre of Excellence in the UK, near shore hubs in South Africa and Uganda, and an offshore hub in Malaysia, we are dedicated to making a difference.

Find out more

Click here to find out more about how partnering with SmartPA can help your organisation improve profitability and resilience by outsourcing non-core business support or administration services to SmartPA. Alternatively, contact us directly to discuss your requirements.


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