Talent acquisition in 2024: how businesses can rise to the challenge



When it comes to building a superstar team, there’s no such thing as hiring in a bubble! Best practices have to evolve to match the culture they’re being practiced within, and it’s an understatement to say that the “world of work” has changed a whole lot in the past few years.

As we settle into a new year, we sat down with our in-house team of Talent Acquisition experts to get a read on trends they’ve noticed in recent years and how they expect those will evolve in 2024… and most importantly, what businesses can do to rise to the challenge.

Where are we coming from?

This likely won’t come as a surprise, but our team shares that the number one influence on people’s career perspectives in recent years has been the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charli Champagne, Manager of DEIB and Talent Acquisition.


“All of the factors that influence a person’s decision-making process were impacted by that huge cultural upheaval – how could they not be?” says Charli Champagne, Manager of DEIB and Talent Acquisition. “The perspective now is less complacent than it might have been in the past. ‘I have one life to live; how do my decisions add value to that life?’”



Hayley Yamamoto, Talent Acquisition Human Resources Specialist.


These decisions, of course, include where all of us are going to spend the majority of our waking hours! “The questions we’ve been most frequently asked during the recruitment process are around flexibility and hybrid work,” says Hayley Yamamoto, Talent Acquisition Human Resources Specialist.



Meera Unnikrishnan, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist.Employees are also seeking alignment with their own morals, ethics and values… and they’re not leaving it up to chance. “Prospective employees are conducting their own research into your reputation before even getting to the interview stage,” says Meera Unnikrishnan, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist. “Whether they’re checking out your website and social media accounts, digging into employer review sites, or asking around within their own networks, they’re looking for employers that are community-minded and not just driven by profits.”

Where are we headed in 2024, and how can employers rise to the challenge?

Charli, Hayley and Meera agree that this momentum is far from slowing down. Here’s how they believe it will manifest in the talent acquisition sphere over the course of the year ahead, and what business owners and HR professionals can do to set themselves and their teams up for success.

1. Flexible work isn’t going anywhere… and that’s OK!

Our experts agreed across the board: conversations around flexible work will remain key to attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, those who hadn’t even joined the workforce until 2020 or later have never known otherwise! This not only means certain organizations will be more attractive to recruits than others; it also means that prospective employees have access to a far broader range of opportunities than just what’s available in their own city… and it’s on you to keep up.

However, this is a mutual “win” as it expands the talent pool from which you can draw! Your next star employee may be several provinces away from your head office, and now you have the opportunity to find each other.

At Payworks, we value the in-person connection of a hybrid work model. It’s also important to recognize the role that flexibility plays in the overall wellness of your team, and to be mindful of the benefits of in-person connection. The right balance will look different for every crew, but once you find it, they’re sure to thrive.

How to rise to the challenge:

  • Be open to change: Whether it’s experimenting with different collaboration styles or getting creative on what it means to stay connected, every new team member will bring something different into the mix. What worked in 2023 may not work in 2024, just based on who’s at the table now. Hayley’s advice is to stay nimble, and express that open-mindedness to your prospective employees – they’ll appreciate it!
  • Engage a partner: Charli recommends reaching out to local or national organizations that specialize in connecting businesses with qualified and hardworking folks in different regions who may be looking for a part-time or more non-traditional schedule (whether it’s to balance family responsibilities, accommodate their education, or otherwise).
  • Stay honest: It can be tempting to overpromise flexibility when you know that’s what prospects want to hear, but a bait-and-switch is far worse for your employer reputation and team morale. If hybrid or flexible work isn’t on the table, clearly explain why in-person is the beneficial choice – for both your organization and the staff!

2. Employees are on the move, both across and within different organizations.

As people continue questioning what they’re looking for in their careers and employers, they’ll naturally be drawn to trying different things – whether it’s a new role within the same company or leaving the business (or even the industry!) altogether.

A corporate professional with a leather binder under their arm, standing up shaking hands with another individual.

How to rise to the challenge:

  • Let go of old assumptions about what a long resumé really means: While a varied work history may have once been viewed as a lack of focus or loyalty, in today’s climate, it’s more likely an indication of someone who’s enthusiastic about their own growth and personal evolution! These employees can bring an injection of energy and fresh thinking to your team. And for those with employment gaps, understand that the pandemic caused many people to exit the workforce for various reasons (for example, increased caregiving responsibilities), and work to reduce bias from the recruiting lens through which you’re viewing them.
  • Create opportunities for internal growth and lateral movement: Talent acquisition isn’t just about outside hires – the best fit for a role at your business might be someone who’s already part of the team in a completely different role. Invest in opportunities for learning and development within your team to help you (and them) identify potential to contribute in a new way and “scratch that itch” without leaving the organization altogether.
  • Find out what they want by... just asking them (yep, it can be that simple!): Ultimately, whether it’s stay interviews, engagement surveys or just a periodic chat over coffee, nobody will be able to provide you with a better sense of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses than the people who live within both. Meera also recommends gathering market intel from the prospective employees you’re interviewing as well – their questions and priorities are a great representative sample of where you should be aligning your focus.

3. How you take care of your colleagues, clients and communities is top of mind – and in the spotlight.

For Charli, Meera and Hayley, it’s unanimous: across all generations and levels of seniority, your passion for people really matters! Value alignment remains a key driver in decision-making, and prospective employees will continue to do their homework on your core values (and how they’re put into practice). Those organizations that shine the brightest when it comes to empathy, inclusivity and generosity will remain among their top picks.

“I want to give credit to the human spirit,” says Meera. “People are so much braver now, and are courageous enough to stick to their convictions.”

Two corporate professionals sitting down at a table with a laptop and paper.

How to rise to the challenge:

  • Share your story: The onus is on businesses to position themselves as employers of choice, so don’t be shy! Whether you’re spotlighting a partner not-for-profit organization, publishing feedback from happy staff, or filling your social media channels with photos of your team connecting with each other and their communities, there are plenty of ways to provide a clear window into what life looks like at your organization.
  • Question the status quo: If the view through that metaphorical window isn’t so rosy, use that reality check as motivation to make positive change! Ask yourself: what should we do? How can we be better? How can we provide holistic support to our people? If you’re stumped, don’t be afraid to reach out for help: there are plenty of organizations that can help you to focus on identifying bias and barriers in reviewing everything from your benefits to your hiring practices to improve inclusivity (and thereby better position your business to retain and recruit the best and brightest). “Take a look at your benefits package through the lens of ‘ok, I might not need this, but does someone else?’” recommends Charli. “Ultimately, the first step is recognizing that there are opportunities to grow.”
  • Look for the “culture add” instead of the “culture fit:” Recognize the many benefits of a diverse team and hire accordingly. “Keep on the lookout for someone who’s going to bring something new to the team. You don’t like sports? Cool! What do you like?” says Charli with a laugh. “Different skills, interests, experiences and perspectives benefit everyone, and it’s on us as employers to bring together that rich mosaic.”


Ready to make it easier than ever to recruit the best candidates and build your team in 2024? Check out Applicant Tracking, Payworks’ complete hiring solution: https://www.payworks.ca/solutions/applicant-tracking

Seeing is believing!

Curious what better Canadian workforce management looks like in action (and how much time you could reclaim in your day-to-day)? Book a pressure-free, get-to-know you demo today.