Despite economic challenges, CHROs are confident that recruitment rates will rise this year. CEOs, however, aren’t so sure.
By Zee Johnson
Five months into this year, and news headlines have been riddled with the adverse effects that the economy has had on the workforce—most particularly, the mass layoffs that have come as a result of inflation and an impending recession. But recent research reveals that HR leaders are actually optimistic about hiring and retaining workers despite all of the negative chatter.
The Conference Board’s CHRO Confidence Index, which tracks chief human resources officers’ (CHRO) thoughts surrounding workforce growth, stability, and stress by focusing on hiring, revealed that three-quarters of CHROs expect hiring to remain steady or even increase over the next six months, and 76% don’t expect a change at all.
Further, CHRO confidence in the first quarter stands at 57, with a reading of more than 50 points reflecting more positive than negative responses. Forty-five percent also expect employee retention to increase, while 36% expect no change.
Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, says that this confidence doesn’t come as a surprise but by design. “CHROs and their teams have spent a great deal of time and effort on improving the employee experience in an effort to attract and retain talent,” she says. “Many CHROs can now offer an attractive package and a stable work environment, particularly to the workers recently impacted by layoffs in the tech sector, where they could not compete in the past.”
The report also shows that 45% of CHROs say that employee engagement has increased in the last six months. Ray says that companies should leverage this uptick while they can and not look at it with complacency. “That rise in engagement may be short-lived if employers fail to improve the worker experience as a critical means to attract and retain talent, address workplace inequities, and reconnect workers to mission and purpose,” she says.
The Conference Board also conducted a study that measured CEO sentiments on today’s talent market. When juxtaposed with CHRO views, optimism wasn’t as high. The key differences include the following.
- 42% of CHROs expect hiring to increase this year, while only 37% of CEOs expect to expand their workforce over the next 12 months.
- 47% of CHROs plan to focus on strengthening the leadership pipeline in 2023, compared to 20% of CEOs.
- 34% of CHROs plan to strengthen organizational culture to retain talent, compared to 18% of CEOs.
- 30% of CHROs plan to prioritize the development of workforce capabilities, and just 19% of CEOs share this view.
Both executives care about the effectiveness and strength of their recruitment processes and the results they generate, but Ray says CHROs are more up close and personal with the work that goes into them. “While both CEOs and CHROs are concerned about the ability to hire workers, CHROs are acutely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce, and the challenges of finding and retaining talent. Indeed, CHROs know the greater time and effort that is now necessary to successfully hire someone,” she says. “They are also concerned that critical talent, if not developed internally, may be difficult to find in the current labor market. CEOs are focused on navigating their organizations through a sea of uncertainty and change.”
View more study findings at https://www.conference-board.org/press/leaders-confident-about-hiring-retaining-workers