What Keeps Your CHRO Up at Night
Chief human resource officers have a lot on their minds, especially these days. Think about where we have been over the last two years: managing HR’s response and leadership during the pandemic. Navigating the return to office. Balancing nuanced business decisions around remote and hybrid work. Guiding talent strategy amid the Great Resignation, including ensuring business continuity even when attrition has surged, and hiring has been more challenging than ever.
CHROs have a lot of responsibility, and it is only increasing—leading the strategy and function for everything for the people in your organization is a big, seriously important role. Here are six top priorities and key trends that might be keeping your CHRO up at night.
Employee mental health
Pandemic stress and isolation laid bare the need for better support for mental health and well-being in the workplace. But workplace stress predates the pandemic, and it is extending after as well, through global upheaval, rising costs, inflation, and ongoing uncertainty. Research from the American Psychological Association found that daily stress is not only already high but it’s also rising. No matter its origins, this stress can negatively affect productivity, customer and colleague relationships, and much more. CHROs are making mental health in the workplace a priority through workplace wellness programs, benefit enhancement, and more.
Great Resignation? Great Reshuffle? It matters less what we call it than what we do about it. Research from Willis Towers Watson released this spring revealed that over half of US workers are job-seeking, highlighting the serious challenge of recruitment and retention (and the threat posed by talent loss). In response, CHROs are looking at ways to change or strengthen recruitment, from candidate sources to candidate experience throughout the interview process.
A good recruitment strategy only goes so far in a tight talent market—total rewards matter a lot, too. CHROs are delving into total rewards that strengthen recruitment and retention, from boosting compensation and expanding or enhancing benefits to considering incentives, flexible work schedules, learning and development, recognition, and much more.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
DE&I is no longer a “nice to have” at organizations; it is table stakes. DE&I goals, programs, and progress are a focus for many CHROs. It is an ambitious array of initiatives to drive, from identifying company gaps to fostering more transparency and considering ways to widen the talent pool, eliminate hiring biases, and build a more inclusive culture.
Crisis planning and management
HR had no playbook when it came to the pandemic—and this is true of any crisis, large or small, that may affect an organization. During crisis, many organizations look to CHROs to lead the human face of a company response. Successfully doing so requires a plan, from managing internal and external communications to overseeing the many facets of the HR function during times of difficulty or tragedy. After the events of the last two years, many CHROs are investing in crisis planning and management to ensure they are focused on human needs.
The future of work
For many of us, work will never look the same as it did before March 2020. Remote work, hybrid schedules, culture changes, and more have forever shifted the workplace. Now, organizations must set policies—and expectations—for employees. Many CHROs see an opportunity to lead the way through understanding what employees and prospective candidates want and tracking how they feel about it through regular pulse insights. CHROs are also considering how technology shifts like AI, machine learning, automation, and digital transformation can help employees work smarter, perform better, and remain invested in their workplace.
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