CHRO Community Pulse on Talent Strategy

October 2023

The world’s largest organizations are steadfast on accelerating growth while battling persistent economic volatility and workplace disruption, and CHROs are on the front lines building and maintaining a workforce to accomplish these ambitious goals. For most of 2023, large-scale layoffs, advancements with generative AI and new return-to-office policies have been making headlines across business news, but on the ground, what tactics are CHROs implementing to improve efficiencies and keep costs down amid high inflation?

We asked human resources leaders in our CHRO communities about these latest disruptions and if they are affecting their ability to hire and retain a skilled workforce. Here is what almost 300 CHROs had to say about their need for talent and how they are altering their talent strategies in response.

Are Skilled Roles Hard to Fill?

Half of CHROs cited skilled roles are harder to fill than in years past. Thirty-one percent of CHROs said the difficulty is about the same, and only 19% said that it is not as difficult to fill skilled positions as years prior.

Is Recruiting a Challenge?

Almost all human resources leaders - 94% - reported their recruiting efforts as being either "somewhat challenging" or "very challenging" in 2023. Only 6% said they are not experiencing recruiting challenges this year.

Is Retention a Challenge?

CHROs are experiencing similar challenges with retention; 90% of respondents cited retaining skilled workers as either "somewhat challenging" or "very challenging". Only 10% said that it is not challenging.

What’s Impacting the Strategy?

When asked about the factors currently impacting their workforce strategy, their responses were varied. Thirty-one percent reported a need for a specific skill set, such as cybersecurity or data skills, and 23% cited demographics or a general lack of available talent. Lack of resources and workplace policies were nearly tied with 21% and 20% respectively, and 5% selected “other.”

In the comments, many CHROs mentioned how salary expectations are not in line with their budgets. Some detailed how employees do not want to return to the office, or they cannot provide the flexibility employees have grown accustomed to.

What Are the Focus Areas?

To fulfill talent needs, CHROs are deploying numerous strategies. Almost a quarter of respondents - 23% - said they are focusing on retention for key roles, 19% reported they are focusing on quiet hiring or internal promotions, another 19% are expanding searching beyond usual parameters, and 17% are upskilling or reskilling talent.

In the “other” comments, a few CHROs mentioned they are starting with the HR function, hiring more experienced recruiters to improve productivity. More are targeting young talent and recent college graduates who have the potential to grow within the organization. One CHRO shared they are transitioning hybrid roles back to fully remote positions to retain key staff.

Can They Upskill the Workforce?

When asked if they feel confident in their organization’s ability to upskill and reskill the workforce, the responses were promising. More than half of HR leaders - 55% - are either "somewhat confident" or "very confident" in their abilities. A quarter of CHROs feel neutral, and 17% are not confident. Three percent currently do not have a strategy to upskill or reskill the workforce.

What are CHROs’ Forward Looking Talent Strategies?

We surveyed our CHRO communities about every major disruption over the past few years, from The Great Resignation and Race for Talent to economic uncertainty and generative AI, and each time it has been challenging for HR leaders to continually adapt their talent strategies. 

In this environment, we asked what their forward-looking approach is, and retention, providing flexible work environments, and upskilling the workforce to meet advanced digital requirements were major themes. Here are a sample of their responses:

We have a big focus on retention, as we are not doing a ton of hiring. This includes a focus on rightsizing compensation, engaging workplace culture, accessibility and understanding learning and development opportunities.”

Broaden talent pools, enhance employee experience, develop world class leaders, and implement flexible working models.”

Develop digital capabilities in most of the roles in the company.”

Build from within. Recruit externally for critical capabilities we don't have in-house and cannot build quickly enough.”

If you are an HR leader navigating the ever-evolving talent landscape, apply to join your CHRO community and experience the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded peers on these mission critical priorities.


Based on 300 CHRO responses to Evanta’s Community Pulse Survey, October 2023.


by CHROs, for CHROs

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