In a dynamic market, CHROs are guiding the C-suite

Amid today’s rapid and ongoing workplace transformation, chief human resource officers play an increasingly important role as strategic leaders, with many guiding the C-suite on the changes ahead, according to a May 22 report from iCIMS, a talent acquisition technology provider.

CHROs listed numerous major challenges in 2024, including changes in compliance and regulatory laws, reduced budgets and hiring fluctuations. More than half said they’re spending more time on talent acquisition than they did two years ago, and they’re also worried about a lack of qualified candidates in their talent pipelines and retention of top performers.

“We’re in the midst of a seismic shift, and CHROs are poised to be the strategic partner to help the C-suite navigate the road ahead,” Laura Coccaro, chief people officer at iCIMS, said in a statement.

In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S.-based HR leaders and workers, retention emerged as a major focus for 2024, with 86% saying internal mobility is a priority for their organization. In addition, 37% said they’re investing in new technology to support internal mobility initiatives.

Similarly, employees appear to be supportive of this focus, with 77% being open to a new job with their current employer. The iCIMS platform shows similar trends, with an 18% increase in internal applications and 11% jump in internal hires, as compared to the same time period in 2023.

Pay transparency is top of mind, too, for both workers and HR leaders, according to the survey. More than 40% of employees said they wouldn’t apply for a job without a salary range. At the same time, 44% of CHROs said their job descriptions include a salary range, though only for roles based in states that mandate it, while another 37% said all job postings had a salary range.

CHROs are also focused on the bottom line for the board, often looking for new ways to measure business impact and deliver more value. Diversity, equity and inclusion metrics top the list of key performance indicators they report to the C-suite and board. 

When looking at talent acquisition metrics, CHROs report their team’s diversity application and hire metrics, offer acceptance rate, applicants per opening, recruiter productivity and application conversion rate, among others.

However, hiring has been pushed to the back burner for many companies due to budget concerns, according to data from HR Dive’s Identity of HR 2024 survey. In response, HR pros say they’re now more focused on “maximizing value within budgetary constraints” and meeting higher expectations for their spending choices.

Employee retention has become a top priority for both operations and HR, even surpassing revenue or sales growth for some companies, according to a Gallagher report from August 2023. To increase retention, employers are focusing on compensation, total rewards and the employee experience, including diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

To retain top talent in 2024, HR professionals should listen to employees, regularly check in with managers and provide mentorship opportunities, according to Elizabeth Rieveley, chief people officer at MeridianLink. Retention ultimately focuses on creating a positive and supportive work environment for people to thrive, she said.