65% of HR leaders surveyed believe AI will help their field.

Most HR leaders anticipate artificial intelligence (AI) to help them in their roles, not hinder them, at a time when society is vigorously debating AI’s opportunities and risks.

In fact, over the next two years, AI is expected to have a positive impact on the HR function, according to 65% of Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs). The Conference Board CHRO Confidence Index for the second quarter of 2023 indicates as much.

CHROs are becoming more assured about hiring, according to the survey. Over half (51%)-an increase from 42% in Q1-believe that hiring will increase over the following six months. Additionally, only 15% of CHROs anticipate layoffs in the upcoming six months despite the economic downturn. Instead, CHROs are implementing short-term solutions to deal with the slower growth environment, such as reducing or postponing employee development opportunities, eliminating travel, and hiring only for essential positions.

Overall, CHRO confidence is up slightly from 57 in Q1 2023 to 58, which is essentially unchanged from 57. More positive than negative responses are indicated by a reading of more than 50 points.

This is The Conference Board’s second CHRO Confidence measure for a given quarter. The survey, which was conducted from April 3 through April 17, drew in 130 CHROs in total. Major conclusions include:

Half of CHROs expect hiring to increase-an increase from Q1.

  • 51 percent of CHROs expect hiring to increase within the next six months.
  • That’s up from 42 percent in Q1 2023.

CHROs expect difficulty retaining staff.

  • Only 34 percent expect employee retention to increase over the next six months.
  • That’s down from 45 percent in Q1.

Nearly half of CHROs say employee engagement is increasing.

  • As in Q1, 45 percent of CHROs report that employee engagement has increased in the last 6 months and 14 percent report a decrease.
  • In a February 2023 survey of 1,600 employees, however, 30 percent reported a decrease in employee engagement.

A majority of CHROs expect AI to have a positive business impact.

  • 65 percent believe artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on the human capital function within the next two years.

CHROs are taking short-term measures to address the economic downturn.

  • 42 percent are eliminating non-business-critical travel.
  • 36 percent are freezing all but critical position hiring.
  • 22 percent are reducing or delaying employee development opportunities.
  • 15 percent are conducting layoffs.

“Over the past few years, acute labor shortages have taken the challenge of hiring workers to a whole new level,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “This may be why, despite a weakening economic environment, CHROs are thinking twice before resorting to layoffs. Indeed, our survey results reveal that CHROs are focused on shorter-term actions to address the economic downturn, which also reflects our forecast that the recession will be short and shallow.”

More than a third of CHROs believe employee trust in leadership is increasing.

  • 36 percent say the level of trust employees have for leadership has increased in the past six months.
  • 42 percent say trust has remained unchanged.
  • 23 percent say trust has decreased.


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