Your firm is looking to expand into a new region. Prospective customers are primed, the execution strategy is in place, and government contracts have been signed. This could be a potentially groundbreaking moment for the company–if only you had enough of the right employees to see it through.

It’s indeed a conundrum for CHROs. Our recent survey of 550 global HR thought leaders, titled “What’s on the mind of CHROs in 2023?" shows that half see labor and skills shortages as having the biggest impact on their business over the next two years, making the need to find and keep talent a top business priority.

In our recent panel discussion, “Workplace of the future: A CHRO's view of the future of work”, Jane Edison Stevenson, Korn Ferry Vice Chair of Board & CEO Services and Global Leader of the CEO Succession Practice, sat down with two leading CHROs, Jacqui Canney of ServiceNow and Marilyn Chaplin of NTT Ltd. Canney and Chaplin shared their thoughts on how to address the current HR challenges.

Be flexible and intentional in your approach to culture

Our 2023 future of work research reveals that there is a disconnect between workers and their employers today. In fact, our survey results show that while the majority of organizations have developed hybrid ways of working that support their workforce and business needs, organizations are struggling to foster a culture of innovation.

Experts say this issue calls for leadership development that steers clear of imposing culture onto an organization from on high. Instead, Chaplin encourages a flexible but connected workplace that listens to the voice of the employee so that they feel like they have an opportunity to shape the culture as it evolves.

At NTT Ltd., for example, Chaplin made the intentional choice not to come up with a policy specifying the number of days employees must spend in the office. “We’ve changed our workplaces into social hubs. We listened to our employees. They do want to come back, but they don’t want to come back in every day,” says Chaplin. She added that hybrid working could either detract from your culture or reinforce it—if you get it right.

Get ahead of risk

Experts advise developing an organization strategy to manage the specific risks within your company and industry.

At ServiceNow, for instance, Canney explains that they’re in the business of finding solutions for problems that leaders haven’t yet realized they will face. “We see risk as complacency in innovation,” says Canney.

The challenge, however, is in getting employees to be constantly thinking about innovation, while still delivering on the current business at hand. Canney addresses this by keeping her team hyper-focused on creating a stimulating employee experience to enable the desired productivity.

Chaplin shares that some parts of NTT Ltd. are growing rapidly, while others are shrinking. “There’s a lot of risk of burnout with the long hours… the health of the workforce is a risk in my mind.” Chaplin explains that upskilling or reskilling workers from diminishing sectors in the company can more evenly distribute the load and give those employees a sense that they still have a meaningful part to play in the company’s purpose.

Our time to take control

The future of work in 2023

Embrace artificial intelligence

The AI market is reportedly projected to grow 37% between now and 2030. Canney suggests that even though firms used digital technology in years prior, previous platforms were mainly about gathering data—but AI will take it a step further.

“It’s not about a lack of data. It’s about how do you interpret it. We need to be able to unleash the potential of what the data is telling us.”

Jacqui Canney, CHRO at ServiceNow

And our surveyed HR leaders agree—predicting that they will integrate business strategies with people strategies and use data insights to forecast talent and reskill the workforce for the increasingly automated and AI-driven workplace.

Canney goes on to say that AI and machine learning will even play a role in succession planning across a more diverse spectrum by assessing workers’ capabilities, as opposed to their networks. “It’s the ability to predict who’s got the potential versus who do you know,” says Canney.

Chaplin added that new technology is going to change the way we view and even understand the capability that organizations have. “[Traditionally in HR], we classified people into roles and then we'd say, ‘we've got so many client managers or so many whatever’. I think now we're going to talk skills and capabilities more and more.”

Watch the full “Workplace of the future” webinar on demand to hear all the insights from this conversation or contact us to explore how we can help your company find and keep top talent.