The world that all businesses operate in is fundamentally changing, along with the workforce. Three-quarters of companies say that talent shortages will limit their organizational growth plan—despite the concern over rising interest rates and the threat of recession. Therefore, it is no shock that creating a people strategy came in as a top HR priority from our recent survey of 550 HR leaders and subject matter experts.

The race for talent kicked into high gear with the Great Resignation, and the trend is still going strong as recruiters continue to jockey for candidates amid a tight market—with 72% of respondents concluding their organization needs to refresh how they communicate the specific advantages they can offer to talent, in order to strengthen their Employer Value Proposition.

“As expectations shift and the fierce competition for talent continues, employees have come to expect more consumer-grade experiences in the workplace,” says Laura Manson-Smith, Korn Ferry’s Global Leader of Organization Strategy Consulting.

Developing a future-fit EVP presents some big dilemmas for CHROs: How do they balance what employees want today (career growth, development, alignment to purpose) with the things that organizations are worried about for tomorrow (the economy, political uncertainty, labor cost inflation, etc.)? And how do they develop an EVP that will help them stand out from the competition?

Manson-Smith advises using market research tools to help you understand, attract and retain the talent you need. “The biggest mistake organizations make is being too internally focused,” says Manson-Smith. She advises leaders not to rely purely on self-generated ideas but to reach out to the people who are representative of the future to create an EVP that appeals to them.

The importance of manager development

Another big dilemma in crafting a new EVP is how to balance authenticity with aspiration. “It’s not enough to communicate an enticing story—the next challenge is how you activate it so that employees live and feel that every single day?” says Manson-Smith.

Developing managers—specifically their ability to inspire, motivate and retain talent—is a further top priority the survey found. Manson-Smith says wise organizations will center manager attention on creating a customized, consumer-grade experience for employees across multiple generations.

Organization Strategy

Change starts with people

Labor and skill shortages were named as the main external trend that will have the biggest impact on leaders’ business over the next two years. The paradox, our study reveals, is that 64% of respondents feel confident that they know the skills they need for the future growth of their business, but only half were confident they knew how to acquire those skills.

Focusing on agility via self-disruptive leadership will be one key in bridging that gap, says Marco Mingolla, who leads Korn Ferry’s EMEA Practice for People and Talent Strategies, yet our data shows that only 15% of self-disruptive leaders comprise the entire leadership stock. CHROs in our survey say agility is a must-have for future HR leaders as capabilities will soon likely be prioritized over fixed roles.

“As you build your leaders' learning agility, you build organizational agility,” says Mingolla. An agile workforce, he says, can more quickly react to imbalances that might occur as a result of external forces like a pandemic or internal issues like staff shortages.

Exploiting growth opportunities and transformation (digital and business) were other top business priorities claimed by survey respondents. Mingolla asserts that the trap some CHROs can fall into when addressing these issues include running a specific HR agenda that isn’t adequately connected with a company’s overall business imperatives. The crucial piece to resolve this, he says, is communication. “You need to talk with the business leaders and understand what it is that they really need—most business leaders can articulate pain points,” says Mingolla. What business leaders can’t always do, he adds, is determine how to turn their frustrations into creative breakthroughs. He says, “That is for HR to determine.”

Learn more from our future of work study

To uncover more insight into what is on the minds of today’s leading CHROs, watch our recent webinar “Workplace of the future: A CHRO’s view of the future of work” or reach out to one of our experts if you’re ready to take a more people-focused approach to your organizational strategy today.