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Conference Board CHRO Survey: AI Will Help HR, Employee Engagement, Trust on the Rise

The Conference BoardA survey of 130 Conference Board chief human resources officers (CHROs) indicates a general state of optimism, despite talk of recession and the potential negative impact of AI.
Employee engagement and trust are on the rise; companies are still wary and watching costs; retention remains a challenge, so hiring remains strong while layoffs remain minimal. These are among the key findings of this Conference Board member survey, conducted in April 2023.
Nearly half of CHRO respondents believe employee engagement is increasing at their organizations. As of the first quarter, 45% of CHROs report that employee engagement has increased in the last six months and 14% report a decrease. In a February 2023 survey of 1,600 employees, 30% reported a decrease in employee engagement.
More than a third of CHROs believe employee trust in leadership is increasing.
36% say the level of trust employees have for leadership has increased in the past six months.
42% say trust has remained unchanged.
23% say trust has decreased.
CHROs are taking short-term measures to address the economic downturn.
42% are eliminating non-business-critical travel.
36% are freezing all but critical position hiring.
22% are reducing or delaying employee development opportunities.
15% are reporting layoffs.
The survey finds that “CHROs are increasingly confident about hiring. Just over half (51%) expect hiring to increase in the next six months—up from 42% in the first quarter. And despite the economic downturn, only 15% of CHROs expect layoffs in the next six months. Instead, CHROs are taking short-term measures to address the slower-growth environment, including eliminating travel, only hiring for critical positions, and reducing or delaying employee development opportunities.”
Overall, the survey finds, “CHRO confidence remains relatively unchanged at 58, up slightly from 57 in the first quarter 2023. (A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses).”
Rebecca RayObserves Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “Over the past few years, acute labor shortages have taken the challenge of hiring workers to a whole new level. 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.”
At a time when society is hotly debating AI’s opportunities and risks, most HR leaders expect artificial intelligence (AI) to help—not hurt—their role, the study finds.
“Indeed, 65 % of Chief Human Resource Officers expect AI to have a positive impact on the HR function over the next two years. That’s according to The Conference Board CHRO Confidence Index for the second quarter of 2023.”

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