Evolving Priorities of the CHRO in 2022

The top trends demanding the attention of the HR C-Suite in 2022 and beyond

HR leaders have long held a crucial role in shaping the organisations they are part of. Yet the Covid-19 pandemic, forced HR leaders to assume a greater leadership role in the organisation that perhaps ever before. 

Over the first half of 2022, Chief Human Resource Officer, (CHRO) will continue to play a pivotal role in the C-Suite, whilst evolving and developing their priorities to align with the challenges that lay ahead in the business and economic landscape. 

Here, we will explore the continuing trends, themes and priorities of the CHRO in 2022. In addition to exploring emerging trend predictions for the half year ahead, leading to 2023.


The leading priorities for HR at the outset of 2022 reflected the continued need to respond to the after effects of the pandemic.  The result, a theme witnessed across many organisations, relating to workplace strategies, hybrid working, remote working and people engagement. 

In turn, HR leaders needed to evolve the means in which they attracted, retained and engaged talent in a hybrid world handling the trauma of the pandemics events and the onset of an impending economic and cost of living crisis. In short the strategic focus for CHRO’s has been far from straight forward.

Looking ahead, the priorities of the CHRO will continue to respond to the shift in ways of working. Whilst contemplating the macro economic environment having a material impact on the people and performance of an organisation.

HR Priority 1️⃣: Increasing Salary Demands to contend with the rising costs of living

The rapid rise in living costs are impacting how far UK workers’ pay packets can extend to. A recent survey conducted by HR Magazine in 2022, found that more than half of employers are looking to receive higher pay increases, compared to what expectations were in 2021. According to Incomes Data Research (IDR), some workers may see pay rises as high as 6%, although the expected average rise is 2%. The 2% average increase follows 2021’s rise of 1.5%-2%, and 2020’s stagnation at 0%.

As such, HR leaders are being faced with tackling resource and staffing budgets, to accommodate the higher salary demands, being felt from within the organisation, but also from the wider labour market.

Fight for talent drives higher pay increases

This is being driven in part by the difficulties with recruiting and retaining talent, due to the increasing cost of living. So far in 2022, hiring trends are resulting in the majority of employers (74%) stating they are experiencing difficulties in attracting the right talent. 

This trend correlates with HR leaders needing to drive down attrition rates in their organisations,  by increasing reward packages to reduce employee flight risk and turnover.

HR Priority 2️⃣: Hybrid work driving business transformation

This shift to hybrid work has been and will continue to be a massive driver of organisational transformation. HR leaders have already found themselves responding to the shift towards a largely hybrid workforce environment. 

Yet with splits in preferences of senior teams emerging, placing demands to return to the traditional model of work to some extent. Coupled with evolving preferences for work-life balance, the transformation drive shows no signs of slowing. 

The proportion of people planning to spend most of their working hours at home has risen

In the UK, the research body, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) data reflects that whilst the shift to working from home for many employees was the result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The continuation of this shift is set to continue, with more than eight out of 10 employees surveyed, stating they plan to continue working in a Hybrid way for the long term foreseeable future. 

Furthermore there has been an increase in Hybrid working since the ONS survey took place in February 2022. Just 13 percent of surveyed employees were working from home at that time. Yet, four months later the percentage had increased to 24 percent. 

It is predicted that the increase in hybrid working will continue. As such, the transformation that HR will be tasked with leading is set to be seismic in nature. Remote and hybrid work is here to stay and the priorities associated with embedding this way of working into teams and organisations is set to continue.

HR Priority 3️⃣: Continuity of employee experience

The continuation of a shift to more, not less Hybrid and remote working, will see the future of employee experience coming into sharper focus for the CHRO’s strategic priorities. 

Three-quarters of home and hybrid workers reported improved work life balance
Three-quarters of home and hybrid workers reported improved work-life balance | Source: ons.gov.uk

The ripple effect from changes to ways of working, has heralded many positive changes for employees who may have achieved greater work life balance. Yet, the challenges of hybrid working long term and the impact this could have on morale, productivity and employee experience are yet to be fully understood.

The old office and ways of working have undoubtedly gone forever. This has required a swift evolution to policies, procedures and cultural engagement practices. But what of the continuity of employee experience? 

Employee experience has until recently been a straightforward process of measurement. Yet as the culture of the organisation is contributed to significantly by, just how inclusion and belonging are felt by employees. It’s undeniable that the changes to the workplace and ways of working have ushered in a need to shift, in the mindset of HR leaders. 

The focus relating to this priority is on how to shape employee experience. Responding to the needs of employees who may continue to be primarily office or location based. Alongside the needs of those who may be home based or have a combination of the two modes of working. 

How can HR ensure these two sets of stakeholders have a consistently high level of employee experience will be vital considerations in the fight against talent attrition and the evolution of employer brand to attract future employees. 

The concept of employer branding has become prominent in recent years

CHROs will, in 2022 and looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, need to focus on ensuring their employee value proposition. Resonates with the talent on both sides of the Hybrid model of working. Whilst also being sufficiently developed to attract and retain talent as the organisation evolves.

HR Priority 4️⃣: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion acted upon not just targets & lip service

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) prior to the pandemic had been propelled into the spotlight. Yet, despite the much needed focus on increasing equality and equity within organisations. The demands made on HR leaders and organisations by the pandemic, saw CHROS’s and with it, the HR agenda, diverting away from this vital area of focus. 

For the latter part of 2022 and moving into 2023 this imperative will rise again in the priorities for CHROs. 

Research on DEI performed by CIPD in 2019, revealed how high a priority this was for CHROS’s to the extent that over the past two years 76% of global organisations surveyed with 1,000+ employees had made firm commitments to address racial and social inequities within the workplace. 

All organisations have an employer brand, whether they’ve consciously sought to develop one or not

Moving beyond commitments to action is what is keenly required of HR leaders defining their strategic priorities now.

Bringing it all together

CHRO’s are boldly supported in their endeavours to manage their evolving priorities thanks to Sage HR Management Software. Their complete HR solution is trusted worldwide by small to medium enterprises. Sign up to a 30 day free trial today and explore the benefits of Sage HR. 



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Written By

Jade Taryn Graham

Jade is the founder & CEO of Inspired Talent.co a people & talent consultancy working with the most innovative early stage companies worldwide. Founder & CCO of Inspired Talent Media Ltd and contributing writer for Sage HR where Jade writes about people, leadership, work/life balance and change.