What 2023 will bring to business this year is still a great mystery, but CEOs all over the country seem to have a similar focus. Let’s look at what CEOs are focused on in 2023.

According to a Gartner survey of 400 senior business leaders, CEOs’ top priorities for 2022-23 include workforce issues, inflation and sustainability practices. This is a shift in priorities from years past. Gartner says it hasn’t seen such a sharp change in leadership priorities since 2010, after the financial crisis.

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It only makes sense that CEOs’ priorities have changed after this decade’s own set of crises: a global pandemic, continuing climate incidents, war and tension that is likely to set off a recession, and a post-pandemic and millennial workforce unwilling to settle for the employee status quo.

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General Counsel Services

What CEOs are focused on in 2023

Workforce Issues

Covid set off a domino effect of change, shake-up and transition in the workforce.

  • Many companies went to full-time remote work in 2020, and today 16% of companies are now fully remote, changing the way employees operate and changing their expectations of how flexible their jobs can be.
  • We saw a mass exodus of workers in The Great Resignation starting in early 2021 when over 47 million employees voluntarily exited their jobs.
  • Quiet quitting” became a trend in 2022–a phrase that describes those who are committed to doing the bare minimum at work, no longer willing to hustle, work long hours or do jobs above their pay grade.
  • Racial tension led to an awakening in our nation and a demand for a more diverse and inclusive work environment.

CEOs cannot simply turn a blind eye to their workforce issues this year. They must respond.


Curt Steinhorst, founder and CEO of Focuswise, says CEOs must seek clarity rather than certainty. Times are uncertain. The last three years have proved this. Rather than seeking to instill certainty in your teams, seek to communicate clearly about goals and expectations and even the unknowns.

Steinhorst also stresses the importance of self-awareness in CEOs today. Emotional intelligence is crucial in the workplace, especially if you’re putting together diversity and inclusion initiatives. You must be aware of your own potential blind spots. Employees today appreciate a self-aware leader who can lead with strength and empathy.


According to Gartner, 62% of CEOs reported in 4Q21 that they expected inflation to be a “persistent or long-term” concern. While inflation is still high (around 6.41% as of early 2023), it has dipped in the last months. However, the outlook is still uncertain and affecting businesses and employees at a high rate.

In 2023, CEOs will need to weather the systemic cycle of inflation, says Stephen Miles of The Miles Group. The shock of inflation might be over, but buyers are still waiting to feel the effects. Their spending will eventually slow down and with it, your business. Those who braced for inflation early by getting ahead and raising prices will fare the best, claims Miles. But he also points out that adversity is often the birth of invention, and many CEOs may thrive through tough times, just as we saw many do in the first year of the pandemic.


More CEOs are looking to implement environmentally friendly practices in their companies. According to the Gartner survey, 9% of CEOs reported sustainability as a top priority in 2023. While that may not seem like a high percentage, Gartner points out “this is the first time the category has ever cracked the top 10 and reflects a very significant increase in interest.”

In the face of an impending recession, it’s tempting to make cuts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts and environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, but according to the Harvard Business Review, this is not the year to do so.

As they report, a recent KPMG survey revealed that 70% of CEOs said ESG improved their financial performance. Keeping CSR and ESG as priorities this year even during a turbulent time will serve you well in the long run. Consumers are more conscious than ever of companies’ loyalty to the environment and whether they are transparent about that loyalty. The workforce wants to work for employers that have purpose and passion and stick to their promises. And investors and shareholders want to know your company is upholding its promises and not letting the public down.

Why you need General Counsel Services in 2023

Whatever your priorities are for 2023, Phillips Kaiser is here to support you. Our General Counsel Services are an effective and affordable alternative to in-house legal counsel or high law firm retainers during a year you are likely looking to cut costs. We get to know the ins and outs of your company, your goals and your priorities.

Implementing new ESG and CSR efforts? We can provide legal support to ensure those strategies are implemented smoothly.

Looking to add diversity to your workforce? We specialize in diversity and inclusion efforts and can guide you in the process.

We’ve seen our clients rise above a global pandemic, supply chain issues and global tensions. Though you’re facing similar challenges this year, with the right legal team, legal support and guidance, you and your company can be equipped for a successful 2023.