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A national survey finds that 70% of business leaders are optimistic about revenue increases in 2023, even though their businesses continue to be challenged by the economy, regulatory burdens, supply chain disruptions and staffing difficulties.

The Paychex 5th Annual Priorities for Business Leaders report released Jan. 18 surveyed 450 business leaders across the U.S. whose companies employed five to 500 workers to identify the issues that are top of mind in today’s complicated economic, regulatory and labor environment.

According to the survey, 70% of business leaders said they anticipate their revenue to increase year-over-year. However, they also reported that the challenges of the past three years have contributed to ongoing stress. The survey found that:

  • Inflation (72%) is the number one business concern regardless of company size, followed by the economy (57%) and interest rates (44%).
  • Staffing (46%) is the top operational challenge, in addition to the supply chain (38%) and keeping tech current (33%).
  • Roughly half of the leaders of businesses with 10-500 employees expect attracting and retaining top talent to become more challenging in the next 12 months, with employee development, operational efficiencies, and managing the hiring process also increasingly challenging.
  • 23% of leaders find it extremely or very challenging to maintain legal or regulatory compliance. One in four (25%) of business leaders expect this to be more challenging in the year ahead.

“The 2023 survey results confirmed that access to funds due to economic factors will continue to challenge business and HR leaders as they head into the new year,” said Maureen Lally, vice president of marketing at Paychex.

Survey respondents said they plan to optimize hiring and retention strategies in the coming year. To boost retention, companies say they will:

  • Increase pay (45%)
  • Enact policies that encourage healthier work-life balance among employees (36%)
  • Improve their benefits offerings (35%)

The business leaders surveyed also said they plan to prioritize communication, offer opportunities for skill development, invest in new technology, and conduct stay interviews to retain top performers in 2023.