Best of January - Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #159

Covers 12 of the most popular resources from January. Topics range 2023 job cuts, talent disruptions and trends, employee value proposition, internal mobility, HR operating models, and more.

Welcome to this issue of Talent Edge Weekly bringing together the best insights about work, the workplace, and the workforce. Read by human resources practitioners, business leaders, and others interested in the world of work.

As we start the month of February, I wanted to share this “Best of January” issue of the Talent Edge Weekly newsletter—which includes the 12 most popular articles, reports, and resources from January.

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Have a great week, and I look forward to sharing more ideas with you in February!


Brian Heger is a human resources practitioner with a Fortune 150 organization and has responsibilities for Strategic Talent and Workforce Planning. To connect with Brian on Linkedin, click here.


The last few weeks have ushered in several announcements about layoffs and job cuts in many organizations. And while the technology industry remains among the hardest hit, organizations across various industries have announced layoffs. Companies that have received headlines include Amazon, Capital One, Dow Inc. Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, PayPal, SAP, and Stitch Fix, to name a few. As organizations increasingly communicate layoffs within their workforce, I have created this tracker to help HR leaders and recruiting teams to stay informed about organizations that have announced job cuts and layoffs since the start of the year. The tracker includes a brief description of sample organizations' announcements and a link to the source announcement. Information is sorted by the date of the announcement, starting with the most recent. You can change the sorting into different views (e.g., show company names in alpha order, etc.) by using the drop-down functionality in those columns. While layoffs are taking place in several organizations, other organizations continue to add jobs and recruit talent. To that end, recruiters that are hiring can use this resource to identify talent within organizations affected by layoffs. I will periodically update this tracker as new information about company layoffs and job cuts becomes available, so check back occasionally for updates.

Deloitte has just released its 2023 Global Human Capital Trends report—its annual analysis of key trends reshaping work, the workforce, and the workplace. The report is based on survey feedback from over 10,000 business and HR leaders across every industry and 105 countries. The insights are also informed by executive interviews. A key theme is that the boundaries that have traditionally governed the rules of work— the way jobs are organized, where work happens, and who qualifies for specific roles — are falling away. The fading of these boundaries provides organizations with an enormous opportunity to experiment with various practices that have the potential to deliver new forms of value. The report, which in previous years has been provided as a robust PDF, explores these themes and supporting practices through several individual articles that address topics such as a) experimenting with using skills, not jobs, as the baseline for how workforce decisions are made, b) redefining the concept of the workplace as a physical space, and c) adapting talent strategies and practices to reflect the entire workforce ecosystem, which is increasingly comprised of nontraditional workers. This resource provides practical ideas for unlocking value for organizations— and their various stakeholders—through talent, workforce, and leadership. In case you missed it, here is my one-page summary of 2023 Workforce and HR priorities according to seven resources.

In this new report, Josh Bersin covers 15 trends and disruptions in the world of work that all HR leaders and professionals need to keep in mind as the year progresses. The trends are organized into three categories and provide various insights for HR teams to leverage for their strategic planning. The three categories and topics are: 1) Work: changing jobs, skills, and career models; skills-based approaches; and hybrid work as a design challenge. 2) Workforce: people sustainability as the future of DEI; new leadership models; and a balance of productivity and wellbeing. 3) HR: Reinvented learning, recruiting, pay, and performance approaches; an emerging people analytics and HR tech landscape, and “systemic HR” as the new operating HR model. Regarding the trends 7) new models of performance management will take hold, and 8) organizations will seriously revisit their pay and rewards strategies), I would add that as work becomes more project-based, it might require the cadence of performance feedback, evaluation, and rewards to align with the shorter duration of project cycles. This approach—which can strengthen the connection between performance evaluations and compensation—is what Gartner has referred to as “project-to-project performance management” (see 6 Predictions for the Future of Performance Management). To access the Bersin report, you must download it from their website. To supplement the report, here is a 60-minute webinar that Josh conducted on January 18th, where he covers insights from the report.

Many HR leaders continue to help build their organizations’ capability in detecting and acting on workforce-related risks. As pointed out in the new article Elevating the Focus on Human Risk—which is part of the 2023 Deloitte Human Capital Report—workforce risk refers to the potential risks that human workers pose to the business, such as the financial and operational impacts caused by worker turnover, difficulty acquiring and retaining talent, and compliance with regulations. As leaders expand their view of workforce risks beyond these areas, this 85-page MercerMarsh Benefits report provides ideas. While I shared a previous version of this report, this new version dives deeper into 25 people-related risks that are organized into five main pillars. 1) Health and Safety (e.g., workforce exhaustion), 2) Governance and financial (e.g., pension financial exposure), 3) Accelerated digitization (e.g., cybersecurity and data privacy, HR tech obsolescence), 4) Talent practices (e.g., succession and key person risk), 5) Environmental and social (e.g., DEI, social unrest). Page 7 shows the framework for the five pillars and 25 people-risks. Each section provides a set of actions organizations can take to manage risks most relevant to their business. To supplement this report, you can check out MercerMarsh’s 1-hour webcast, where they discuss aspects of the report.

This newly published 61-page report provides best practices to help organizations deliver diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices that yield the most significant, scalable, quantifiable, and sustained impact. The report identifies five success factors common across DEI efforts. While there are too many insights to cover here, the five success factors—illustrated on page 11 — are (1) a nuanced understanding of the root causes of why DEI isn’t advancing; (2) a meaningful definition of success; (3) accountable and invested business leaders; (4) a solution designed for its specific context; and (5) rigorous tracking and course correction. Given there is no one size fits all solution for advancing DEI, the report provides many examples of how different organizations are advancing DEI. To supplement this report, here are two previously shared reports on DEI 1) a 50-page report by the Center for Employment Equity that provides DEI research-based strategies and 2) a 62-page report by the Wharton School of Business that examines the relationship between seven categories of DEI practices and twelve workplace outcomes (e.g., burnout).

This article provides five HR operating models based on interviews with over 100 chief human resources officers (CHROs) and senior people leaders from global multinational businesses. While Exhibit 2 shows the details of each model, the five models are: 1) Ulrich+, 2) Agile, 3) EX Driven, 4) Leader-led, and 5) Machine-powered. As one example, the defining features of the Agile Model include: a) the number of HRBPs is reduced, with a focus on management advice and organizational development, b) the size and number of CoEs are reduced, with a focus on deep expertise and critical topics, and c) end-to-end responsibility manifests in two ways: flow-to-work pools and task-to-team logic. When asked which two models best fit their HR operating model, 48% of people leaders selected Ulrich+, 47% EX-driven, 36% leader-led, 31% agile, and 6% machine-powered. Exhibit 3 provides guidance on which model best fits organizations based on eight different innovation shifts. As a bonus, I am resharing this resource by Egon Zehnder, which offers five alternatives and/or variations to the three-component model adopted by many HR organizations: HR Business Partnering, Centers of Expertise, and HR Operations or Shared Services. The five models are determined by a 2x2 matrix: 1) Agility—the ability to adapt and evolve people and processes in unexpected or fast-changing times and 2) the level of change or transformation an organization is willing to accept. HR leaders can refer to both resources as they evolve their HR model.

Much has been shared about the HR priorities that HR teams will focus on in 2023 and beyond. And while priorities are essential to establishing a focus on what work will be done, determining how the work will be delivered and by whom is as critical; an HR operating model brings each of these areas into sharper focus. In this article by Marc Effron, he provides five questions that help inform the answers to HR operating model decisions. These questions include: 1) What do we do, and why do we do it?, 2) What are our guiding principles to operationalize HR, 3) What is the design of HR?, 4) How will work get done? 5) How will we know if we’re successfully executing the HR Operating Model? Each of the five questions has follow-up questions to better inform operating model decisions. The article includes a supplement PDF showing a portion example of an HR Operating Model document. As HR leaders consider various operating models (once they have answered the questions), this bonus article from Gartner provides ideas on a shared services model that helps to separate the delivery of operational and strategic HR work. Including this additional resource is intended to provide one example (there are many) of an HR operating model. It does not suggest that this model is preferred or will work best in all organizations. HR leaders can use the questions from Marc’s article to determine the best model for their organizations.

As HR and business leaders reevaluate their organizations’ employee value proposition (EVP) to ensure competitiveness, this new article by Amy C. Edmondson and Mark Mortensen provides ideas to consider. They start by presenting four components of an EVP: 1) Material offerings (e.g., compensation, physical office space, location, commuting subsidies, computer equipment, flexibility, schedules, and perks. 2) Opportunities to develop and grow (e.g., helping employees gain new skills and become more valuable in the labor market through job rotations, training, etc.), 3) Connection and community(e.g., all the benefits that come from being part of a larger group and which foster a sense of belonging), 4) Meaning and purpose(e.g., gets to the core of why employees do the work they do). While the material aspects of the EVP are top of mind for employees and recruits at the moment, the authors argue material offerings are easy for competitors to imitate, and their impact on employee retention is the least enduring. The authors offer ideas for strengthening the EVP by balancing material offerings with growth opportunities, connection and community, and meaning and purpose. Integrating the four components taps into a) both short and long-term EVP attributes and b) attributes focused on both the individual and collective organization. As a bonus, I am resharing my one-page summary on employee values, preferences, and expectations according to four sources (LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Bain & Company, Mercer, and McKinsey).

Internal mobility (IM)— the movement of employees across different roles and opportunities within the same organization — is a critical component of effective talent management. And while technology (e.g., internal talent marketplace platforms, etc.) is an enabler of IM, organizations often approach IM as a technology initiative and give less attention to the non-technological components that are critical to IM. Last week, I made a post on LinkedIn that showed examples of six non-technological barriers that detract from IM. These barriers range from policies that restrict internal movement(e.g., the employee must be in a role for a certain amount of time before moving to another internal role or opportunity) to narrow and irrelevant selection criteria(e.g., managers include criteria that are too specific or not relevant to success in the role). As a supplement to that post, this one-page editable template provides talent practitioners with an easy way to identify if the six non-technological IM barriers exist in their organizations. For each of the six barriers listed in column 1, a checkmark can be placed in column 2 if the barrier exists to a moderate or significant extent. Clicking the box will automatically insert a check mark. For barriers that were checked, column 3 can be used to identify a few actions the organization can take in response. While there are other non-technological barriers to IM, this template can help jumpstart discussions that unlock the potential of an organization's internal mobility practices.

This 13-page paper provides insights and actions for HR leaders and their teams to consider in response to nine workforce trends outlined by Gartner. One trend is how concerns about algorithmic bias in AI-based recruiting tech are calling for more transparency in how organizations use these tools. Fueling this trend are various legislation, such as one in New York City that went into effect on January 1, 2023. The rule restricts New York City employers from using AI in employment decision-making processes unless they take several specific and affirmative steps before doing so, including a bias audit of the tool. While this law went into effect on January 1, the city deferred enforcement until April 15, 2023. Another example is The European Union, which is also considering legislation protecting citizens against harm caused by AI systems. Since AI in HR extends beyond recruiting, organizations would benefit from developing a holistic strategy for the responsible use of AI across all talent practices. With that in mind, here are three resources to guide these efforts: 1)A 59-page toolkit by the World Economic Forum that provides ideas to promote the responsible use of HR-based AI tools, 2) The Forbes article— 2023 Will be the Year of AI Ethics Legislation Acceleration, and 3) The HBR article, When — and Why — You Should Explain How Your AI Works.

Many organizations desire to shift to skills-based talent practices—where talent practices (e.g., workforce planning, hiring, learning, etc.) are based on skills rather than just jobs. However, research by Deloitte shows that fewer than one in five organizations have successfully adopted skills-based talent practices to a significant extent. To make meaningful progress toward skills-based talent management, organizations must experiment with practical approaches and different use cases. One practical use case is redeploying internal workers affected by layoffs to other business areas where there is work demand. And while an obvious choice for redeployment is to consider these impacted employees for open jobs, another option is for organizations to a) review the open jobs they are currently recruiting for, b) determine if those jobs can be deconstructed into projects and tasks, c) identify the skills needed to perform those tasks and projects, d) identify workers with the skills and desire to perform that work, and e) redeploy qualified talent to those areas. This one-page editable worksheet can be used to help jumpstart an organization's thinking on this topic. Bonus articles related to this topic are included from thought leaders: Dave Ulrich; John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan; Susan Cantrell and Michael Griffiths.

HR teams are well underway in executing their organizations’ 2023 talent priorities. However, priorities can change quickly as business needs and circumstances shift. As HR leaders and their teams face the decision to reprioritize talent initiatives throughout the year, this article provides a framework for making these choices. Page 8 shows a Talent Initiative Prioritization Matrix, which helps HR teams prioritize talent initiatives based on two dimensions: 1) The potential business impact of the talent initiative on creating organizational value. 2) Complexity and investment — the level of coordination and support required (complexity) and the degree to which the initiative requires resources or adjustments to team responsibilities (investment). Using these dimensions, initiatives can be separated into four categories: 1) Actionable Initiatives prioritized for execution and given preference for resource allocation.2) Priority Initiativesprioritized based on the availability of resources (people, money, time).3) Initiatives for Careful Considerationrequire careful consideration for timing and sequencing based on capacity to complete the work. 4) Parking Lot Initiativesshould be deprioritized or put in the parking lot for future consideration. In case you missed it from December, here is my one-page summary of 2023 Workforce and HR priorities according to seven sources.


As part of CHROs on the Go - a subscription that provides the easiest way to stay informed about hires, promotions, and resignations in the Chief Human Resources Officer role 127 new CHRO announcements have been posted on the platform in January. The CHRO appointment of the month is:

  • Stanley Black & Decker (NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT) [NYSE: SWK] announced the appointment of John T. Lucas to SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer. Lucas has more than 35 years of human resources experience, serving for the last 10 years as the most senior HR executive for global multinational companies. Lucas was most recently the founder of True North Human Capital Consulting, LLC.

To learn how to gain access to all 127 detailed Chief Human Resources Officer announcements from January and +2000 archived announcements, visit CHROs on the Go.

If you are already a member of CHROs on the Go, you can log in to access all announcements and site functionality.


Through this one-question survey, let me know: what talent, workplace, and workforce questions are you trying to answer? (e.g., what practices are companies using to shift to skills-based workforce planning?) Your responses will help guide the content of future issues of Talent Edge Weekly!

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