Talent Edge Weekly - Best of March Issue # 169

Covers 16 of the most popular resources from March. Topics include HR effectiveness, performance management, recruiting, skills, employee wellbeing, contingent workforce, and more.

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

This “Best of March” issue includes 16 of the most popular articles, papers, and reports from the March issues of Talent Edge Weekly. These resources are organized into three themes:

  • HR Effectiveness—Shifting from HR operating model to operating system, 10 dimensions of HR functional excellence, use cases for generative AI in HR, and the impact of the future of work on the HRBP role.

  • Talent and Workplace Practices—Determinants of employee well-being, 17 talent acquisition trends shaping recruiting, the state of performance management practices, assessing leadership potential, and skill development.

  • Workplace and Workforce Trends—The FTC's proposed ban on non-compete agreements, remote work regulations, contingent workforce, and the state of the talent pipeline of women in leadership.

Also included is the 2023 Job Cuts and Layoff Trackerwhich tracks organizations that have announced job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023—and the Chief HR Officer Hire of the Month, which is part of CHROs on the Go.

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Have a great week everyone, and for those of you who will be taking time off this week as part of the holiday—enjoy your time. I look forward to sharing more ideas throughout April!


Brian Heger is an internal human resources practitioner with a Fortune 150 organization and has responsibilities for Strategic Talent and Workforce Planning. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, Twitter, and brianheger.com



Shifting from HR operating model to operating system, 10 dimensions of HR functional excellence, use cases for generative AI in HR, and the impact of the future of work on the HRBP role.

As the various components of the HR function become increasingly interconnected, this article by Josh Bersin provides several ideas for HR leaders to consider. He argues we need to rethink HR as an integrated operating system that focuses on “problems to be solved” rather than a set of “services” or “offerings” or “programs.” Further, to solve these problems, each of the individual areas of HR (e.g., recruiting, talent management, learning, and development, etc.) needs to interconnect in a solution-oriented, real-time way. One illustration (used for this post) shows how the various aspects of HR are interconnected. Another chart shows ten examples of how organizations can shift from a traditional HR operating model to this new HR operating system. For example, one shift is FROM: “HR programs that take quarters or years to design and implement, and roll out as large change management programs" TO “HR programs run by “product managers’ with regular roadmap updates, driven by ‘change agility, not big bang rollouts." Josh also notes how this HR operating system needs to be enabled by “full stack” HR professionals (like full-stack engineers) who are deep in one domain but also have wide expertise in the other domains of HR. This approach has implications for how HR leaders select and develop their HR talent. Also, if you haven't done so already, I recommend that you pick up a copy of Josh's book, Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations (released October, 25, 2022).

Human resources leaders and their teams continue to find ways for the HR function to create value for the business and its stakeholders, such as employees, customers, investors, communities, and boards. But with so many choices on how that value can be created, it raises the question: what factors disproportionately impact HR’s effectiveness and ability to deliver value to its stakeholders? In this new article by Dave Ulrich and his colleagues at The RBL Group, they present research and data that provide answers to this question. While there are many insights in this article—one of them is the identification of 10 dimensions of HR functional excellence that make up the HR value logic, as highlighted in figure 5. For each dimension, they highlight a key question and provide input on how these questions should be answered. One observation is that HR design (dimension #4) is necessary but not a sufficient determinant of HR effectiveness and its ability to deliver value. The article includes a diagnostic (Figure 9) that HR leaders can use to assess their HR organizations’ effectiveness in the 10 dimensions. HR Leaders can use this diagnostic to track current state and progress. Other ideas are discussed.

This new article by Josh Bersin shares seven use cases for how generative AI tools have the potential to revolutionize HR and various talent practices. Generative AI (e.g., ChatGPT) and Large Language Models can index, categorize, and cluster billions of “tokens,” which include words, phrases, numbers, and even code, to find patterns and predictions you can query. These capabilities provide a way to analyze, summarize, and infer meaning from various sources of information. A few HR use cases include 1) creating content for job descriptions, competency guides, learning outlines, and onboarding and transition tools, 2) creating skills models, experience models, and candidate profiles for recruiting, and 3) analyzing and improving pay, salary benchmarks, and rewards. I believe performance management (PM) and feedback are a use case with much potential. Generative AI can scrape vast amounts of information—performance goals, development objectives, feedback surveys, etc.—and take a first pass at organizing information for managers and workers to reflect on. These tools aren’t intended to replace managers’ and employees’ roles in PM but to help augment human capability in delivering more effective PM. And since PM is a core talent practice used across the entire organization, this use case—when used correctly (i.e., must be done ethically, provide proper guidance, manage risks, etc.)—can lead to greater effectiveness and efficiency and unlock capacity. What use cases will you begin to test and experiment with as part of your HR strategy? As a bonus, here is a new article from Boston Consulting Group, The CEO’s Guide to the Generative AI Revolution, which addresses short and long-term considerations for generative AI.

This article provides ideas on how Human Resources Business Partners (HRBP) can create value for organizational stakeholders. It starts with the premise that HRBPs must understand the trends that will shape how work gets done in the future, as well as the key actions HRBPs will take to support the line in operationalizing these trends. The article integrates several trends into seven implications that will guide the work of HRBPs. Among the seven implications are: 1) Fairness and Equity Become Top Priorities, but Hybrid Harms DEI Efforts, 2) Hybrid Drives More Turnover, and 3) Automation Changes the Manager Role. For each implication, recommended actions are offered. For example, as emerging technology automates many managerial tasks, HRBPs will work with managers and leaders to spotlight empathy as a key capability for people leaders to succeed in their roles. Given the updated scope of people leadership, HRBPs will work with Centers of Excellence leads to adjust high-potential employee selection criteria and successor matching to prioritize human leadership skills. Even if you are not an HRBP, the article provides insights into how HRBPs will partner with various organizational stakeholders to deliver value. For a bonus article on increasing the strategic impact of HRBPs, check out Gartner’s article, How to Identify and Overcome Barriers to Strategic HRBP Impact.


Determinants of employee well-being, 17 talent acquisition trends shaping recruiting, the state of performance management practices, assessing leadership potential, and skill development.

Employee well-being (EWB) remains a top priority for many organizations, as noted in my one-page summary on 2023 talent priorities. And while many firms are implementing EWB programs to support the well-being of their workers, this new article brings to light other factors—beyond programs—that influence EWB. Based on a survey of 1,274 US workers across a wide range of industries, regions, education, income levels, and demographics, results show that three determinants disproportionately impact EWB: 1) Leadershiphow leaders behave, 2) Design of workhow you are organized, and 3) Ways of workinghow you get the work done. The survey explored the specific factors within the three work determinants that may negatively impact a worker’s well-being. For example, within the leadership determinant (which refers to anyone responsible for others, such as supervisors), micro- or undermanagement, a lack of recognition, and a lack of empathy and psychological safety are the most detrimental leadership behaviors to EWB. Tactics for improving EWB through leadership development, include: 1) Consider team wellbeing as a core competency to be embedded in leaders’ performance reviews and 2) Collect and share direct-report wellbeing data (such as how much paid time off [PTO] is taken and how many hours are worked) in a dashboard for leader visibility to identify red flags that may indicate possible burnout. As a bonus, I am resharing the HBR article, The Hidden Toll of Microstress, which addresses 14 microstressors—stressors that seem manageable at the moment, but accrue and create ripple effects—that relate to leadership, design of work, and ways of working.

This 29-page LinkedIn Talent Solutions report shares 17 trends and predictions that can inform an organization's talent acquisition and talent management practices. One trend covers internal mobility (IM) (starts on p.21) and how business leaders increasingly recognize the value of filling open roles with internal talent. A few of my thoughts on IM: 1) IM requires managers to be truly open to considering non-traditional talent—those from functions, industries, educational backgrounds, etc. that differ from those typically sought after in a given role. While technology can help identify internal talent, mindset and behavioral shifts are necessary to enable IM. 2) Internal recruiters need to be more involved in recruiting internal talent for open roles. HR models/systems often limit or restrict recruiters' ability to know their organizations' internal talent, skills, career goals, etc. Internal talent is often handled by talent management & learning teams. Greater collaboration between TM, TA, & L&D on internal talent movement can enable IM. 3) Organizations can enable IM by reviewing company guidelines and policies that inadvertently 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). Make needed changes to ensure guidelines facilitate movement, not restrict it. These are just a few of the many considerations for unlocking the potential of internal mobility.

Much has been written about how employees are leaving their jobs in search of an employee value proposition (e.g., pay, more flexible work arrangements) that better aligns with their values and preferences. However, some of these workers have learned that the "grass isn’t always greener" when moving to another company or organization. As many organizations struggle to find talent to meet their needs, there is a significant opportunity for them to re-recruit former employees—often called boomerang employees. To better understand who is most likely to boomerang, when they’re likely to do it, and the factors motivating these workers to take the leap (back), the authors of this article analyzed three million employee records covering more than 120 firms from 2019 to 2022. A few insights include 1) 28% of “new hires” were boomerang hires who had resigned within the last 36 months, 2) boomerang employees are more likely to be managers than non-managers, and 3) most boomerang employees returned to their former employers within 13 months of their departure, suggesting that right after the one-year mark is a common time for employees to transition back. This finding aligns with a Visier analysis showing that 13 months is the average time for rehiring former employees and that the chances of a return drop sharply after former employees have been away for 16 months. The article includes defensive and offensive strategies to help employers capitalize on the boomerang opportunity while mitigating the risks.

Many organizations continue to face challenges in attracting and hiring talent. However, hiring managers often contribute to this challenge by including irrelevant criteria in their job descriptions. One selection criterion that has come under increased scrutiny is academic degrees. As organizations use academic degrees as a filter for identifying talent—particularly for roles where this criterion is less relevant to effective performance—they inadvertently reduce their talent pool, impede internal mobility, and hire inefficiently. This new article outlines a “skills-first” approach to selection that focuses on job candidates’ skills instead of their degree status. It shares practices from firms, such as IBM, Aon, Cleveland Clinic, Delta Air Lines, Bank of America, and Merck, which have been used to emphasize skills and capabilities, not academic credentials. A few tactics include: 1) creating apprenticeships, internships, and training programs for people without college degrees, and 2) helping hiring managers embrace skills-first thinking. As recruiters identify opportunities for shifting to skill-based hiring, one tactic they can use is to review a handful of open jobs they have had difficulty in hiring and determine if those job descriptions are at risk of degree inflation. Ask managers questions such as: Why is having a B.A. necessary for success in this role? Does having an academic degree really show the person has the skills needed to perform this role effectively? As a bonus article, here is another new HBR article, How Important Is a College Degree Compared to Experience?

This newly released report provides insights into the practices organizations use (and don’t use) today in performance management (PM). Based on feedback from over 300 companies worldwide representing all sizes, the practices are organized into five sections: goal setting, coaching and feedback, reviewing, training, and technology. A few findings include: 1) 88% of companies have redesigned their PM in the last four years, and 50% have done so in the previous two years alone. This finding implies that there is still dissatisfaction with PM despite all the investments organizations have made in improving PM over the past several years. 2) 90% of responding organizations use ratings. This finding is especially surprising considering the narrative over the past few years about organizations moving away from ratings. 3) The 5-rating scale remained the dominant choice for ratings, far outpacing the combined users of 3-point and 4-point scales. 4) Nearly 50% of employees are also asked to assign themselves an overall performance rating. 5) Direct reports and peers provide input to results and behaviors at 15% – 20% of companies. 5) Only 17% of organizations force a rating distribution, but more than half engage in some form of rating calibration. 6) 58% of organizations recommend 3 – 5+ performance conversations and 64% of companies link their development planning process to their PM process. Several other findings and insights are provided that can be used as ONE of many inputs for informing an organization’s PM practices.

Many organizations conduct a talent review process—where one goal is to accurately identify (and develop) employees with the greatest leadership potential. However, determining leadership potential can be difficult and is fraught with challenges, ranging from biases to invalid selection criteria. To help organizations more effectively differentiate “potential,” this article by Allan Church distinguishes three categories of potential: 1) General potential. All employees have the potential to grow at some level and should be developed to reach their potential. However, this type of potential should be distinct from more exclusive aspects of potential, including 2) Destination potential, which is tied explicitly to talent management and succession planning efforts. It reflects a preparedness for a targeted senior leadership role or destination. 3) Leadership potential is the clear indicator or predictor of future leadership effectiveness at higher levels in the company. Allan points to a strong body of research showing there are three critical dimensions on which leadership potential criteria are based: 1) Foundational (refers to personality characteristics future leaders must have, derailers to avoid, and “smarts” needed), 2) Growth (refers to indicators of learning orientation, capability for growth, and the drive and energy required at more senior levels), and 3) Career (refers to standard leadership competencies and key functional skills required at higher levels of leadership). For additional information on this 3-component framework and the research behind it, check out the Leadership Potential Blueprint by Allan and Rob Silzer.

This 13-page paper provides ideas on how to drive greater alignment and linkages between an organization’s talent management and mobility teams. It argues that talent mobility—often associated with relocating talent—needs to be discussed in the broader context of the talent management cycle — including selection and long-term career management. However, the limited purview of many HR and mobility teams tends to result in a “relocation exercise” of individual talent rather than part of a broader integrated talent strategy. The paper is organized into three sections: 1) Linking talent management and mobility, 2) The role of the global mobility team: from relocation manager to talent broker, and 3) Addressing barriers to global talent brokering. Each section provides useful insights and practices for enabling internal talent movement and talent mobility. Page 19 (refer to the page numbers in the middle of the page since there are different page numbers on each page) includes a four-component model (shown below) organizations can use to determine the intent of their talent mobility program. Determining the intent is critical since it will inform the practices associated with the program. Page 20 covers different forms of talent mobility, such as internal (between business units) or external moves (gig workers, talent exchange, peer talent pool) and cross-border moves (traditional long-term expatriate assignments, rotator, and commuter assignments). Other ideas are discussed that can help organizations shape their approach to talent mobility.

This 49-page report provides various insights on skills. One section of the report shows how movement between different jobs/roles significantly impacts "skill distance"the share of distinct new skills a worker acquires. Based on an analysis of roughly 4 million real-world job histories, it was found that: the average skill distance per role move/change is 25% or more (i.e., there is a 25% or more gain of new and different skills that workers hadn't deployed or exercised in their previous role). This insight reinforces how movement into new rolesespecially those that push individuals into unfamiliar settings with a steeper learning curve— can disproportionately accelerate skill development. It would be interesting to see empirical research that compares "skills distance" by 'type of development move,' such as short-term projects, assignments, etc. A data-based approach like this could help inform talent management and development investments. Page 15 shows research that has identified 56 foundational skills—across 13 skills groups and four categories — that will help workers thrive in the future of work. The four categories are 1) cognitive, 2) interpersonal, 3) self-leadership, and 4) digital. For example, the cognitive category includes a group of skills called communication—comprised of storytelling, asking the right questions, synthesizing messages, and active listening. Other ideas are discussed.


The FTC's proposed ban on non-compete agreements, remote work regulations, contingent workforce, and the state of the talent pipeline of women in leadership.

Noncompete agreements—which restrict employees from competing with their employer during or after employment—are used in many organizations. These clauses are often designed to prevent an employee from working for a direct competitor, starting their own competing business, working in the same industry, or soliciting the employer’s customers or clients. I previously shared that, on January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule preventing employers from entering into noncompete clauses with workers and requiring employers to rescind existing noncompete clauses. The proposed rule would extend to all workers—whether paid or unpaid— and would require companies to rescind existing noncompete agreements within 180 days of publication of the final rule. This article covers five important considerations for CHROs and their teams as the rule’s timeline progresses. Two considerations are: 1) The ban on noncompete agreements contains no exceptions for senior executives and other highly sensitive employees, 2) The proposed rules would preempt state laws that allow the use of noncompete agreements. While the public initially had 60 days to comment on the rule, the FTC has extended the public comment period to April 19, 2023. The proposed rule has various talent implications—from retention to recruitment—that organizations should consider and factor into their talent plans and strategy.

Leaders continue to make decisions about their firms’ hybrid and remote work policies and practices. While much of this discussion has focused on topics such as the number of days workers are required to be in the office, this new article raises another factor for leaders to consider: complying with a growing set of regulatory frameworks governing remote work. The article submits that the increased utilization of remote work has prompted a surge in new regulatory developments aimed at making sure remote workers, home workers, and teleworkers are protected under existing environmental, health, and safety legislation and guidelines. These developments have even greater implications for global firms that need to deal with different compliance requirements in various jurisdictions and which have different definitions of remote work. For example, in Spain, remote work is defined as a work activity that is performed either at the worker’s home or at another place of their choice at least 30% of the time over three months. Germany draws distinctions between mobile work, which is any work that uses information technology that is performed outside of the business premises, and telework, which is defined as work that is only and permanently performed at the employee’s home. At the same time, the right to disconnect has become a big issue in the European Union, which is seeking to formalize employees’ rights to disengage from work and refrain from work-related electronic communications during non-work hours. Leaders should ensure they factor these jurisdictional nuances into their organizations’ decisions on remote and hybrid work. Other ideas are discussed.

The number of contingent workers (CW)—those performing gig, contract, or freelance work—continues to grow in many organizations. However, firms often lack an integrated approach to managing their CW. This article provides considerations for integrating the management of both employees and external contributors. It draws from a case study on Cisco, which has over 50,000 contingent workers — a substantial part of its workforce ecosystem. One challenge Cisco faced in managing its CW is that its CW strategy sits within the finance organization in the procurement group. Cisco HR is responsible only for matters associated with full- and part-time employees—leading to a fragmented workforce strategy, labor laws and compliance risks, increased costs, inefficient processes, and missed beneficial synergies related to CW. The article describes three initiatives the firm employed to manage its CW more effectively: 1) Governing with a cross-functional steering committee that meets monthly on CW, 2) Changing technology systems, and 3) Emphasizing values, culture, and diversity. Concerning the steering committee—which represents all functional areas, such as finance, HR, IT, and operations—the team provides guidance on such issues as a) which functions can have significant numbers of contingent workers and which should have fewer and b) resolving questions related to CW policies. As a bonus, I am resharing this 43-page report from MIT and Deloitte, which includes additional insights, including how seven talent practices (p.6) must shift to align with this workforce ecosystem approach comprised of internal and external contributors.

This new 38-page report provides insights into the current state of women in leadership. It notes that many organizations are implementing programs to help women advance their careers, such as providing career development planning specific to women’s needs, requiring job succession plans to include women candidates, and holding senior management accountable for gender equity with performance metrics. However, based on a global survey of over 2,500 organizations, the report shows that while gender parity “feels” close, it’s getting farther away. For example, in examining the pipeline of current and future women leaders, we see some growth at both ends. 1) Although the percentage of women serving in C-Suite and board positions has increased (from 10% and 8%, respectively, in 2021 to 12% for both in 2023), as has the percentage of women in junior professional/specialist roles, which grew from 35% in 2021 to 40% in 2023….2) the remaining percentage of women in the rest of the pipeline has hollowed out, worsening since the pandemic. The report notes that women have massively exited the workforce from mid-level leadership tiers that feed the C-Suites and boards of tomorrow. Stated differently, the percentage of women in middle management dropped from 28% in 2019 to 23% in 2023, while the percentage of women in senior management dropped from 25% to 19%. Page 23 begins a section on specific actions organizations can take to increase their pipeline of current and future women leaders. As a supplement to this report, I am resharing the 2022 Women in the Workplace Report by Lean In and McKinsey, which includes additional practices that support the advancement and retention of women in leadership.


Here you can see the latest updates from a segment of organizations that have announced job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023. Recruiters, search firms, and hiring managers can use this resource to identify opportunities for recruiting talent from organizations affected by layoffs. A few firms that announced job cuts this past week are Electronic Arts (EA), Glassdoor, and Roku.


As part of CHROs on the Go  a digital platform subscription that provides the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to stay informed about hires, promotions, and resignations in the Chief Human Resources Officer role 97 new CHRO announcements have been posted on the platform in March.

The CHRO Hire of March is:

  • The Walt Disney Company (BURBANK, CALIFORNIA) [NYSE:DIS] has promoted Sonia Coleman to Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, effective April 8. She will report to Robert A. Iger, Chief Executive Officer and she succeeds Paul Richardson, who is leaving the company after more than 15 years at Disney. Coleman most recently served as SVP, Human Resources for Disney Entertainment and ESPN. Prior to that, she served as SVP, Human Resources for Disney General Entertainment from 2017. Coleman joined Disney in 2008 as Vice President, Human Resources, Disney Consumer Products. READ MORE

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