Talent Edge Weekly - Best of March Issue #230

Here are 15 of the most popular HR, talent, and future of work articles and resources from March.


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This special Best of March issue brings you 15 of the most popular articles and resources from the March issues of Talent Edge Weekly. The resources are categorized into three sections:

  1. Workplace Trends. Return-to-office updates, 2024 Mercer talent trends, future of recruiting, and workplace learning.

  2. Talent and Workplace Practices. Hybrid work assessment, hybrid work case study, 24 talent questions, talent acquisition and workforce planning, recruiting older workers, ways of working, fair pay, and corporate culture.

  3. AI in HR. Prioritizing 20 use cases for AI in HR, HR’s role in enabling an AI-empowered culture, and AI adoption in talent acquisition.

This issue also includes news about company layoffs and select highlights of Chief HR Officers who were hired or promoted in March.

Since this issue has much more content than the regular weekly issue, you can choose to view an abridged version HERE, which only includes links and a brief description of the 15 resources.

But if you are ready for a deep dive, let’s jump in. ⬇️



I share updates on a segment of organizations that have announced changes to their return-to-office guidance.

A few weeks ago, I shared my one-page cheat sheet of seven organizations that recently announced updates to their return-to-office (RTO) mandates. A few announcements included: Dell (requiring employees to work on-site for at least 39 days a quarter, regardless of their location), Deutsche Bank (workers are no longer able to work from home on Fridays and Mondays), and UPS (corporate employees will move from a three-day hybrid arrangement to a five-day in-office workweek starting March 4). I've expanded the document to encompass a total of eleven organizations, incorporating new additions such as US Bank, which has informed its workers that they must be in the office at least three days a week and that their adherence to the mandate will be factored into their performance evaluation. L’Oréal is requiring its 87,000 employees to be in the office two Fridays every month—in addition to the three other days workers must be in the office every week. Rockstar Games, the American video game publisher of games such as ‘Grand Theft Auto’ is mandating employees to return to the office five days a week starting in April due to productivity and security concerns. The document has links to the source articles.


A 68-page report covering a range of workplace topics, such as worker preferences, productivity, and AI in the workplace.

Mercer recently released its 2024 Global Talent Trends report, sharing insights from over 12,200 C-suite executives, HR leaders, employees, and investors across 17 geographies and 16 industries. This comprehensive 68-page report explores various topics, including worker preferences, productivity, and AI in the workplace. One particularly notable insight is the responses collected from employees when asked about factors hindering their productivity at work. As illustrated in Figure 6, the top two primary concerns were "too much busy work—tasks that lack value" and "too many interruptions/not enough thinking time." To address these challenges, I suggest that leaders and teams pose several questions at their next team meeting: 1) Which work tasks should we stop immediately due to their lack of value relative to organizational priorities? 2) How are our "ways of working," such as excessive decision-making meetings, negatively impacting our performance, productivity, and ability to engage in "deep work?" 3) For crucial tasks supporting our priorities, where can we leverage AI to enhance efficiency and effectiveness? By addressing these initial questions, organizations can begin to identify strategies to mitigate factors detracting from employee productivity and well-being.


A new report addressing 6 areas impacting recruiting priorities, such as skill-based hiring, AI, and quality of hire.

This new LinkedIn report delves into six predictions shaping recruiting and talent acquisition in 2024 and beyond. Informed by insights from thousands of recruiting professionals, talent leaders, and vast LinkedIn data, these predictions span various themes, including AI in recruitment, skill-based hiring, and the growing focus on quality of hire (QoH)currently ranking as the top priority objective for recruiting professionals in 2024. However, due to the historical challenge of tracking and measuring QoH, recruiting teams are redefining QoH metrics by considering factors such as job performance, team fit, culture alignment, productivity, and retention. One observation I have regarding these metrics is that a few of them rely heavily on hiring managers' perceptions and assessments, primarily focused on the near-term aspect of an incumbent’s current role. Considering the swiftly changing skills landscape and organizations’ heightened focus on long-term internal mobility and talent movement, I suggest also incorporating longer-term QoH measures. These could include evaluating an employee’s potential for assuming future roles and work opportunities within the organization and developing skills critical to the organization’s future. Embracing this longer-term perspective on QoH will necessitate looking beyond hiring managers' viewpoints and integrating diverse sources of talent data throughout an employee’s tenure. How does your organization plan to measure QoH in 2024 and beyond?


A new 39-page report addressing several workplace learning priorities, ranging from career development to internal mobility.

As many organizations continue to invest in learning and development (L&D) initiatives, LinkedIn’s newly released 2024 Workplace Learning report provides several insights to consider. The 39-page report, based on survey feedback from 1,636 L&D and HR professionals with L&D responsibilities who influence budget decisions, covers topics such as AI’s impact on L&D and skills development, to name a few. One highlight is the rise of helping employees develop their careers from the ninth to the fourth position on the list of L&D's top priorities. One way organizations are supporting career development is by enabling greater internal mobility (IM). However, only 1 in 5 employees report having confidence in their ability to make an internal move in their organization. As I have shared many times previously, I believe technology (e.g., internal talent marketplace platforms) is an impactful way to drive IM at scale. However, it is critical for organizations to also address non-tech barriers to IM, such as 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) and talent hoarding (e.g., where managers want to keep their top performers and limit their ability to move anywhere else in the company). With this in mind, I am resharing my one-page editable template of six non-technological IM barriers that exist in organizations. While there are other non-tech barriers to IM, this template can help jumpstart an organization’s thinking on this topic.

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Hybrid work assessment, hybrid work case study, 24 talent questions, talent acquisition and workforce planning, recruiting older workers, ways of working, fair pay, and corporate culture.


A one-page flowchart to determine a role’s feasibility for hybrid work.

Many leaders continue to make decisions about hybrid, remote, and flexible work arrangements within their organizations. As leaders make these decisions, it’s essential that they approach them thoughtfully, considering various factors, such as the nature of specific roles and jobs. To aid in this process, CIPD has introduced a new one-page flowchart designed to facilitate a critical assessment of a role's suitability for hybrid work. It helps to identify whether a role might mostly fit one of three scenarios: 1) Work activities that are undertaken with other people at the same time and place. Such roles may not permit hybrid working or only a minority of time spent working remotely. 2) Activities that are performed with other people at the same time but that can be done in person or remotely. Such roles may be able to undertake some hybrid or remote working. 3) Activities that are largely independent and can be undertaken anywhere or at any time. These roles may permit a significant amount of remote work. The flowchart incorporates clarifying questions to aid in decision-making. Additionally, I am resharing a McKinsey Global Institute article, What’s Next for Remote Work: An Analysis of 2,000 Tasks, 800 Jobs, and Nine Countries. 


Shares recommendations for unlocking the potential of hybrid work based on learnings from Cisco’s Future of Work Study.

Earlier this month, Kelly Jones, Cisco’s Chief People Officer, shared highlights from Cisco’s Future of Work Study—a study based on three years of data from over 13,000 Cisco employees. The study aimed to understand various aspects of the employee experience, spanning from pre-pandemic times to the pandemic era, office reopening, and beyond. It assisted Cisco in addressing three crucial questions: 1) How can we support people’s well-being while ensuring productivity? 2) How do we provide the desired flexibility to individuals while maintaining accountability? 3) How can people work from any location, time zone, and still stay connected? The findings were distilled into five principles, which are shown in the image of this post. Two principles emphasize granting employees the flexibility to choose their work locations—whether remote or in the office—and establishing in-office requirements based on meaningful moments rather than a fixed number of days. As noted in the article, Cisco’s philosophy is thatthe office should be a magnet, not a mandate," urging periodic gatherings for specific reasons. When requiring employees to be in the office, “prioritize quality over quantity,” clearly communicating goals and emphasizing tasks better suited for the office environment. Aside from the new LinkedIn article, there is also a white paper and a PDF presentation. As a bonus, I am resharing Microsoft WorkLab's article on identifying the moments that matter most for in-person interactions.


My editable PDF with questions that can help uncover insights about aspects of an organization’s talent management.

HR leaders and their teams continue to be called upon to communicate aspects of their workforce strategy and talent initiatives. This editable PDF includes questions that can stimulate thinking and conversations that inform the narrative for a few of those areas. Each slide includes three starter questions for eight talent areas. A few examples include: 1) Talent Strategy: What are the key components of our talent strategy over the next 2-3 years? Where are we “placing our bets?” 2) Recruiting: What is the strength of our employment brand among prospective employees? 3) Internal Mobility: Which lines of business or managers are the best developers of talent as evidenced by promotions, transfers, etc. out of their departments? 4) Employee Retention: What are the main reasons for employee turnover? How does this vary by business unit or employee segment? 5) Workforce and Talent Risks: Where do we have the most difficulty in finding and attracting workers with the necessary skills? The questions in this PDF are simply examples. Use them as a starting point for determining the questions most important for your organization.


Offers tactics for how workforce planning and talent acquisition professionals can partner to drive more effective workforce planning.

Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a priority for many leaders, but its implementation poses challenges for numerous organizations. A recent 28-page report by BCG and WFPMA evaluating 32 HR and talent practices revealed that SWP ranks second out of 32 HR and talent practices with the most substantial gap between its importance and the organizations’ capability to execute it effectively. One opportunity for closing this gap is strengthening the collaboration and synergies between SWP and talent acquisition (TA) practitioners in organizations. As noted in this 15-page paper, TA is the HR function responsible for finding and hiring new workers, while SWP is the process that identifies the right mix of talent needed to achieve future organizational goals. While TA professionals have much to contribute to this process, surprisingly, they are not always included. It’s essential that TA play an active role in SWP so organizations can reap the benefits of this powerful partnership. One suggestion is providing TA with access to SWP data, which is often “guarded” and not accessible to TA—limiting their ability to contribute to SWP. Another suggestion is for Chief HR Officers to remove barriers to the structural integration of SWP and TA functions, such as aligning them under common leadership. The paper delves into other ideas, including a diagnostic (Figure 2) that helps organizations assess their SWP maturity and outline steps for progress.


Provides strategies for recruiting older workers who are willing to work during “retirement.”

Many organizations continue to struggle to find workers to meet organizational talent needs. However, there is a massive group of ‘hidden workers’—those with the desire and skills to make invaluable contributions to organizations— that often get overlooked for work opportunities. This new HBR article addresses one of those segments: older workers. It notes that many older individuals are willing to continue working, with nearly 60% receptive to working during the traditional retirement age. However, to tap into this talent pool, many employers must first dispel misconceptions about older workers that often prevent them from being hired, such as "older people don't learn as fast or struggle with new technology." The article shares various strategies to tap into this talent pool, including phased retirement programs, refresher courses, and recruitment through retiree networks. As a bonus resource, I am resharing this 17-page paper by the Burning Glass Institute and AARP, A Playbook for the Inclusive Hiring of Later-Career Workers. It addresses solutions to current recruiting and screening practices that often disadvantage older workers, including age-biased language in job descriptions, such as ‘digital native,’ ‘recent graduate, or ‘maximum years of experience,’ which can exclude many qualified older workers from consideration.


AT&T’s CTO shares how addressing seemingly minor frustrations with tools, processes, and systems can have a significant impact on ways of working and organizational outcomes.

This new article by Jeremy Legg, Chief Technology Officer for AT&T, has several insights that can prompt leaders and organizations to identify small opportunities—that, when addressed collectively—can have a significant impact on ways of working and organizational outcomes. Jeremy discusses how AT&T embarked on ‘Project Raindrop’ due to an annual employee survey that revealed employees’ frustration with the company’s tools, processes, and systems. The raindrop metaphor is described as follows: A raindrop is an annoying policy, an outdated process, or a tool that’s no longer useful — anything that hinders rather than helps you and your organization move forward. One or two of these may be tedious but bearable; pool enough of them, however, and a day at work can make people feel as if they’re drowning in bureaucracy. Every raindrop wastes time, energy, and/or money. Fixing or getting rid of such raindrops has saved AT&T 3.6 million hours over the past three and a half years and helped the company avoid more than $230 million in costs. Jeremy shares three ways organizations might be able to replicate AT&T’s process, which is informal, driven by employees, and supported by leadership. One question to ask at your next team meeting: What are the ‘raindrops’ in our direct control that can help solve and address larger organizational issues?


Shares findings and recommendations from an analysis on the effects of hiring a higher-paid coworker on existing employees.

Fair pay continues to rise in importance as a topic of interest for both employees and HR leaders. According to Mercer’s 2024 Global Talent Trends Report (see p. 28), employees ranked fair pay as the second most important of 20 factors influencing their decision to stay with their organization; similarly, HR leaders ranked fair pay as the second most influential factor. With pay transparency regulations in many states and localities requiring employers to disclose wage scale or salary range in job advertisements, disparities in pay become more evident, presenting several implications for organizations. This article explores one of those implications by examining how likely employees were to resign after hiring a higher-paid coworker, as well as the extent to which getting a pay raise might reduce their chances of resigning. One finding is that: employees whose pay was increased soon after the addition of a higher-paid coworker tended to stay in their jobs much longer, whereas those who had to wait for a raise were more likely to quit; high performers were disproportionately represented among resigning employees. The authors present strategies for mitigating these risks, aiming to provide both new hires and existing employees fair pay. As a bonus, I am resharing this 36-page paper by ADP Research Institute on pay transparency. Page 10 shows how workers’ perception of pay equity influences their willingness to leave their organization.


Explores the perspectives of 1,348 executives on multiple aspects of corporate culture within their firms.

Many leaders recognize the vital role of organizational culture in enabling organizational success. But how effective are organizations at utilizing their culture as a source of competitive advantage? This article explores the perspectives of 1,348 chief executives and financial officers on multiple aspects of corporate culture within their firms. The findings are based on survey data and in-depth interviews with executives representing over 20% of the US equity market capitalization. While there are too many insights from this paper to cite here, one notable finding is executives' indication of a lack of alignment between companies' stated values and the actual norms within their organizations. This inconsistency may manifest in several ways, such as hiring or promoting individuals who do not embody the organization's values or employees feeling hesitant to express their honest opinions despite the organization's emphasis on open communications and transparency. This article offers valuable insights for leadership teams as they assess the alignment of their organization's professed values with actual workplace practices and behaviors, including decisions on remote work, promotion criteria, reward allocation, and fostering innovation. Additionally, a PDF version is available for further reference.


Prioritizing 20 use cases for AI in HR, HR’s role in enabling an AI-empowered culture, and AI adoption in talent acquisition.


Provides a framework for prioritizing 20 use cases for AI in HR. I share a bonus resource.

This Gartner article provides a framework for evaluating and prioritizing AI use cases in HR. Figure 1 details 20 AI in HR use cases, including job description generation and learning content generation, to name a few. These use cases are ranked based on two factors: 1) Business value (e.g., operational efficiency) and 2) Feasibility (e.g., organizational readiness). The strategic ranking of each use case provides an additional viewpoint to consider as decisions are made for prioritizing different use cases. Additionally, I'm resharing my editable PDF containing 10 AI in HR use cases, each accompanied by a concise statement of the use case, associated risk, and a practical recommendation for risk mitigation. Consider the example of Employee Onboarding, which entails automating administrative tasks and delivering personalized training. A conceivable risk involves decreased employee engagement due to a lack of human interaction. To address this, organizations can seamlessly integrate AI-driven onboarding with human touchpoints, ensuring a comprehensive and engaging onboarding experience. Each page and use case includes a text box to document your notes.


A 20-page paper on how HR can facilitate an AI-empowered culture. Includes 10 ‘calls to action.’

This new report identifies 10 “calls to action” (CTAs) for how human resources practitioners can help their organizations pivot to an AI-driven culture. The CTAs range from collaborating on AI strategies that foster a culture of responsible AI to helping managers serve as ambassadors for change. As HR leaders and their teams identify opportunities for implementing various CTAs, I am resharing three other resources for integrating AI into the workplace. An Oliver Wyman Forum analysis showing how GenAI’s impact on productivity is likely to occur in three phases: Individual Benefit (Time horizon: 1 year; Productivity Benefit: Low), Scaling Up (Time horizon: 1-5 yrs; Productivity Benefit: Medium), and Workplace Maturity (Time horizon: 6-10 yrs; Productivity Benefit: High. A Deloitte AI Institute report, which includes a framework for determining which work tasks are best performed by a) AI, b) humans with the help of AI, and c) humans by themselves. An Accenture report, which includes a framework for categorizing four types of impacts that AI can have on jobs and work tasks.


Discusses barriers and challenges to AI adoption in talent acquisition (TA) and proposes recommendations. I share bonus resources.

This new white paper, conducted in partnership with Mercer and researchers from St. John’s University, examined the state of technology adoption within the Talent Acquisition (TA) function, mainly related to artificial intelligence (AI). The report, which is based on survey responses from 477 respondents (~80% hold jobs as TA or HR leaders) from multiple industries, notes that: despite its tremendous potential, AI adoption within the TA function is not as pronounced and advanced as some recent reports might suggest. The authors share various ways that TA can benefit from using AI in recruiting and hiring, such as using AI to mitigate unconscious bias that influences hiring decisions. Since there are concerns about data privacy and algorithmic biases in TA, organizations must ensure that they monitor and refine their algorithms to prevent inadvertent biases. To help bridge this gap, I am resharing this 18-page Future of Privacy Forum Report outlining Best Practices for the development, implementation, or expansion of AI tools in employment decisions. The report breaks down practices into six crucial areas: 1) non-discrimination, 2) responsible AI governance, 3) transparency, 4) privacy and data security, 5) human oversight, and 6) alternative review procedures. I am also resharing the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) 36-page paper, presenting considerations and recommendations for the validation and use of AI-based assessments for employee selection.


Here is my tracker, which includes announcements from a segment of organizations that have announced job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023.

Partial view of tracker

A few firms that announced job cuts in March include:

  • Expedia Group (NASDAQ: EXPE). The travel company plans to cut 1,500 roles this year, more than 8% of its workforce.

  • Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE: LEVI). Has initiated the first round of layoffs at its San Francisco headquarters as part of a larger plan to cut its global corporate workforce by 10% to 15% in the first half of this year. The job eliminations include vice presidents, senior managers, directors, and designers, among others.

  • Shell. (NYSE: SHEL). Plans to cut 20% of several hundred positions in its M&A unit. This follows recent cuts in the company’s low-carbon energy division.

  • Unilever. (NYSE: UL). The consumer goods giant said it would cut 7,500 jobs and spin off its ice cream unit, which includes Ben & Jerry’s, to reduce costs and simplify its portfolio of brands.


71 Chief HR Officers were hired, promoted, and/or resigned in March. A few headlines include:

  • David Yurman (NEW YORK)—the Luxury jewelry brand— has named Robert Lepere Chief People Officer.

  • Foot Locker, Inc. (NEW YORK) [NYSE: FL]—a leading footwear and apparel retailer— announced that Cindy Carlisle has assumed the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.

  • Nielsen (NEW YORK) [NYSE: NLSN]— the global leader in audience measurement, data, and analytics, announced that Nicolina Marzicola will now serve as Nielsen’s Chief People Officer.

  • Prothena Corporation (DUBLIN) [NASDAQ: PRTA]—a late-stage clinical biotechnology company—announced that it has named David Ford to the newly created position of Chief People Officer.

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​Talent Edge Weekly is a free weekly newsletter that brings together the best talent and strategic human resources insights from various sources. It is published every Sunday at 6 PM EST.

Talent Edge Weekly is written by Brian Heger, an internal human resources practitioner. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, Twitter, and brianheger.com.