Talent Edge Weekly - Best of May Issue #241

Here are 16 of the most popular HR, talent, and future of work articles and resources from May.


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This special Best of May issue brings you 16 of the most popular articles and resources from the May issues of Talent Edge Weekly. The resources are categorized into 3 sections:

  1. Talent and Workplace Practices. Critical roles, succession planning, talent review, AI in the workplace, performance management, skills-based hiring, internal mobility, and “the meeting after the meeting.”

  2. Return to Office. Updates on RTO mandates, data-driven hybrid work policies, and a study on the impact of RTO on employee turnover.

  3. HR Effectiveness and Chief HR Officer. HR transformation, CHRO trends report, and a sample of CHROs hired in the past 60 days.  

This issue also includes news about company layoffs.

Since this issue has much more content than the regular weekly issue, you can choose to view an abridged version, which only includes links and a brief description of the 16 resources.

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



My template to help identify critical roles, estimate related risks, and inform talent planning.

While there has been a much-needed shift in broadening our view of work beyond jobs and roles, an organization’s ability to identify and plan for its critical roles remains important for effective workforce planning and talent management. Yet, organizations encounter challenges when identifying critical roles, such as assessing criticality based on a role’s job level rather than its impact on strategic objectives and stakeholder value. Beyond mere identification, evaluating various risk factors associated with these roles is crucial. Against this backdrop, here is my new editable template designed to help organizations identify critical roles and estimate related risks. The template allows users to enter roles to evaluate and simply click a box to indicate when any of the indicators are descriptive of the roles. Although I've previously shared individual tools for critical role identification and risk assessment, I've combined them into this single template. As with all the templates and worksheets I provide, the aim is to jumpstart conversations that lead to more informed talent decisions. Simply discussing these areas, even without completing the template, can unveil opportunities for more impactful talent planning.


Shares ideas for building robust succession and leadership pipelines amid disruption. Includes an example from Bridgestone.

Succession planning (SP) continues to be a priority for many organizations. However, due to rapidly changing business environments, SP has become increasingly challenging to implement. This Gartner article shares ideas for building robust leadership pipelines amid disruption and continuous change. One case study involves Bridgestone, which uses two strategies for implementing adaptable approaches to SP. 1) Before discussing who should fill a critical role, Bridgestone’s HR and business leaders analyze the role and consider making changes based on current and future business needs. They ask questions such as, “If the person in this critical role leaves, would we keep this role?” and, “Knowing our strategy and future goals, do we need this role as it looks today?” If a change is needed, Bridgestone’s leaders eliminate the role, split it up based on potential successors’ current capabilities, or redesign it based on strategic goals. 2) Bridgestone also creates pools of potential successors for roles duplicated across multiple business units (e.g., multiple business units may have a VP of Finance). These cross-business talent pools increase the number of available successors for a given role, which makes it easier to fill critical roles if someone leaves suddenly. Other ideas include how Corning uses talent profiles from its HRIS platform to search for succession candidates.


My one-page editable worksheet to help practitioners evaluate opportunities for improving the impact of talent reviews.

As organizations prepare for talent reviews, I've created this editable worksheet to assist practitioners in identifying opportunities to enhance the impact of their talent review practices. The first column includes a few considerations for practitioners to assess aspects of their talent review, such as defining the purpose of the review, establishing criteria for measuring potential, and ensuring managerial accountability. Subsequent columns allow practitioners to gauge the 'gap' between current and desired states, with color-coded checkboxes indicating areas for improvement (clicking the box applies a color code automatically). The final column can be used for documenting possible actions for addressing the areas with the greatest opportunity for improvement. I encourage practitioners to tailor the example statements in column 1 to fit their talent review’s purpose (the first statement in the column). This resource aims to foster discussions that generate actionable insights for improving talent review practices, stressing that even addressing one opportunity can yield significant benefits.


A new 38-page report that shares insights about the growing integration of AI in the workplace and its implications for organizations.

This new 38-page report by Microsoft and LinkedIn shares insights about the growing integration of AI at work, its impact on the labor market, the rise of AI power users, and the importance of embracing AI to drive business transformation. Drawing from the survey responses of approximately 31,000 individuals across 31 countries, LinkedIn labor and hiring trends data, trillions of Microsoft productivity signals, and research with Fortune 500 customers, the report reveals significant trends. One finding includes that 75% of knowledge workers are now using AI at work, with 78% of them adopting Bring Your Own AI (BYOAI) practices, often without guidance or clearance from leadership. This approach risks missing out on the benefits of strategic AI implementation at scale and exposes company data to security risks. A primary driver for BYOAI is the struggle with the pace and volume of work, with 68% of individuals expressing difficulty and 46% feeling burned out, leading many to turn to AI for relief. While implementing AI may seem daunting, the report recommends that leaders start by identifying a business problem to which AI can be applied, citing examples such as Estée Lauder leveraging AI for product development and customer experience enhancement and Dentsu utilizing AI in creative development. Other ideas are discussed.


My new template to help HR teams identify and prioritize potential AI in HR use cases.

AI continues to show much potential for helping to unlock capacity within the HR function. According to a BCG analysis, AI can potentially help boost HR productivity across the HR value chain by up to 30 percent. To tap AI’s potential, HR practitioners must critically evaluate which AI in HR use cases to experiment with to deliver new forms of value to organizational stakeholders. Here is my new editable one-page template that can be used to help HR teams generate ideas on this topic. Before using the template, identify the business problem(s) you are trying to solve. Then, use the template to think through how AI in HR can address those issues: 1) HR Area. Use the drop-down menu to categorize the HR area to explore, such as talent acquisition, talent management, etc. 2) Use Case. Type in the use case you are considering (e.g., job description generation) for the HR area. 3) Impact and Feasibility. Rate the use case's overall business impact (e.g., organizational efficiency) and feasibility (e.g., level of change). You can further define impact and feasibility to your liking. 4) Potential Next Step. Based on your assessment (the color coding should help to interpret your assessment across the use cases), generate ideas on the near-term next steps for areas you want to pursue. While there is more to AI in HR use case evaluation than listed here, this worksheet can help spark some initial thoughts.


Offers ideas for designing four key components of an organization’s PM: goal setting, performance reviews, ongoing development, and rewards.

Despite years of redesigning and modifying performance management (PM), HR practitioners still report barriers to effective PM, such as inconsistent approaches and "shadow" PM practices. This new article offers insights for practitioners to consider as they strengthen the impact of their organizations’ PM. It emphasizes the need for a "fit-for-purpose" PM design focused on four areas: goal setting, performance reviews, ongoing development, and rewards. Exhibit 1 illustrates these areas and the critical design choices they entail. For example, one choice in goal setting is whether to focus on individual or team goals or both. One mentioned European online retailer intentionally focuses on team goals: goals are set for the team, feedback is provided to the team, and they conduct team performance appraisals with metrics like project completion timelines, cross-functional collaboration success, and collective milestone achievements. This design choice was determined to be right for this organization. The article presents three questions that organizations can use to assess the effectiveness of their PM efforts, such as: Are we getting the expected returns from the time invested in PM, and does it drive higher performance and capabilities? To further help practitioners evaluate their PM design choices, I am resharing the Talent Strategy Group’s 2023 Global Performance Management report, which offers several ideas.


Shares research findings on whether the removal of academic degree requirements from job postings leads to the hiring of more candidates without degrees.

Many organizations report an increasing focus on skills-based hiring, where they prioritize candidates’ skills over traditional credentials such as academic degrees. However, does eliminating degree requirements from job postings lead to increased hiring of candidates without degrees? A new study analyzing 11,300 roles at large firms, covering at least one year before and after the removal of degree requirements, found that for every 100 job postings without a college degree requirement, only fewer than four additional candidates without degrees are hired. One barrier is that hiring managers still rely on degrees as a proxy for skills due to the lack of alternative evaluation tools, perpetuating traditional hiring practices. Sectors like healthcare and IT succeed in skills-based hiring due to established certifications that serve as credible alternatives to degrees. The authors note, “Without practical guidance on how to evaluate a candidate’s skills, many hiring managers will naturally continue to use degree attainment as a convenient means for sorting through applicants and distinguishing among the final candidates, regardless of what their job ads actually require.” The research underscores that merely removing degree requirements isn’t sufficient by itself to bridge the gap between the intent and impact of skills-based hiring. The authors provide six practical steps to give managers the tools to make skills-based hiring a reality. As an additional resource, here is the 18-page report on which the article is based.


A new analysis on the decline in the number of job postings requiring a certain number of years of experience.

Organizations continue to report an increasing focus on skills-based hiring, prioritizing candidates’ skills over traditional credentials like academic degrees. A report by Burning Glass Institute and Harvard Business School showed that from 2014 to 2023, the annual number of job advertisements that eliminated academic degree requirements from job descriptions quadrupled. However, the same report highlights an analysis of 11,300 roles at large firms showing only a 3.5 percentage point increase in hiring workers without a BA degree after removing degree requirements. Another signal of the shift towards skills-based hiring is the removal of “experience requirements” (e.g., 3+ years in a nursing role) from job advertisements. This new analysis by Indeed shows that “less than a third of US job postings on Indeed asked applicants for a specific number of years’ experience in April, down from almost 40% in April 2022; nonetheless, years of experience requirements vary dramatically by sector. While the removal of both unnecessary educational requirements and years of experience from job descriptions is a step in the right direction towards skills-based hiring, by themselves, they are insufficient. This is because hiring managers often use these indicators as a proxy for skill level. Therefore, organizations must develop managers' ability to assess candidates' skills to realize the potential of skills-based hiring. What is your organization’s plan for developing managers’ capabilities in skills-based hiring?


My curated one page PDF with resources on internal mobility— from case studies to research on the benefits of IM.

Internal mobility (IM), the movement of employees across different roles and opportunities (e.g., projects, assignments, etc.) within an organization, is a critical component of talent management. However, despite its well-documented benefits, IM remains an underutilized talent strategy. As I continue to receive several requests for resources on the topic, I’ve created this one-page summary of eight resources. Two of the resources are case studies, including an article that shares Booz Allen's experience in launching an internal talent marketplace (ITM), sharing key lessons learned during the project's first year. One takeaway emphasizes the necessity for significant cultural shifts to effectively overcome ITM challenges, such as managers' reluctance to release their talent to other parts of the business. Another article details how Johnson & Johnson (J&J) leveraged AI to assess its workforce's current skills and alignment with future organizational success requirements. This process yielded workforce insights that guided employees' personal development. Other resources address various practices that enable IM in organizations, such as a culture of talent sharing, and academic research showing the benefits of IM.


Shares 5 strategies for minimizing the need for the “meeting after the meeting”—when several participants informally gather to make sense of the meeting they just attended.

This article delves into the phenomenon of "the meeting after the meeting," “when several participants informally (and often spontaneously) carry on a candid, sensemaking conversation about the meeting they just attended.” Given that these post-meeting discussions can often push team dynamics and culture in a toxic direction, the author provides five strategies leaders can employ before, during, and after the formal meeting. One of the strategies is elevating the value of pushback in the formal meeting, where leaders should encourage debate and dissent during the formal meeting to address concerns in real time and prevent them from escalating into post-meeting discussions. This article could be a good resource to share with team members. If you are a team leader, at your next team meeting, here are three questions I suggest you ask: 1) How often do you believe our team engages in the “meeting after the meeting?” 2) Why do you believe this occurs? 3) What could I do better as a leader, and then us as a team, to ensure that we are addressing all concerns and questions directly in the formal meeting? I share this article as many leaders and teams continue to express concern about employee wellbeing, heavy workloads, and employee burnout—all of which can partially be alleviated by addressing "the meeting after the meeting.” Is this a topic for your next team meeting?


Updates on RTO mandates, data-driven hybrid work policies, and a study on the impact of RTO on employee turnover.


My updated summary sheet on how 14 organizations are modifying their RTO guidance.

Organizations continue to announce updates to their return to office (RTO) mandates, encompassing changes such as increasing the number of required in-office days, restricting specific days to work remotely, and incorporating workers’ compliance with RTO mandates into their performance reviews. A few recent RTO updates include: Walmart is asking most remote workers to work from company offices. The organization will still allow staff to work remotely part of the time, as long as they are in offices most of the time. In addition, workers in small tech-focused offices in Dallas, Atlanta, and Toronto are being asked to relocate to other central hubs like Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., Hoboken, N.J., and Northern California. Cognizant, a leading IT services company, has issued a warning to its employees that those who continue to ignore its RTO mandate despite repeated reminders could face severe disciplinary actions, including termination. Dell, which updated its RTO in February requiring most of its employees to work from the office three days a week and work a minimum of 39 days each quarter, has more recently started tracking its employees via their badge swipes and VPN connections—using a color-coded rating system to indicate compliance with RTO guidelines. To help you keep track of RTO announcements, here is my cheat sheet with announcements from 14 organizations.


Shares findings from Ernst & Young’s (EY U.S.) data-driven approach to hybrid work, comparing the performance and well-being of its hybrid employees to their fully in-person and remote worker counterparts.

Organizations continue to struggle with decisions regarding hybrid work and return to office (RTO). Stanford Economist Nick Bloom, who has studied remote work for over two decades, recently presented data (see slide 12) showing that some firms revised their RTO guidance multiple times since 2020, some changing it up to five times. As leaders navigate the RTO landscape, this new HBR article offers insights. It examines Ernst & Young LLP's (EY U.S.) data-driven approach to hybrid work, comparing the performance and well-being of its hybrid employees to fully in-person and remote workers. The findings indicate: employees spending 40% to 60% of their time in person report higher levels of well-being, belonging, engagement, and skills development compared to their fully remote or in-person counterparts. Based on responses from over 27,000 employees, in-person aspects of hybrid work foster a stronger sense of psychological safety to voice concerns and offer more on-the-job learning and real-time feedback, promoting equitable opportunities. Regarding the benefits of the remote aspects of hybrid work, employees feel more recognized and appreciated than those who are fully in-person, potentially due to perceiving a culture of care and respect facilitated by hybrid work. Other ideas are discussed. As a bonus, I am resharing my post on Cisco’s hybrid work study, based on three years of data from over 13,000 Cisco employees.


Covers results from a study on the impact of RTO on employee turnover, particularly senior-level employees.

As HR and talent practitioners utilize research-based studies to inform workplace practices, this new working paper sheds light on the impact of return to office (RTO) mandates on employee turnover, particularly senior-level employees. It focuses on Microsoft, Apple, and SpaceX because they were “among the first large American tech companies to implement RTO mandates.” A key finding is that RTO mandates coincide with longer-tenured and more senior employees leaving their organizations; many of the departing employees are being hired by direct competitors. The authors note: “our results suggest that RTO policies can lead to an outflow of senior employees, posing a potential threat to the productivity, innovation, and competitiveness of the wider firm." As a bonus, I am resharing: 1)study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh that reveals no significant changes in S&P 500 firms' financial performance or stock market value post-RTO mandates but identifies a decline in employee satisfaction. 2) Research from the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California indicates that a 10% increase in work-from-home opportunities corresponds with a 0.78 percentage point (or 0.94%) increase in mothers' employment relative to other women. Empirical research can foster more informed decision-making that minimizes reliance on trends, biases, and anecdotal information.


HR transformation, CHRO trends, and a sample of CHROs hired the past 60 days.


Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood share four common pitfalls in HR transformation and provide tips on overcoming them.

This article by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood highlights four common pitfalls in HR transformation and provides tips on overcoming them. One pitfall (#2) is defining the structure of HR before understanding what makes the business distinctive. To help HR leaders grasp this distinctiveness and organize the HR function to support it, the article distinguishes four types of work. 1) Advantage Work directly impacts customer value and distinctiveness. 2) Strategic Work leverages advantage work. 3) Essential Work includes the necessary day-to-day tasks that keep the business running smoothly and must be done well enough. 4) Non-essential Work should be eliminated. While HR does not directly perform Advantage Work (the business does this), it should identify and build capabilities around the strategic work that supports Advantage Work (e.g., talent acquisition, development, compensation practices, etc., are strategic when applied to the Advantage work of the business). Dave and Norm advise that HR should organize itself by separating strategic work from essential work: "If the types of work are not separated, it’s virtually impossible to get strategic work done." As a bonus, I am resharing my 2016 article, Linking Talent Strategy With Business Strategy, which ties into how business capabilities are the link between business and HR strategies, one of Dave and Norm's other insights mentioned in their article.


10 trends in the Fortune 200 Chief HR and Chief People Officer roles.

This 2024 CHRO Trends report presents 10 trends in the roles of Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) and Chief People Officers (CPOs) in Fortune 200 companies. A few trends include: CHRO/CPO turnover declines: 2023 had the fewest Fortune 200 CHROs/CPOs appointments since this report’s 2017 inception, with 22 new CHROs/CPOs appointed in 2023. 32% of these appointments were within the Fortune 25 companies, including ExxonMobil, Apple, Cigna Group, Phillips 66, General Motors, Elevance Health, and Centene. A rapid increase of internal successors to the CHRO role. 73% of 2023 appointed CHROs/CPOs came to the role via internal succession, a rate of internal succession not seen since 2017. On average, internally promoted CHROs/CPOs had a tenure of 15 years with the company prior to their appointment. The HR business partner (HRBP) role is a stepping stone to the CHRO/CPO role. The vast majority of the 2023 CHRO/CPO appointments consisted of individuals who served in an HRBP role prior to their CHRO/CPO appointment. Other topics are covered, such as CHRO diversity. 


I share summaries of seven Chief HR Officers who were appointed to a new CHRO role in April and May 2024.

The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) role continues to gain prominence in many organizations. Over the past 60 days alone, I have tracked more than 150 CHRO appointments on CHROs on the Go —a subscription-based digital platform that provides insights into hires, promotions, and resignations in the CHRO role. These appointments range from first-time CHROs to seasoned heads of HR transitioning to a new CHRO role. Here is my new PDF that includes summaries of seven Chief HR Officers who were hired or promoted in the last 60 days (April through May). The summaries include a brief description of the announcement and links to the CHRO’s LinkedIn profile, the organization’s web page, and the detailed source announcement. The appointments were in the following organizations: AIG, BNY Mellon, DraftKings, GXO Logistics, Inc., Mars, Incorporated, Mattel, Inc., and Tory Burch. I hope you find this resource helpful in keeping track of movement into the Chief HR Officer role.


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 May include:

  • HelloFresh (OTCMKTS: HELFY). The meal-kit company plans to shut down its distribution center in Newnan, Georgia, resulting in 727 job cuts. The company makes the cuts as the strong demand it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has declined.

  • Indeed. The job search giant announced that it will be letting approximately 1,000 people go, representing ~8% of the company. The cuts are mostly concentrated in the US and are more focused on R&D and some Go-to-Market teams.

  • Lucid Motors (NASDAQ: LCID). The EV maker is cutting its US workforce by 6%, or about 400 employees, amid softening EV demand. The cuts will impact employees at all levels, including leadership and mid-level management.

  • Kenvue (NYSE: KVUE). The former division of Johnson & Johnson has announced plans to reduce its global workforce by 4%. The layoffs are expected to affect some 920 workers. The cuts come as a “transition service agreement” with J&J winds down.

  • Peloton. (NASDAQ: PTON). Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy is stepping down after announcing yet another round of layoffs, this time affecting about 15% of its remaining workforce or roughly 400 global team members.


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

  • Certara, Inc. (RADNOR, PENNSYLVANIA) [NASDAQ: CERT]—a global leader in model-informed drug development— has appointed Rona Anhalt as Chief Human Resources Officer.

  • Prologis (SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA) [NYSE: PLD]—the global leader in logistics real estate with a focus on high-barrier, high-growth markets—announced that Colleen McKeown will retire as Chief Human Resources Officer, effective January 1, 2025. The current SVP of Human Resources, Nathaalie Carey, will succeed McKeown.

  • Tesla Inc.’s (AUSTIN, TEXAS) [NASDAQ: TSLA]—an American multinational automotive and clean energy company—top human resources executive, Allie Arebalo, has left the company, joining a handful of other senior leaders that have recently departed.

If you want access to all detailed announcements, including +3700 (and growing) archived announcements of CHROs hired, promoted, and who have resigned, join the CHROs on the Go digital platform.

If you are already a subscriber to CHROs on the Go, log in here.


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​​brianheger.com provides free access to +1,300 curated articles, research reports, podcasts, etc. that help practitioners drive better business results through strategic human resources and talent management.

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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.