Welcome to the first issue of Talent Edge Weekly - the weekly newsletter for strategic human resources practitioners, bringing together talent insights from various sources.

As a busy HR practitioner, you likely find it difficult to keep track of all the latest practices and ideas in the profession. The vast sea of available content makes this endeavor a formidable challenge. Plus, you have to go through a lot of information until you find what is most relevant to your needs and interests.

The idea of this newsletter is simple:

  • I find content that provides value

  • I offer my perspective

  • I share both with you so you can leverage

My ask in return is simple: share this information with your network so that we can continue to advance the practice of strategic HR and learn together.

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Brian Heger leads Strategic Talent, Workforce Planning, and Analytics for a Fortune 150 organization. To connect with Brian on Linkedin, click here.



In this article Josh Bersin addresses the challenge of talents shortages and how it will continue to be a key issue for organizations in the years to come. As organizations continue to compete for external talent, the article raises the need for a talent strategy that creates an internal “talent marketplace.” Stated differently in the article, “we have to shift to a world of -creating candidates- not attracting candidates.” Such a strategy aims to first hire people with the potential to grow and develop, and then accelerate their development through internal mobility, upskilling, reskilling, to name a few. Other suggestions are offered for closing talent gaps such as creating opportunities to empower and re-engage older workers as well as reaching into the education system and non-traditional sources of talent. While organizations develop their workforce planning strategies through Build, Buy, Borrow, and Bot tactics, they should factor in the disproportionate impact that the Build component can have on closing talent gaps in today's business context.

As organizations continue to find ways to close skill gaps by attracting and retaining in-demand workers, this report by Manpower provides insights into what attracts talent to an organization, what keeps them there and how that varies by geography, gender and at different stages of their career. More pay, flexibility and challenging work are non-negotiables to all, but there are additional levers employers can pull to attract and retain various talent segments. For example, Gen X men (ages 35 -54) prioritize flexibility just as much as women: they want a flexible start and finish to their day, the ability to work remotely some, not all of the time, and they want their share of parental leave. This report has additional insights that can help to inform aspects of an organization’s talent strategy.  


This LinkedIn report outlines 7 ways recruiting will/is changing based on input from thousands of talent acquisition professionals. Insight #4 on p. 21 (Your #metrics will track outcomes, not just actions) shares how the more commonly used activity-based metrics, such as time-to-fill, candidates per hire, or offer acceptance rate, are being augmented with outcome-based metrics, such as quality of hire (QoH) and sourcing channel effectiveness. Although there are organizations using these outcome-based measures, there are still gaps. For (QoH), it is often an elusive measure for organizations, and while no one calculation is used, most businesses use a combination of 3 core metrics (retention, engagement, and performance). The report has several insights including that the metric with the biggest gap between usefulness and actual use is candidate experience, a measure that is increasingly vital to organizations.


Few would dispute that an organization’s ability to engage its workforce and retain key talent is a vital component of an effective talent strategy. However, this report by Achievers suggests that organizations are facing a few challenges in this area. According to the report, two-thirds (64%) of the workforce surveyed admitted that they plan to look for a new job this year, and nearly 1/3 (30%) voiced they feel undervalued. Further, those who definitely plan to stay with their employers dropped a full 14 points, to just 33%. Amongst the reasons driving these sentiments is the worsening perception of leadership in improving company culture, diminished employee experience, and the compound effect of lack of employee recognition.  The report offers a few strategies for addressing these issues; among them is driving a feedback-rich culture. 


Demand for skilled workers continues to create opportunities for the gig workforce-also referred to as the contingent workforce. The idea of "gig" work is not new to traditional businesses, but the practice has spread quickly over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing. As the gig workforce becomes a greater % of the total workforce, it is advantageous for organizations to gain a better understanding of this workforce segment and use these insights to develop aspects of their talent strategy. This report puts the spotlight on the gig workforce by challenging some widely held beliefs and offering insights (e.g. compensation, varied skill sets, and motivations) about this workforce segment. Did you know that more than 70% of 1099-MISC gig workers say they are working as independent contractors by their own choice, not because they can’t find a "regular" W2 job? Several insights in this report have talent management implications for businesses of all sizes.


One of the topics getting the most attention in business today is upskilling, reskilling, and redefining jobs for the future of work. Josh Bersin offers 5 insights for how learning and development (L&D) will transform in the year ahead. Insight #5: L&D must focus on developing “T-shaped” employees. This type of employee has broad #skills across many areas (the horizontal part of the T) as well as deep expertise in one area (the vertical of the T). As #automation continues to redefine work, today's employees are well-served to have broader cross-functional skills that go beyond what can be automated and that complement the deep knowledge needed for their particular role. This has implications for strategic workforce planning and L&D. The end of the article has a link to one of Josh's articles on power skills which builds on this topic and helps to unpack the complex topic of skills. 

The 2020 Talent Trends Report released by Randstad outlines the top 10 talent trends for 2020. What I like about this report is that for each trend it: 1) provides a summary of the trend, 2) raises three questions talent leaders should ask regarding the trend, and 3) offers five ways to prepare for and address the trend. Collectively, these 3 aspects enable practical application. Page 8 of the report speaks to how granular labor market data, such as availability of #skills and location of talent, can be used by organizations to make smarter and faster talent decisions. The insights in each part of the report can help to inform aspects of an organization’s talent strategy.  

While most organizations have a business strategy and a financial plan to support it, The State of Talent Optimization report finds only 36 percent have a talent strategy —and a mere 12 percent align their talent and business strategies. However, those that align talent with business strategy outperform others by 16%, retain 30% percent more top performers, and see 34 percent higher performance. What is one tactic that your organization is employing to ensure that it is aligning its business and talent strategy?  

LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Report shows that 1) employee experience (EX), 2) people analytics, 3) internal recruiting and 4) harnessing the multi-generational workforce are top talent priorities for businesses in the year ahead. With respect to EX, p. 10 of the report breaks EX into 4 core components: people, place, product, and process. This is a useful framework for organizing the various aspects of an organization's EX. 


Similar to how the Voice of Customer (VoC) measures customer experience, Voice of the Employee (VoE) helps measure employee experience and employee engagement by using employee feedback from a variety of sources such as survey responses, Glassdoor reviews, social media comments, internal discussion threads, etc. to reveal employee concerns, pain points, perceptions, and preferences. This article provides a few useful suggestions (particularly for those who don’t have coding capabilities or data scientist staff) for applying such an approach and using insights to increase employee retention, reduce hiring costs and improve workforce productivity. Focus less on any specific products mentioned and more on the approach so that you can begin to generate ideas for your own organization.

Most organizations understand the enormous opportunity of data in driving productivity and performance; however, a report by Accenture and Qlick found that only 25% of surveyed employees believe they’re fully prepared to use data effectively, and just 21% percent report being confident in their data literacy skills — i.e., their ability to read, understand, question and work with data. Almost half (48%) frequently defer to a “gut feeling” rather than data-driven insights when making decisions and more than one-third said they would find an alternative method to complete the task without using data. Given that organizations are increasingly investing in data analytics and business intelligence tools to help employees glean tangible value from their organization’s data, there is an opportunity to upskill their workforce in this area. Five steps are offered for planning a strategy to build a data-driven workforce.  



In October 2019, Anisha Aulbach and I published this article in People + Strategy. The article reflects our initial work in building a strategic workforce planning capability at BMS. While this article is on Linkedin, I am including the link to the PDF version since I continue to receive requests for it.


If you have an article, report, or resource that you recommend, please send me an email at [email protected]. I would love to review it and share it in a future newsletter.

And, if you have any ideas or suggestions for this newsletter, please feel free to send me a note.


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I look forward to sharing more ideas in next week’s Edge!