Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #140

This issue covers resources on employee retention, designing rewards, reasons HR tech transformations fail, realigning talent practices, and skills-based organizations.

Welcome to this week’s issue of Talent Edge Weeklythe weekly newsletter for human resources practitioners, bringing together insights about work, the workplace, and the workforce from various sources.

If you find value in this issue or any of its resources, please share them with your network by using the social media icons at the top of the newsletter.

Have a great week, and I look forward to sharing more ideas in next week’s Edge!


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


  • 4 Resources for Identifying and Addressing Employee Retention Risk | Multiple Sources | A one-page reference that integrates four resources for identifying and addressing employee retention risks.

  • Organize Your Rewards Package Around Employees’ Critical Life Moments | Gartner | Provides ideas for how organizations can drive greater awareness and utilization of their rewards program by designing and communicating programs around critical life moments.

  • Competing in the New Talent Market | Harvard Business Review | Outlines six changes for organizations to consider as they realign their talent practices to a new world of work.

  • 10 Reasons Why HR Tech Transformations Fail | myHRfuture | Covers 10 reasons HR tech transformations fail and how to avoid them so that HR functions can enable effective digital transformations.

  • Podcast: The Shift to a Skills-Based Organization with Deloitte’s Michael Griffiths | Dan Pontefract Podcast | A new 27-minute podcast episode that supplements the recently shared and highly viewed Deloitte article: The Skills-based Organization: A New Operating Model for Work and the Workforce.


Employee retention continues to be a top concern for many organizations. This one-page reference integrates four resources for managers to leverage as they identify and address their most critical employee retention risks. The four resources provide questions and indicators to help managers and leaders gain insights into various aspects of employee retention. They include: 1) Pre-quitting Behaviors. 13 questions managers can answer about each of their employees to determine the extent to which each employee has exhibited certain retention risk behaviors over the last 2 to 3 months. 2) Size of Team Retention Risk. Includes six questions managers can ask to gauge the overall retention risk of their team. 3) Work or Life Events Triggers. Provides six events or triggers that prompt an employee to reflect on and reconsider their career. 4) Stay Interview Questions. Includes 16 questions for managers to understand what employees enjoy about working for the company and what needs improvement. Managers can incorporate a few of these questions in their one-one check-ins with their direct reports. HR teams can leverage this PDF to give managers and leaders ideas for critically evaluating employee retention risk and determining retention strategies.

As many workers place an increased value on benefits and programs that support their well-being and their families, organizations continue to invest in the total rewards component of their employee value proposition (EVP). But as pointed out in this article, existing employees and new hires don’t always know that their needs are being met through the rewards package. One reason for this perception is that organizations traditionally design their rewards programs and corresponding communications to fit into rewards categories, such as compensation, benefits, well-being, rewards and recognition. However, this traditional approach can be augmented by designing and communicating programs so that employees can see the organization’s end-to-end support during the most critical moments of their lives. For example, “rather than grouping all its financial support offerings into a financial wellness category, organizations should group together all the offerings an employee would need for a critical life moment.” Figure 3 illustrates an example of the life event of purchasing a new home. Other critical life moments might include: 1) Getting married/engaged, 2) Getting divorced, 3) Having/adopting a child, 4) Taking a big trip, 5) Getting a pet, 6) Losing a loved one. Organizing and communicating reward programs and benefits by life moments can help job candidates and employees recognize the strength of an organization’s EVP—serving as an effective tool for talent attraction and retention.

This HBR article outlines six changes for organizations to consider as they realign their talent practices to a new world of work. One change is to shift from “pedigree” to “potential,” which underscores how organizations should focus selection criteria more on skills rather than less relevant criteria, such as an academic degree or specific years of experience. As noted in the 30-page research report, The Emerging Degree Reset Report by the Burning Glass Institute, findings from an analysis of over 51 million job postings in the US show organizations are moving away from degree requirements and toward skills-based hiring, especially in middle-skill jobs. This shift can open up 1.4 million jobs for Americans without a college education over the next five years. However, 37 percent of middle-skilled jobs do not show a reduction in requiring a college degree, effectively stripping 15.7 million people out of firms’ candidate pool. While academic degrees are essential for specific lines of work, organizations should identify opportunities to eliminate them from selection criteria when they are less relevant. In looking at your organization’s open jobs or work opportunities, what are the less relevant selection criteria that could be eliminated to deepen your candidate pool? The HBR article identifies other shifts for organizations to consider.

Many HR practitioners are optimistic about the proliferation of HR tech platforms transforming all facets of HR and talent management. And while many share in this excitement, practitioners must be careful about not falling into the “bright and shiny object” trap when assessing new HR technologies. Instead, they need to take an expansive view of the multiple—and often less obvious—factors critical to HR tech evaluation and implementation. This brief article covers ten reasons HR tech transformations fail and how to avoid them.Among the ten reasons are:1)no alignment to the current business imperatives and the business challenges the HR tech will help solve, 2) not involving IT from the start, and 3) a poor procurement process.Another reason HR transformations fail is that organizations are not agile when mobilizing HR tech efforts. Rather than using agile principles — such as defining a minimum viable product and piloting it with a smaller part of the organization—organizations often try to take on too much and overly complicate the process. These organizations might give every implementation decision equal importance, resulting in a protracted time frame where they spend excessive time “majoring in the minor things.” In some organizations, efforts may stop entirely because of this ineffective approach.HR practitioners can increase the odds of a successful HR transformation by being aware of these ten traps and intentionally implementing tactics to avoid them.

Organizations are increasingly trying to shift from role-based to skill-based talent practices. But as I noted in a recent post about the Deloitte article, The Skills-based Organization: A New Operating Model for Work and the Workforce, fewer than one in five organizations have adopted skills-based approaches to a significant extent. Another recent report by the Conference Board (I can’t share the full report since it is only for their members) shows that 66 percent of surveyed organizations report being in the early stages of preparing or just getting started to adopt skills-based talent practices. As organizations continue to navigate the transition to skills-based talent practices, this new 27-minute podcast episode provides a few insights. In the episode, Dan Pontefract interviews Michael Griffiths — a senior partner, Principal, and Lead in Deloitte’s Workforce Transformation practice. Michael is a co-author of the Deloitte article mentioned above. He elaborates on many of the points from the article and provides suggestions for how organizations can start integrating skills into their talent practices. As a bonus, here is another recent podcast episode, Are We Entering The Era Of Work Without Jobs?, where Dan has a conversation with Ravin Jesuthasan—Senior Partner and Global Leader for Transformation Services at Mercer and co-author (along with John Boudreau) of the book, Work Without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization’s Work Operating System.


Offers 5 questions Chief Human Resources Officers can ask to determine what barriers prevent HRBPs from reaching their full strategic potential. You can also view this post on LinkedIn and join the conversation and/or share with your network!


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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 6PM EST.