Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #146

Covers how to articulate a firm's human capital story, ESG, communicating layoffs compassionately, 2023 workforce trends, and defining employee potential.

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.


  • Telling the Human Capital Management Story: Toward a Strategic Competitive Advantage | The Conference Board | A 20-page report on how organizations can tailor their talent narrative to various stakeholders while still drawing from a single source of truth.

  • What HR Leaders Need to Know About ESG | Gartner | Provides an overview of the core concepts that HR leaders need to understand about ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and how they can embed them in talent practices and processes.

  • Layoffs Are Painful. But You Can Communicate Them Compassionately | Harvard Business Review | Shares considerations for planning and implementing a communication plan —with compassion— when going through a reduction in force or layoffs.

  • Workplace Trends 2023: Brace for Mutual Impact | Visier | A 77-page report on 10 workforce and workplace trends that will carry over or become more prominent in 2023. I provide bonus materials on scenario planning.

  • Podcast: Defining Potential | Allan Church with JP Elliot via the Future of HR Podcast | A 50-minute podcast where Allan Church shares ideas about various aspects of employee potential, including the three types of potential, why they matter, and when to use them.


Many organizational stakeholders — such as investors, current and prospective employees, customers, and strategic partners—want to understand how their respective organizations manage human capital (HC). But as pointed out in this 20-page report by The Conference Board, each stakeholder group is likely to be more interested in certain parts of an organization’s HC narrative. For example, employees and candidates seek information about the effectiveness of policies and programs on issues of personal and collective importance to employees, such as workplace culture, pay equity, and business ethics. Customers are looking for evidence of commitments to and progress against labor conditions, pay equity, DEI/ LGBTQ+ experience, and progress toward related ESG matters, such as fair pay and working conditions in the firm and throughout its supply chain. As CHROs and their teams help their organizations tailor their HC narrative to key audiences while still drawing from a single source of truth, this report provides ideas. Page 19 shows a visual of seven stakeholder groups and the parts of the HC narrative in which they are most likely interested.

Chief Human Resources Officers continue to play a more prominent role in their organization’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG). To help HR Leaders develop a better understanding of the core concepts of ESG and how they can embed them in talent processes and practices, this Gartner article provides insights for answering three questions: 1) Who are the stakeholders with whom I need to partner on ESG?, 2) How should I support my organization in setting priorities for an ESG program?, and 3) What is my role in ESG reporting, action planning, and improvement processes? Regarding HR-related issues concerning the “S”ocial aspects of ESG, these issues can include: DEI, women’s empowerment, pay equity, employee well-being, and corporate commitments to employees. Other social issues may include workplace and consumer safety, responsible innovation and marketing, economic development, and data protection and privacy. As a bonus, I am resharing The HR Policy Association’s report, ESG and the Role of the Chief Human Resources Officer: A Best Practices Study. While this 39-page report is a few years old, it provides ESG best practices from CHROs of large organizations.

As many organizations are considering or implementing reductions in force or layoffs, HR leaders and HRBPs are tasked with helping managers prepare for these difficult conversations. This HBR article shares considerations for planning and implementing a communication plan —with compassion— when going through reductions/layoffs. One point made—and which has played out publicly over the last few weeks in a segment of organizations that have announced layoffs—is: “executives and managers too often underestimate the importance of clear, consistent communications as part of a reduction in force. Without an effective communications plan that begins well in advance, a layoff or reduction can damage the company’s reputation and the well-being of both dismissed and retained employees.” One section of the article provides a sequence of events that should be coordinated on the day of the announcement. And with the increased utilization of hybrid work, several questions arise regarding how announcements are communicated, such as: can we effectively communicate compassion and sincerity remotely and engage with employees to understand their emotions and concerns? Action steps are provided to best address the added challenge of hybrid work and how to communicate these tough messages while demonstrating compassion.

This 77-page report provides 10 workforce and workplace trends that will carry over or become more prominent in 2023. The trends range from topics on pay transparency to employee retention. On page 17, the report mentions how organizations must continue to prepare for different futures they might face (i.e., scenario planning). As HR leaders and their teams help their organizations prepare for different scenarios and determine how talent needs might shift, I am resharing three resources they can leverage 1) A one-page editable PDF by Xplane that helps organizations identify four “what-if” scenarios they may face in the future, define the “conditions” that would trigger each, and develop a response for each scenario. 2) Gartner’s Scenario Implication Diagnostic, which provides over 60 diagnostic questions to help understand the implications of internal and external factors that can inform different scenarios. 3) Deloitte’s – Using Scenario Planning as Inflation Continues to Rise.  A 17-page deck that provides a framework (page 6) of four scenarios that may occur in the context of inflation. While this resource describes inflation-driven scenarios, the approach and examples apply to scenario planning in general.

Developing the next generation of leaders is a top priority for CEOs globally, according to The Conference Board’s C-suite Outlook 2022: Reset and Reimagine Report. And while identifying and developing high-potential employees has been a longstanding pursuit of many organizations, firms still struggle with accurately defining and measuring potential. In this 50-minute podcast, host JP Elliot interviews Allan Church on aspects of employee potential. Allan shares several insights on 1) the three types of potential: why they matter and when to use them, 2) PepsiCo’s GREAT5 leadership model and how it applies at different stages of one's career, and 3) Why communicating potential ratings will increase, not decrease employee engagement. For one of the most comprehensive and well-researched models on potential, check out Allan’s book chapter (along with co-author Rob Silzer) —Identifying and Assessing High-Potential Talent: Current Organization Practices — in Strategy-Driven Talent Management. Also, here is Allan’s article, Think Outside the 9-Box , which covers other insights on employee potential. If you have not subscribed to JP’s Future of HR Podcast, I recommend doing so. He has several new podcast episodes featuring guests such as Marc Effron, Angela Lane, and Holly Tyson, to name a few. Congratulations JP on launching your podcast!


 A PDF that includes 12 articles and reports on 1) CHRO, 2) Skills, 3) Talent Risks, and 4) Culture and Leadership. You can click on any image in the PDF to access the referenced article or report.



This past week, there were 25 Chief Human Resources Officer announcements posted on CHROs on the Go a subscription that provides the easiest way to stay informed about CHRO hires, promotions, and resignations. This week’s CHRO highlight is:

TIME Inc. [NYSE: TIME] —the global media brand—names Ali Hernandez as Chief Human Resources Officer. READ MORE

To learn how to gain access to all 25 detailed Chief Human Resources Officer announcements from this past week and +1600 archived announcements, visit CHROs on the Go .

If you are already a member of CHROs on the Go, you can log in to access all of the announcements and site functionality.



Partial View of Recommendations. Click Image to See All Books


brianheger.com provides free access to +1,000 curated articles, research reports, podcasts, etc. that help practitioners drive better business results through strategic human resources and talent management.

CHROS on the Go is a subscription that provides the easiest and most convenient way to stay informed about Chief Human Resources Officer hires, promotions, and resignations in organizations of all sizes and industries.

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.