Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #147

Covers skills based talent practices, talent topics of interest to the board, matrix organizations, hiring non traditional talent, and the chief diversity officer.

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.


  • The Elevated Talent and Culture Agenda in the Boardroom | Deloitte | Captures insights from 15 CHROs on the types of talent and culture topics they are discussing with the board of directors.

  • Taking a Skills-based Approach to Building the Future Workforce | McKinsey | Describes challenges organizations have faced in transitioning to skills-based hiring and highlights a few tactics to overcome them.

  • How to Make Your Matrix Organization Really Work | MIT Sloan Management Review | Addresses four elements of a matrix structure that must be in balance for a matrix structure to be effective. .

  • Overcome Hiring Manager Resistance to Nontraditional Candidates | Gartner | Provides five tactics that recruiters can use to influence hiring managers' receptivity to hiring nontraditional candidates.

  • Unlocking the Potential of Chief Diversity Officers | McKinsey | Covers the reasons that are holding Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) from reaching their potential, and includes tactics for improving the success rate of CDOs.


Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) continue to engage with the board of directors on various workplace and workforce topics. To understand which issues are shaping these conversations, this article captures insights from 15 CHROs at leading organizations. One excerpt includes: ESG. A CHRO of a global food manufacturer said, “we’ve become more intentional in terms of corporate direction and strategic direction across our ESG metrics. We aligned with the board about the measures and targets for the next five years. In some cases, we’ve aligned 30 to 40 percent of senior leaders’ pay to achieving ESG targets.” Other examples are provided. In case you missed it, I am resharing this PDF, 18 Questions Chief Human Resources and Their Teams Might Be Asked About Talent. The PDF includes a few questions the board may want to know related to overall talent strategy, succession planning, and diversity and inclusion. Two example questions include: What are our most critical talent risks, and what are we doing to mitigate these risks? Do we have a workforce plan forecasting our talent needs now and in the next few years? CHROs can reference both documents for ideas on workplace and workforce topics to cover with their board.

Employers are increasingly integrating skills into their talent practices—from workforce planning to hiring. Regarding hiring, a segment of firms is removing academic degree requirements and other criteria (e.g., specific experiences, credentials) from certain job postings in favor of a more skills-based approach. While these efforts are a step in the right direction, shifting to skills-based talent practices is difficult and takes time. This article describes a few challenges organizations have faced in transitioning to skills-based hiring. It also highlights a few tactics for overcoming these challenges. As shown in Exhibit 2, a few common challenges include: 1) sourcing (e.g., developing talent pipelines for job seekers without 4-year college degrees, 2) validating skills (screening resumes of non-degree holders and identifying relevant skills indicators; developing and implementing skills-focused interview assessments). Another foundational barrier that I see to implementing skills-based practices is that many organizations still lack a common language or taxonomy for describing and discussing skills. Establishing a common skills language can help organizations overcome barriers to skill-based talent practices while accelerating the transition.

A matrixed structure—where teams report to multiple leaders or where there is dual or multiple managerial accountability and responsibility—is used in many organizations. But for a matrix structure to be effective, several factors must be considered. This article provides four elements of a matrix structure that must be in balance. The four components include: 1) where people report in the organization (e.g., straight line or dotted line), 2) what roles and incentives they have (e.g., clarity on decision-making, performance metrics, and rewards, 3) how rules and processes govern the organization (e.g., operating principles and best practices that provide established norms), and 4) who becomes a leader (e.g., mindsets and skills to thrive in a collaborative, dynamic structure). For example, regarding where people report, many organizations setting up a matrix reporting structure often designate a straight-line and dotted-line reporting relationships—which can unintentionally set up a hierarchy in the matrix. The authors recommend starting with two straight reporting lines. Concerning mindsets, leaders must make four mindset shifts—one of which is to use influence rather than authority as the primary way to get things done. Other ideas are discussed on the skills that are essential to thrive in a matrix organization.

Organizations increasingly recognize the value of considering nontraditional candidates for their open jobs. These nontraditional candidates might come from functions, industries, and educational backgrounds that differ from those typically sought after in a given role. But despite these candidates often having the skills and desire to take on a new role, some managers resist hiring or promoting these candidates. This Gartner article provides five tactics recruiters can use to influence hiring managers’ receptivity to hiring nontraditional candidates. Tactic 4 involves the recruiter influencing the managers to get diverse inputs (e.g., peers of the role, other leadership team members, etc.) to inform the needs and criteria of the role. And given that 68% of hiring managers say they have low or medium familiarity with the role they are hiring for, and 72% have never worked in that role, the tactic of multiple inputs could enable the more effective utilization of nontraditional candidates. With this as the backdrop, two talent measures that I believe can be helpful are: 1) the percentage of roles (or opportunities) that were filled with someone deemed a nontraditional candidate and 2) the success rate (e.g., high performance) of those nontraditional candidates that were placed in the role or opportunity. The data could help build a compelling business case for why other managers might want to consider nontraditional talent for their work opportunities.

As diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to be a top priority for many organizations, the demand for chief diversity officers (CDO) has increased. But as noted in this article, there has also been a great deal of turnover in this role. This in-depth article goes into reasons that are holding CDOs back from reaching their potential. It also offers tactics for improving the success rate of CDOs. At the most fundamental level, organizations should ask three critical questions before they appoint anyone to the CDO role: 1) What’s the exact mission and scope of the role, and how will its impact be measured? 2) Where will the role sit within the organizational structure to best position it to succeed? 3) What’s the right talent profile for the role regarding knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience? Regarding a CDO’s talent profile, a few of the article’s charts cover the skills and experiences required of a CDO. As a bonus, I am resharing a 52-page Josh Bersin report — Elevating Equity: The Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion — that includes an analysis of over 80 DEI practices correlated with various financial, business, and workforce outcomes.


A 20-page report on how organizations can tailor their talent narrative to various stakeholders while still drawing from a single source of truth.


This past week, there were 26 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:

To learn how to gain access to all 26 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 announcements and site functionality.



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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.