Talent Edge Weekly - Issue # 161

Covers Mercer's 2023 Global Talent Trends study, 10 Q&As about skills-based organizations, pay transparency, employee development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Welcome to this week’s issue of Talent Edge Weekly bringing together insights about work, the workplace, and the workforce. Read by human resources practitioners, business leaders, and others interested in the world of work.

Special shout out to Tracy Dodd, EVP, Chief People Officer at VNS Health for 3 referrals last week! Thank you, Tracy, for your support of this newsletter and for recommending it to your colleagues and network!

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


Brian Heger is an internal 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.


Below is a glance at the content of this week's issue. My detailed summaries of these resources can be found in the section after this one. However, you can click the quick links below if you want to go directly to the source without seeing my summary and bonus resources—but I recommend that you read the summaries!

  • Global Talent Trends 2022–2023 Study | Mercer | An 88-page report covering various talent practices and workplace topics such as workforce planning, employee experience, compensation, employee preferences, employee wellbeing, skills-based organizations, and more.

  • The Complicated Effects of Pay Transparency | Harvard Business Review | Addresses empirical studies suggesting that pay transparency—while removing inequities—can have unintended and undesirable effects if not managed effectively.

And don't forget to check out the 2023 Job Cuts and Layoffs Tracker, Chief HR Officer Hire of the Week, Most Viewed Resource from last week's issue, and the Tweet of the week!


As organizations continue to translate workplace priorities into impactful talent practices, this 88-page report by Mercer includes various insights. Although this 2023 version of the report contains points raised in their 2022 study, many of the insights are highly relevant. For example, with regard to workforce planning, one way organizations are addressing skills shortages is by “bending” the talent supply and demand curve; they are decreasing talent demand by deconstructing jobs into tasks, automating parts of jobs, redesigning jobs, and redesigning work models to make it easier to find people to do the tasks needed. They are increasing talent supply by accessing non-traditional talent pools, reskilling/upskilling and redeploying existing talent, rebalancing the employee value proposition to attract new talent, and considering co-opetition and talent sharing. (p.21). Concerning compensation and inflation, 77% of surveyed organizations are adjusting their rewards approach to respond to the inflationary environment. A few tactics they are using are a) implementing a bonus/pay adjustment across the entire workforce, b) providing a cost-of-living adjustment or other wage increases in most impacted markets, and c) using bonuses instead of base salary to increase total comp without long-term commitments (see p. 37). As organizations rethink their compensation practices in general, page 38 includes a few non-conventional suggestions, such as letting employees decide their compensation mix (e.g., percentage of at-risk versus guaranteed pay, ability to pay for additional days off.).

Many organizations continue to make the transition to skills-based talent practices. As talent practitioners think through the various aspects of this transition, I have curated this one-page summary—comprised of 10 questions and answers— from Deloitte's 101-page report, Building Tomorrow’s Skills-based Organization (SBO): Jobs Aren’t Working Anymore. The one page-summary addresses questions such as: How many organizations have successfully transitioned to being a SBO? How effective are organizations at classifying and organizing skills into a skills taxonomy or framework? What are the top three barriers business and HR executives cite as obstacles to skills-based talent practices? Which areas are organizations starting with when introducing skills-based talent practices? What is the best way to organize work beyond jobs, so that employees and their skills can flow more easily to the work where they are most needed? What tangible, practical things can organizations do to start their journey to a skills-based organization? The one-page summary includes the question, answer, page number from which the answer was sourced, and a link to the full report. If there are other questions you would like to see answered on skill-based talent practices, please submit them here, and I will address them in future issues of this newsletter.

Pay transparency continues to be a hot workplace topic as various laws are enacted to increase the visibility of organizations’ pay practices. While there are varying levels of pay transparency—ranging from openly sharing information about an organization’s pay scales and compensation policies to allowing employees to see the pay of their co-workers—one goal of pay transparency is to promote greater fairness and equity in the workplace. This new article addresses empirical studies suggesting that pay transparency—while removing inequities—can have unintended and undesirable effects if not managed effectively. These potential impacts include: 1) lowering the overall compensation of the broader population of employees, even though it elevates pay for the inequitably underpaid, 2) pay that is flatter, more equal, and less performance-based, 3) top performers being more likely to exit, as they search for organizations more willing to reward their higher performance. With this as the backdrop, the authors note, “how transparency is enacted, therefore, is critical to ensuring that the organization and its employees all benefit from it.” HR leaders and their teams will need to think through how they help their organizations use pay transparency to generate greater fairness in pay while reducing its unintended impact on other important outcomes. As a bonus, you can also check out the HBR article, The Unintended Consequences of Pay Transparency.

This 40-page paper addresses the question: how does developing talent affect firms' financial returns and other organizational outcomes? Based on an analysis of +1800 large companies with more than $100 million in annual revenue spanning various sectors in 15 countries, organizations were sorted based on two factors: 1) how much they focus on developing human capital—measured by internal moves as a share of all moves, average training hours per full-time employee, and an overall organizational health index survey and 2) whether they financially outperform (e.g., profitability) their sector peers. While four subsets of organizations emerged, one segment stands out: People + Performance Winners (P+P Winners). This segment excels at creating opportunities for employees to build skills while consistently clearing the highest bar for financial performance. P+P Winners are not only consistent through the normal ups and downs of business cycles, but are a) more resilient in times of crisis, b) are talent magnets, and c) have attrition rates almost five percentage points lower than the second-highest performing segment. As firms communicate the business impact of their talent initiatives, I am resharing this 20-page report by The Conference Board, Telling Your Human Capital Story. It provides ideas on how organizations can tailor the messages of their human capital story to different stakeholder groups—from investors to prospective employees.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) remain a top priority for many organizations. As pointed out in my one-page summary on 2023 talent priorities according to seven sources, several sources identified DEI as a priority. However, making meaningful progress in DEI requires organizations to not only prioritize it, but also to implement practices that have an impact. To help practitioners identify which research-supported practices enable DEI, I have shared several resources, including a 1) 61-page DEI report by World Economic Forum that provides five success factors common across DEI efforts, 2) a 50-page report by the Center for Employment Equity with six chapters (each addressing a particular DEI topic), and 3) a 62-page report by the Wharton School of Business that examines the relationship between seven categories of DEI practices and twelve workplace outcomes (e.g., burnout). To add to this list of research-based practices, this 64-page Harvard Business School paper investigates the question: how does information about the diversity of a potential employer’s workforce affect individuals’ job-seeking behavior? Results show that disclosing diversity information (e.g., a diversity score) in job postings increases the click-through rates of jobseekers. Other findings are discussed. Organizations can use these four research-based resources to determine which practices have the greatest impact on DEI.


A 36-paper that shares ideas on the profile of a "CHRO Growth Executive" and the conditions that enable this type of Chief Human Resources Officer to maximize business impact. You can also view this post here on LinkedIn.


This past week, 19 new Chief Human Resources Officer announcements were 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:

  • Apple (CALIFORNIA) [NASDAQ: AAP] announced that it has named Carol Surface as the company's first-ever Chief People Officer. Ms. Surface will officially start at Apple in March and will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. As part of this change, Apple is realigning the role of Deirdre O’Brien, a 30-year Apple veteran who has been Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People since 2019. Ms. Surface joins Apple after nearly a decade at the medical device company Medtronic, where she was most recently EVP, CHRO. Surface spent three and a half years in that same role at Best Buy as well as over a decade in human resources at PepsiCo.

To learn how to gain access to all 19 detailed Chief Human Resources Officer announcements from this past week and +2000 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.

Here you can see the latest updates from a segment of organizations that have announced job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023. Recruiters, search firms, and hiring managers that are trying to attract and recruit candidates for their own open jobs can use this resource to identify opportunities for recruiting talent from organizations affected by layoffs. A few firms that announced job cuts this past week include Baxter International, eBay, Disney, GoDaddy, News Corp., and Yahoo, to name a few.



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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.

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