Talent Edge Weekly - Issue # 168

Future of recruiting, performance management, high-potential identification, employee listening strategy, and "ghost jobs."

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

A special shout-out to Arnold Dhanesar, Chief Talent & Learning Officer, Heineken — for referring new subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly. Thank you, Arnold, for your support of this newsletter!

If you are not subscribed to Talent Edge Weekly and want to receive this FREE newsletter every Sunday, 6 PM EST, enter your email below.

Have a great week, 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. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, Twitter, and brianheger.com


Below is a glance at the content of this week's issue. My detailed summaries of these resources are in the section after this one.

And don't forget to check out the 2023 Job Cuts and Layoff Tracker.


As the recruiting and hiring landscape continue to shift, this 29-page report shares 17 predictions that will influence talent acquisition practices. The insights are based on interviews with global talent leaders, surveys of thousands of recruiters, and analysis of billions of data points generated on LinkedIn. The report is broken into five sections, including 1) The Role of recruiting (e.g., recruiting will have more influence over what candidates get paid; Generative AI will help recruiters complete time-consuming tasks, such as job descriptions and personalizing messages to candidates). 2) Economic uncertainty (e.g., employers will hire more contract workers to hedge against uncertainty). 3) Employer branding (e.g., companies will keep a closer eye on what candidates want most, forcing recruiters to recalibrate their pitches to candidates). 4) Skills-first hiring (e.g., employers will continue to embrace skills-first hiring — valuing a candidate’s skills over more superficial signals like an impressive alma mater or previous employer). 5) Internal mobility and upskilling (e.g., business leaders will increasingly recognize the value of filling open roles with internal talent; this will force firms to understand their workers’ skills better; firms that get this right will shine a light on overlooked and “hidden” talent). Other implications are discussed for each of the five areas. For an additional resource on generative AI applications across various HR areas, check out this previously shared article by Josh Bersin.

This newly released report provides insights into the practices organizations use (and don’t use) today in performance management (PM). Based on feedback from over 300 companies worldwide representing all sizes, the practices are organized into five sections: goal setting, coaching and feedback, reviewing, training, and technology. A few findings include: 1) 88% of companies have redesigned their PM in the last four years, and 50% have done so in the previous two years alone. This finding implies that there is still dissatisfaction with PM despite all the investments organizations have made in improving PM over the past several years. 2) 90% of responding organizations use ratings. This finding is especially surprising considering the narrative over the past few years about organizations moving away from ratings. 3) The 5-rating scale remained the dominant choice for ratings, far outpacing the combined users of 3-point and 4-point scales. 4) Nearly 50% of employees are also asked to assign themselves an overall performance rating. 5) Direct reports and peers provide input to results and behaviors at 15% – 20% of companies. 5) Only 17% of organizations force a rating distribution, but more than half engage in some form of rating calibration. 6) 58% of organizations recommend 3 – 5+ performance conversations and 64% of companies link their development planning process to their PM process. Several other findings and insights are provided that can be used as ONE of many inputs for informing an organization’s PM practices.

Many organizations conduct a talent review process—where one goal is to accurately identify (and develop) employees with the greatest leadership potential. However, determining leadership potential can be difficult and is fraught with challenges, ranging from biases to invalid selection criteria. To help organizations more effectively differentiate “potential,” this article by Allan Church distinguishes three categories of potential: 1) General potential. All employees have the potential to grow at some level and should be developed to reach their potential. However, this type of potential should be distinct from more exclusive aspects of potential, including 2) Destination potential, which is tied explicitly to talent management and succession planning efforts. It reflects a preparedness for a targeted senior leadership role or destination. 3) Leadership potential is the clear indicator or predictor of future leadership effectiveness at higher levels in the company. Allan points to a strong body of research showing there are three critical dimensions on which leadership potential criteria are based: 1) Foundational (refers to personality characteristics future leaders must have, derailers to avoid, and “smarts” needed), 2) Growth (refers to indicators of learning orientation, capability for growth, and the drive and energy required at more senior levels), and 3) Career (refers to standard leadership competencies and key functional skills required at higher levels of leadership). For additional information on this 3-component framework and the research behind it, check out the Leadership Potential Blueprint by Allan and Rob Silzer.

Most organizations collect employee feedback to understand employees’ opinions, concerns, and needs. And while the annual employee engagement survey is still used to solicit feedback in many organizations, most acknowledge that they need more than surveys to understand employee sentiment. As such, firms are increasingly using a multi-pronged approach to receiving, processing, and responding to real-time employee feedback. This 18-page paper by i4cp (requires you to provide some information to i4cp for access) provides ideas for building a high-impact employee listening strategy. It includes a section that identifies five sources of employee listening that organizations often overlook or undervalue, including 1) comments on public employer review websites, 2) existing engagement and culture survey data, 3) exit surveys, 4) ongoing pulses or check-in surveys, and 5) reactions to CEO communications, town halls, and more. Regarding #1 (comments on public employer review websites) and #2 (existing engagement and culture survey data), organizations can use Natural Language Processing (NLP) engines to scale their ability to analyze and understand narrative employee reviews without conducting a new survey. The paper also includes an employee listening integration diagnostic to help organizations identify underutilized opportunities for employee listening. For more ideas on employee listening, check out the book: Employee Surveys and Sensing: Challenges and Opportunities (The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Professional Practice Series).

The candidate experience—the total of all interactions a job seeker has with a company during the hiring process—is vital to a firm’s employment brand and ability to attract top talent. And while one of the first touchpoints of the candidate experience is the initial job posting and application process, I increasingly hear of cases where candidates learn that they have applied on a “ghost job” a position listed as available for hire but where the job has already been filled, or the company has no intention of hiring anyone for that position. This article references a survey of over 1,000 hiring managers (admittedly a small sample size) that found: 1) 27% reported having job postings up for over four months, 2) Among those who said they advertised job postings they weren’t actively trying to fill, close to half said they kept the ads up to give the impression the company was growing, 3) One-third of the managers who said they advertised jobs they weren’t trying to fill said they kept the listings up to placate overworked employees. Despite the small sample size of this survey, the findings underscore how the candidate experience can be tarnished when candidates feel they have wasted time completing applications, recording answers to automated job interview questions, etc., for a job that doesn’t exist or has been filled. How many of your “open jobs” are truly open? The answer might reveal opportunities for improving your candidate experience.


An in-depth article that shares three determinants that disproportionately impact employee wellbeing: 1) Leadership — how leaders behave, 2) Design of work—how you are organized, and 3) Ways of working—how you get the work done. You can also view this post on LinkedIn and share it with your network!


This past week, 17 new Chief Human Resources Officer announcements were posted on CHROs on the Go a digital platform subscription that provides the easiest way to stay informed about CHRO hires, promotions, and resignations.

This week’s CHRO highlight is:

  •  Hearst (NEW YORK)—a leading global, diversified information, services and media company with operations in 40 countries—has appointed Rachel Kay Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, effective immediately. For the past four years, Ms. Kay was Hearst’s Vice President of Talent. Prior to Hearst, she spent 15 years at McKinsey & Co. Her last position with McKinsey & Co. was Lead, Partner of the Talent Division.

Do you want to join hundreds of others getting the EDGE each week in knowing which CHROs are being hired, promoted, and resigning? If so:

Currently, there are +2000 CHROs announcements on CHROs on the Go, with an average of 25 new announcements added each week!

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 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 Accenture and Indeed.



Highlights a previously shared Talent Edge Weekly resource that received many views and engagement!

A 61-page report that shares five success factors common across the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives that yield the most significant, scalable, quantifiable, and sustained impact.

If so, you can check out 12 of the most popular resources from February. Topics include CHRO as growth executive, workforce risks, learning & development, skills, employee wellbeing, and more!


Partial View of Recommendations. Click Image to See All Books

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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.