Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #173

10 business shifts with talent implications, high-potential identification criteria, the board's oversight of employee voice, people analytics questions, and succession planning.

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 Susan Ranft, Executive Director, Human Resources, Johnson Controls — for referring new subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly. Thank you, Susan, for your support of this newsletter!

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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.

  • The State of Organizations 2023 Report | McKinsey & Company | A newly released 92-page report that shares 10 organizational shifts businesses face today—all of which have implications for talent, leadership, and culture.

  • High-Potential Employee Identification Playlist | Brian Heger | Provides four resources to inform an organization's criteria for determining different types of employee potential.

  • The Board’s Oversight of Employee Voice | Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | Shares an overview of how boards of directors are increasingly interested in employee voice—the perspectives, interests, and needs of the workforce—and how this need can be met.

  • 100 Questions You Can Answer with People Analytics | McBassi & Company | Provides questions that CHROs and their teams can use when identifying which people analytics and metrics might provide the most valuable insights to inform actions and decisions.

  • Succession Metrics Tracking Template | brianheger.com | A one-page editable PDF that provides 10 succession planning metrics for which organizations can document a baseline, set desired targets, and track progress.

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


This newly released 92-page report shares insights on 10 organizational shifts businesses face today—all of which have implications for talent, leadership, and culture. The shifts, which are summarized on pages 6-7, impact talent areas such as employee value proposition, talent attraction and retention, hybrid and remote work, and diversity and inclusion, to name a few. As I reviewed the report, three shifts caught my attention regarding workforce planning. (#3) Applied AI in the workplace —organizations report using an average of 3.8 AI capabilities (e.g., natural language generation, computer vision) in 2022, which is double the 1.9 used in 2018. This shift raises the question: Have we identified the impacts of AI on how work is delivered in our organization and by whom? How do these impacts change the skills required of our workforce? (#1) Business shocks, crises, and rapidly changing business situations require quick responses from organizations. This point raises the question: Have we adequately planned for different scenarios we may face as an organization? How will our talent needs shift as a result of those scenarios? (#10) Efficiency is back at the top of the company agenda. This priority raises questions such as: In what ways are our organizational structure and spans of control leading to inefficiencies in the delivery of work? How are unclear roles and responsibilities slowing down decision-making and leading to duplication of work? How does a lack of understanding of the skills of our workforce undermine our ability to quickly redeploy talent? These are just a few questions that might help firms think through the practical implications of these shifts on workforce planning and aspects of talent management. Here is also a summary of the report if you do not want to go through the detailed 92-page report.

Many organizations conduct a talent review process—where one goal is to accurately identify (and develop) employees with the greatest leadership potential. However, identifying high-potential employees can be challenging for several reasons, ranging from a lack of objective criteria to limited visibility into these employees. Since I have received many inquiries on this topic, I've compiled this one-page playlist of four resources from three thought leaders: Allan Church, Rob Silzer, and Marc Effron. Sample questions explored include: 1) What are the indicators of potential? 2) Should we change how we define and measure potential to align with the changing nature of work and the workplace? 3) Are there different types of potential? 4) What are examples of how high-potential employees can go undetected? Regarding whether the indicators of potential have changed, Marc Effron notes that the core components of potential, such as intellect and personality, still have the same power to predict potential; intellect accounts for 35 to 45%, and personality covers up to 25% of variances in potential. One factor that has likely changed in some individuals is their “motivation to invest discretionary time at work.” While many practitioners might want to focus on “the number of boxes” or categories used for assessing potential in a talent review, what is most important is that the categories allow for differentiation and that the criteria used for determining potential are informed by the body of research on this topic.

As organizational investors and stakeholders emphasize talent as a critical driver of organizational success, boards of directors have become increasingly interested in human capital issues. A survey by Russell Reynolds Associates (referenced in this article) of 259 global board directors found that HR was the top-rated business/functional area to which the board wants increased exposure. As Chief Human Resources Officers continue to discuss a range of workplace and workforce topics with the board, this article provides ideas on one of those topics: employee voice—the perspectives, interests, and needs of the workforce. The article is organized into three sections:1) the impact of employee voice and how board members use it as strategic input for decision-making, 2) key mechanisms for capturing employee voice and the frequency with which it is leveraged at the board level, and 3) how board oversight of employee voice can be structured. One point made is that“employee voice cannot be merely thought of as a collection of insights and feedback. Organizations need to understand how employee experience and priorities reflect the company’s culture and fit into talent management strategies, policies, and business performance.” A few questions the board asks about employee voice are: What resources are devoted to collecting and analyzing relevant employee voice and employee experience data? What are the top priorities we are hearing from all employees? What are issues of importance from specific employee populations? How can management be held accountable for improving the employee experience? HR leaders can help the board integrate employee voice into their oversight practices and business decisions by answering these and other questions.

Many HR leaders rely on people analytics (PA) to help make informed decisions about the workforce and their organizations’ talent strategy. However, several barriers or challenges can impede the successful implementation of PA in an organization. These barriers range from lack of data, data privacy, and lack of technical expertise, to name a few. One fundamental barrier to PA is not first thinking through the questions the organization is trying to answer through data and analytics. With this as the backdrop, this reference includes 100 questions that PA can help answer. Example questions include: What are the most effective ways for us to improve the productivity of our sales force? How do the drivers of employee retention vary across different segments of our workforce (e.g., age, gender, country)? How should we modify our leadership development program to drive better business results? Is our employee rewards/recognition program more successful for certain functions? As a bonus resource, I am resharing this SAP paper, which includes another 100 questions spanning eight talent categories, ranging from recruiting, onboarding, and employee experience. HR leaders and their teams can use these resources to select a few questions they want their PA to help answer.

This one-page editable PDF includes 10 succession planning metrics that organizations can refer to as they track and measure the effectiveness of their succession management practices. While 10 metrics are provided, organizations can select the vital few (or include others) for which they want to track progress. Sample metrics include:% of non-ready now successors with a development plan; % of successors deemed high retention risk; % success rate of successors after assuming the role (e.g., one-year mark). For each metric, there is space to insert a baseline (what is your current state) and the desired state (where you want to be). Then, four additional columns can be used to help you track your organization’s progress over specific time periods. For the time periods, you can type in whatever time reference you want to use, such as quarterly, biannually, yearly, etc. Aside from providing a way to track your organization’s progress on succession management, you can use the information you collect to inform aspects of your organization’s talent strategy and narrative. The metrics included are intended to help generate ideas on the types of succession metrics you can track. They are not an exhaustive list, and they may not be the right metrics for your organization. You should determine which talent outcomes you are trying to achieve and then identify the metrics (whether or not on this list) that are the best indicators of progress in those areas.


Shares ideas to inform multiple aspects of an organization’s talent narrative—such as actions the organization is taking to manage workforce and talent risks. You can also view this post on LinkedIn and share it with your network!


As part of CHROs on the Go a digital platform subscription that provides the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to stay informed about hires, promotions, and resignations in the Chief Human Resources Officer role21 new CHRO announcements were posted on the platform last week.

This week’s CHRO highlight is:

  • Inspire Brands (ATLANTA, GEORGIA)—a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 32,000 Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, and SONIC Drive-In locations worldwide—announced it has named Natalie Rothman as Chief People Officer. Rothman joins Inspire from Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), where she was EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, and oversaw all aspects of HR and team member development, including a focus on in-store team members.

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.

Click the link or table below to 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 Dropbox and Qualcomm.



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

Shares 9 articles from Deloitte’s 2023 human capital report. Topics range from skills-based talent practices to incorporating nontraditional workers into workforce plans and talent practices.

If so, you can check out issue #169, which includes 16 of the most popular resources from March. Topics include HR effectiveness, performance management, recruiting, skills, employee wellbeing, contingent workforce, and more!


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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.