Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #176

Microsoft's new AI in the workplace report, succession planning in a high-disruption environment, 10 talent risks template, 4-day workweek study, and DEI.

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Welcome to this week’s issue of Talent Edge Weeklybringing together insights about work, the workplace, and the workforce from various sources.

A shout-out to Alan Richard, Head of Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Learning, and DEI for Enel North America — for referring new subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly. Thank you, Alan, for your support of this newsletter!

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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 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.


AI in the workplace is one of the most prominent and highly discussed topics in organizations today. To shed light on this topic, this newly released 29-page Microsoft Work Trend Report explores the opportunities and challenges associated with AI’s integration into the workplace. Based on a survey of 31,000 global workers, labor trends from the LinkedIn Economic Graph, and trillions of aggregated Microsoft 365 productivity signals, the findings point to three primary insights for business and HR leaders as they look to adopt AI quickly and responsibly. 1) Digital debt is detracting from innovation. The inflow of data, emails, meetings, and notifications has outpaced humans’ ability to process it all. Microsoft reports that 64 percent of employees need more time and energy to complete their work. Every minute spent managing this digital debt is time spent on something other than the creative work that leads to innovation. 2) There’s a new AI-employee alliance. While 49 percent of workers surveyed say they are worried that AI will replace their jobs, 70 percent are more eager for AI to help lessen their workload. 3) Every employee needs AI aptitude. For workers to reap the benefits of AI in boosting their productivity and alleviating their workload, they will need skills that help them integrate AI into their day-to-day work (e.g., Generative AI, how to write great prompts, etc.). Has your organization identified the skills its workforce will need to unlock the potential of AI and worker collaboration? Does it have a plan for developing and hiring for these skills? Other ideas are discussed. In case you missed it last week, here is a playlist of 5 articles and resources on AI in the workplace.

Succession planning has long been a top priority for many organizations. Still, we are often reminded how executives can fall short of performance expectations within 12-18 months of taking on a new role. One report by DDI, Leadership Transitions Report 2021, shows that nearly half of externally hired executives fail in their roles; the numbers are only slightly better (35%) for internally promoted executives. And while developing and retaining the best successors has always been hard to do, it has become increasingly challenging for organizations to implement in rapidly changing environments faced with disruption. This new Gartner article provides ideas for building robust leadership pipelines amid disruption and continuous change. One case study involves Bridgestone, which uses two strategies for implementing adaptable approaches to succession planning. 1) Before discussing who should fill a critical role, Bridgestone’s HR and business leaders analyze the role and consider making changes based on current and future business needs. They ask questions such as, “If the person in this critical role leaves, would we keep this role?” and, “Knowing our strategy and future goals, do we need this role as it looks today?” If a change is needed, Bridgestone’s leaders eliminate the role, split it up based on potential successors’ current capabilities, or redesign it based on strategic goals. 2) Bridgestone also creates pools of potential successors for roles duplicated across multiple business units (e.g., multiple business units may have a vice president of finance.) These cross-business talent pools increase the number of available successors for a given role, which makes it easier to fill critical roles if someone leaves suddenly. As a bonus, I am resharing this one-page template I created that has 10 succession metrics. This reference can be used as a starting point for determining the vital few metrics an organization will use to measure its succession effectiveness.

HR leaders continue to build their organizations’ capability in detecting and acting on various talent and workforce-related risks. As leaders take a more expansive view of the different risks that can pose threats to their organizations, they can use this template to think through 10 talent-workforce risks. For each of the 10 risks in column 1 (e.g., Misalignment of talent with business strategy: talent strategy does not fully align with the company’s strategic objectives and business strategy; Talent shortage: difficulty in finding and attracting skilled workers with the necessary qualifications and experience), put a checkmark in column 2 if you believe this is a critical risk for your organization. Clicking the box will automatically insert a check mark. Use column 3 to insert notes for high-risk areas. While this template does not include all talent and workforce risks, it will help you think through many of them that may require attention for your organization. I have also included a blank template if you want to add other talent and workforce risks beyond the 10 already listed. It is important to note that this post is not about "filling out templates." It's about integrating these considerations into your organization's talent management so you can convert risks into opportunities. The template is a tool to help. As bonus references, I am resharing two resources to help you think through various types of talent and workforce risks: 1) Deloitte’s article, Elevating the Focus on Human Risk—which is part of the 2023 Deloitte Human Capital Report and 2) MercerMarsh Benefits report, People Risk: Resetting Priorities to Manage Risks for Workforce and Business Resilience.

Employee well-being is a top priority for many organizations. At the same time, firms seek to increase productivity and attract and retain talent. As organizations consider various tactics to achieve these goals, one strategy a segment of firms is considering is a 4-day workweek. The 4-day work week is an alternative work schedule in which employees work a standard full-time workload (typically 40 hours) over four days instead of the traditional five days while maintaining their usual salary and benefits. And according to a recent study by a team of social scientists from the University of Cambridge, working with academics from Boston College, findings suggest potential benefits to a 4-day work week. Research involving 61 UK organizations over 6 months starting in June 2022 found that a 20 percent reduction in working time with no loss of pay led to significant drops in workforce stress and sick days, an increase in worker retention, and a much better work-life balance for most employeesall while ‘key business metrics’ were met. While the findings suggest potential benefits of a 4-day work week, it’s important to note that implementation may not be suitable for all industries, organizations, and company cultures. Factors such as customer demands, operational requirements, and job roles need to be considered before adopting this work model. Nonetheless, this research provides one empirical study from which organizations can draw when evaluating this alternative work arrangement.

As pointed out in my one-page summary on 2023 talent priorities according to seven sources, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continue to be a key focus area for many organizations. However, one study found that only 4 percent of organizations consider People with Disabilities (PwD) as part of their DEI initiatives. The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines those for whom it advocates as “people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” And according to this new article by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), most companies report that their workforce includes relatively few employees with disabilities: just 4 to 7 percent on average. However, a BCG survey of nearly 28,000 employees in 16 countries (across all regions and various industries) found that roughly 25 percent of people said they have a disability or health condition that limits a major life activity. The disparity between the self-identification and employer-reported numbers of PwD suggests that employees with disabilities significantly underdisclose to their employers, perhaps fearing stigma or a negative impact on their job security or promotion prospects. One impact is that employers are missing a large-scale opportunity to enable a quarter of their workforce to bring their full selves to work. The article provides ideas on how firms can significantly improve feelings of inclusion for PwD through targeted actions: investing in employee-centric policies and programs, providing mentorship programs, and offering reasonable accommodations. As a bonus, this Gartner resource provides CHROs and DEI leaders with a one-page editable template (p.7) that can help capture a statement of DEI strategy, metrics, and risks to avoid.


A newly released 296-page report covering various aspects of how jobs and skills will evolve over the next five years.


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:

  • Movado Group, Inc. (PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY) [NYSE: MOV]—the designer and distributor of watches and jewelry— announced the appointment of Michelle Kennedy to SVP, Human Resources. Previously, the position was held by Vivian D’Elia, who has been with Movado Group for close to 30 years, and will remain with the Company as an advisor to support the transition until her retirement at the beginning of July. Most recently, Ms. Kennedy served as Williams-Sonoma’s SVP of HR with a focus on Talent Organizational Development, Internal communications and retail operations and was with the company for 12 years.

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 +2300 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 Hudson's Bay, LinkedIn, and Microsoft.  



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

Offers ideas on how organizations can begin to move towards skills-based compensation and reward structures.

If so, you can check out issue #174, which includes 15 of the most popular resources from April. 


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Have a great week!



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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