Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #189

Generative AI and the future of work, building wellness into work, reducing information overload, high potential employee identification, and productivity as a measure of performance.


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Here’s a glance at this week’s content. A deep dive is in the section that follows.

Also included are the 2023 Job Cuts and Layoff Tracker, the Chief HR Officer Hire of the Week, and more.

Let’s dive in.


Note: Please provide attribution to Talent Edge Weekly and link to this issue when using this content in a newsletter, social media, website, etc.,

This new 76-page report provides a comprehensive review of the impact of generative AI on work, the workplace, and workforce. A few highlights include: 1) By 2030, Generative AI has the potential to automate up to 30% of the current work hours in the US economy. 2) These changes are expected to enhance work processes for STEM, creative, business, and legal professionals rather than leading to widespread job eliminations. 3) Job losses will primarily affect office support, customer service, and food service job categories. 4) Approximately 12 million occupational transitions may occur in the US by 2030 because of generative AI, with lower-wage workers facing up to 14 times more transitions than their higher-wage counterparts. Women are 1.5 times more likely to seek new occupations. To tap into this emerging talent pool, organizations will need to adopt a more inclusive candidate evaluation process—removing unnecessary credential requirements, embracing candidates with unconventional career paths, and evaluating individuals based on their capacity to learn, intrinsic capabilities, and transferable skills. The report highlights that more than half of all role transitions involve a significant acquisition of new skills, underscoring the potential for organizations to leverage workers’ transferable skills for different work opportunities. Several other topics are covered, such as how organizations can tap into historically underutilized talent pools. With this as the backdrop, I am resharing this bonus 74-page report by Harvard Business School and Accenture titled Hidden Workers: Untapped Potential. 

Employee wellbeing is crucial for individual, team, and organizational performance, as well as engagement and retention. However, despite ongoing efforts by organizations to support their employees' wellbeing through resources and programs, employee wellbeing still has significant room for improvement. Deloitte's Wellbeing at Work Survey revealed that many employees still struggle with exhaustion (52%), stress (49%), and feeling overwhelmed (43%). And, over three-quarters of surveyed executives mistakenly believe that their workforce's wellbeing has improved. To address this issue, a new Gartner article offers ideas for Chief HR Officers (CHROs) and other leaders to promote wellbeing by integrating it into work. Table 1 presents questions CHROs can use as starting points to identify opportunities to integrate wellness practices into work, along with examples. For instance, one question is: Do employees have the capacity for urgent but unplanned work? A suggested action could be: Build unstructured time into project timelines so employees have time to address unforeseen risks. By incorporating wellness into work rather than treating it as an add-on, organizations can increase the probability of enabling sustainable employee wellbeing and performance. The article also highlights Bancoagrícola, a banking company that utilizes a wellness survey to inform ways of working, measuring both preventative indicators and workplace wellbeing enablers. As a bonus, I am resharing my playlist of five resources on employee wellbeing.

Over two years ago, I shared a Fortune article titled, Why Cognitive Load Could Be the Most Important Employee Experience Metric in the Next 10 Years. Cognitive load (CL) is a theory suggesting that excessive information processing hampers task performance and learning. Increased CL can negatively impact decision-making, performance, wellbeing, and employee experience. Today, with growing digital data and processing demands (e.g., emails, chat tools, video conferences), employees are more likely to experience cognitive load. This new article by Employee Experience Magazine offers an overview of information overload in organizations, its root causes, detrimental effects on individuals, teams, and organizations, and strategies for reducing it. One approach for reducing cognitive load is to practice thoughtful information sharing, such as encouraging colleagues to refrain from CCing and BCCing when not necessary, and avoid sending “FYI” messages altogether. How can you and your team mitigate the harmful effects of information overload? Should you change how you share information, what type of information you share, when the information is shared, and with whom? These questions could make for a fruitful discussion during your next team meeting, and implementing the answers might help to simultaneously boost employee productivity, performance, wellbeing, and the overall employee experience.

Last week, I reshared a paper by the Talent Strategy Group, Six Steps to Great Talent Reviews. The article addresses ways to overcome challenges to executing effective talent reviews, such as overly complex processes, vague definitions of potential, and no follow-up, to name a few. In response to the article, I have received requests for additional resources on one aspect of talent reviews: high-potential identification. Specifically, many practitioners are reevaluating how they assess potential in their organizations. This one-page PDF includes a playlist of five resources from three thought leaders on the topic: Allan Church, Rob Silzer, and Marc Effron. Sample questions explored in these resources 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? 5) What are optimal “number of boxes” should be used during a talent review to categorize performance/potential? These resources will help practitioners critically evaluate how they measure potential in their organizations by drawing from the science and research on this topic.

Organizations employ various measures to gauge performance, with productivity being a traditional measure. While definitions and measurements of productivity differ among organizations, one assumption is that higher productivity involves reducing inputs while increasing output. However, this new article highlights the shortcomings of relying solely on input-output or “do more with less” productivity metrics. The authors, including Talent Edge Weekly subscriber Sue Cantrell, advocate for organizations to rethink their productivity measures beyond output and efficiency. The article outlines several limitations of traditional productivity metrics, such as 1) Ignoring Knowledge and Invisible Work: With technology enabling more knowledge work and open-ended job models, many workers perform tasks beyond their formal job scope, which may not be adequately captured in productivity measures. 2) Exclusion of Important Contributors: As the number of external contributors (e.g., contractors, freelancers, etc.) continues to expand in many organizations, traditional productivity metrics may fail to capture the contributions of these external workers, leading to an inaccurate view of organizational performance. Considering these limitations, the authors propose a shift from productivity-focused metrics to focusing on both business outcomes (e.g., web traffic increase) and human outcomes (e.g., well-being and personal growth). Several other ideas are discussed on how organizations can rethink their measures of performance.


This report provides HR benchmarks gathered from around 200 HR organizations across major industries, revenue sizes, organizational scales, and geographic regions. The benchmarks are categorized into three key metrics: (1) HR function spend as a % of revenue, (2) HR function spend per employee served, and (3) HR productivity ratios.


Here is my tracker, which includes announcements from a segment of organizations that have announced job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023.

A few firms that announced job cuts this past week include:

  • Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB). Will reduce its headcount by 1,000 by 2025—an 11.5% reduction of the workforce.

  • Funko (NASDAQ: FNKO). The company known for its tiny toys, announced it will lay off between 180–200 employees, totaling between 12% and 13% of its workforce.

  • Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA). Is cutting 2% to 3% of its jobs through layoffs and buyouts as it looks to trim costs.

Click here or the image below to access all listed announcements from 2023.

Partial view of the tracker


Wayfair (BOSTON, MASS) [NYSE: W]—the online furniture seller— has moved its Chief People Oficer, Paul Toms, into the role of Chief Marketing Officer as the company looks to bolster its brand after a rocky post-pandemic period. Toms succeeds CMO Bob Sherwin, who decided to leave the company. Toms has worked at the Boston-based retailer for more than 15 years in various roles, overseeing company brands including Joss & Main and AllModern. He was named Chief People Officer in 2022. He is succeeded in that role by the company’s Global Head of Central Talent, Ryan Gilchrist.  READ MORE

Paul Toms

Ryan Gilchrist

  • If you want access to +2500 announcements (and growing) of CHROs hired, promoted, and resigning, join CHROs on the Go.

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  • For a complimentary PDF that provides information on 12 CHROs who were hired or promoted from April through June 2023, click here.



Provides four steps to break down roles into a group of tasks and then analyze those tasks to determine the best workforce strategies. Figure 1 on page 37 shows five criteria that can be used to assess a role’s “composability”—the degree to which it can be broken down into tasks.


Did you miss the “Best of June” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #184, which includes 15 of the best resources from June. 


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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.

Talent Edge Weekly is written by Brian Heger, an internal human resources practitioner with a Fortune 150 organization. Brian holds responsibilities for Strategic Talent and Workforce Planning. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, Twitter, and brianheger.com