Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #191

Remote work, increased pressures of the manager role, an ethical approach to employing contract workers, integrating workforce planning and organization design, and older workers.


Welcome to Talent Edge Weekly!

A special shout-out to Denise Hempe, Executive Director, HR at New York Blood Center Enterprises, for referring new subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly. Thank you, Denise, for your support of this newsletter!


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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.

As the remote work debate persists, organizations are redefining their expectations for on-site work. For instance, BlackRock has mandated employees to return to the office four days a week starting in September; Zoom is requiring those within 50 miles of a Zoom office to come in twice weekly; and AT&T has mandated 60,000 managers to work in person at one of nine locations. One catalyst for this shift is a growing concern regarding remote work’s impact on productivity. And with a recent Stanford study (still needs to be peer-reviewed) showing a 10% lower productivity in fully remote setups compared to in-person work, the concern about remote work could grow further. But as pointed out in this new report by The Conference Board, there are multiple competing objectives HR leaders must help their organizations consider in remote work decisions—weighing factors like retention, talent attraction, and employee wellbeing. Based on survey responses from 185 HR leaders, the report reveals that 71% of organizations mandating their on-site work policy reported difficulty retaining workers than those giving employees a choice about where to work. In response, 68% of organizations are considering or implementing strategies to increase on-site work, such as team-building events (62%), flexible hours (59%), relaxed dress codes (56%), and commuter benefits (35%). As organizations make remote work decisions, I am resharing my playlist of 5 resources on remote work to help leaders evaluate their decisions.

Managers play a significant role in influencing the engagement, retention, and performance of their teams. However, the increasing complexity and pressures of the manager role raise concerns about unrealistic demands placed on them by organizations. These demands not only affect managers' well-being and performance but also have a ripple effect on their teams and overall business outcomes. While skill-building investments are made to develop managers' capabilities, it alone is insufficient to make their jobs manageable. This Gartner paper proposes four HR actions to enhance the manageability of the manager role: resetting role expectations, rebuilding the manager pipeline, rewiring manager habits, and removing process hurdles (e.g. identifying and eliminating low-value tasks or extraneous process steps that burden managers and employees). The paper emphasizes that job manageability is 5x more effective than skill proficiency in improving manager effectiveness, potentially increasing overall manager effectiveness by up to 21%. Organizations focusing on skill-building AND job manageability can significantly enhance manager effectiveness. The paper includes an action plan with recommendations for immediate, 90-day, and 12-month steps to achieve manageable manager roles. As a bonus, here is a new HBR article, Managers Are Burned Out. Here’s How to Help Them Recharge.

Many organizations rely on external contributors, such as contractors, to meet their work needs. According to a recent article by the Brookings Institution on workforce ecosystems, external workers can comprise 30-50% of an organization’s entire workforce. As this trend continues, organizations must understand the benefits and risks that contract work presents to both them and contract workers. With this as the backdrop, this new HBR article offers ideas for organizations to consider. One risk is that contract workers often perform the same work as their directly employed counterparts, but they do so for lower pay, reduced benefits, job uncertainty, and fewer protections. Additionally, misclassifying workers as contractors when they should be classified as employees can lead to legal, reputational, and financial consequences. To mitigate these and other risks, six standards are proposed for organizations to adopt: 1) providing family-sustaining wages and benefits, 2) ensuring equal pay for equal work, 3) implementing workplace safety protocols and worker voice, 4) demanding equitable procurement practices, 5) offering pathways to full-time employment, and 6) being transparent about responsible contracting efforts. As a bonus, this supplemental 14-page PDF provides more information on these six standards.

Workforce planning (WP) remains a priority for organizations, but many practitioners still struggle with its implementation. A Gartner survey of Chief HR Officers reveals that only 28% feel confident in their organizations' WP approach. Mercer's 2022 Global Talent Trends study highlights WP as a top concern for business and HR leaders. Concurrently, organizations are embracing new forms of organizational design to keep up with the fast and changing nature of work. Although traditionally treated as separate disciplines, this new Deloitte article emphasizes the need for organizations to integrate WP and organization design (OrgD). OrgD aligns strategy with the operating model and structure, while WP anticipates talent needs, identifies gaps, and determines suitable tactics, such as buying, building, borrowing, or automation. The article showcases how integrating these practices can benefit organizations in various scenarios, including expansion, reorganization, and creating an agile structure. As a supplement to this article, here is my 2019 People+Strategy Journal article on workforce planning that I co-authored with Anisha Aulbach. While the article is a few years old, many insights can help practitioners think through aspects of their WP. And for more insights on OrgD, check out Rupert Morrison's book, Data-driven Organization Design: Delivering Perpetual Performance Gains Through the Organizational System.

This article discusses the changing demographics of the workforce, with an increasing number of older workers and the need for companies to adapt to their evolving needs and priorities. A few key points include: Aging workforce: Populations are aging, and work lives are lengthening. The proportion of older workers (55 and above) is growing significantly in developed countries, and this trend is expected to continue. In the Group of Seven countries (see Figure 1 below),workers age 55 and older will exceed 25% of the workforce by 2031, nearly 10 percentage points higher than in 2011, according to Bain analysis. Japan is the extreme case. By 2031, Japanese workers 55 and older will approach 40% of the workforce.” Motivations change with age: Worker motivations evolve with age, with attributes like interesting work and autonomy becoming more important around age 60. The article provides a few tactics on how organizations can adapt their approaches to talent management to include older workers and leverage their unique skills and motivations. Figure 7 shows 10 work preferences/priorities (e.g., compensation, interesting work, job security, etc.) and how they can vary across age groups. Organizations can use this information as one of several data points for informing strategies to recruit older workers. Other ideas are discussed.


This one-page PDF includes a playlist of five resources that explores questions such as: 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 is the optimal “number of boxes” that should be used during a talent review to categorize performance/potential? Does it even matter?


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:

  • CVS Health (NYSE: CVS). Plans to layoff around 5,000 employees. Layoffs will reportedly primarily impact the company’s corporate staff and not impact its consumer-facing retail positions.

  • Salesforce (NYSE: CRM). Has eliminated more jobs beyond a previously announced 10% reduction. About 50 roles were impacted. Plans to reduce headcount by about 8,000 by the end of fiscal 2024.

  • Telus (NYSE: TU). The Canadian telecom operator has announced it will lay off 6,000 employees across its businesses—about 6% of its workforce—to free up cash and remain competitive.

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

Partial view of the tracker


Bausch + Lomb Corporation (VAUGHAN, ONTARIO) [NYSE/TSX: BLCO]—a leading global eye health company— announced changes to its executive leadership team, which builds on a reshuffling announced in early June after Chairman and CEO Brent Saunders, who previously served as CEO from 2010 to 2013, rejoined Bausch + Lomb. As part of these efforts, Asli Gevgilili has been appointed EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer. Gevgilili was most recently the CHRO at INOVIO Pharmaceuticals—a role she held since June 2021. READ MORE

  • If you want access to +2600 (and growing) announcements of CHROs hired, promoted, and resigning, join CHROs on the Go.

  • If you are already a member of CHROs on the Go, log in here.

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



A 38-page report that shows that while gender parity in leadership “feels” close, it’s getting farther away. Shares practices for increasing the female leadership pipeline.


Did you miss the “Best of July” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #190, which includes 15 of the most popular resources from July. 


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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