Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #193

Reskilling, AI and the future of work, critical roles, building the manager pipeline, and HR effectiveness.

Welcome to Talent Edge Weekly!

Before we jump into this week’s issue, a shout-out to Rob Bacher, Head of Global Benefits for Lucid Motors, for referring new subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly. Thank you, Rob, 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, see the Job Cuts Tracker and the Chief HR Officer Hire of the Week.

Let’s dive in.


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

This new article, authored by members of Harvard’s Digital Reskilling Lab and the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, outlines how organizations are embracing five pivotal shifts in workforce reskilling: 1) Reskilling is a strategic imperative. 2) It is the responsibility of every leader and manager. 3) It is a change-management initiative. 4) Employees want to reskill - when it makes sense. 5) It takes a village. Regarding # 1, reskilling is a strategic imperative, several organizations have reskilling efforts underway to develop talent not readily available in the market—providing a strategic way of balancing workforce supply and demand. For example, Infosys has reskilled over 2,000 cybersecurity experts with various adjacent competencies and capability levels. Amazon, through its Machine Learning University, has enabled thousands of employees who initially had little experience in machine learning to become experts in the field. ICICI Bank runs an intense, academy-like reskilling program that prepares graduates, often from diverse backgrounds, for frontline managerial jobs. Other ideas are discussed, including #3 (it takes a village)—which outlines how organizations can accelerate their reskilling efforts by forming external partnerships (e.g., industry, non-profit, local colleges and universities). What is your organization’s strategy for reskilling its workforce?

The newly released 30-page report by LinkedIn provides the latest real-time trends on how AI is impacting various aspects of work. Notable trends include: 1) The share of English-language job postings referencing new AI technologies (e.g., GPT or ChatGPT) has increased by 21x since November 2022. This trend raises the question: how will organizations evaluate workers' proficiency using these technologies? 2) Eighty-four percent of US LinkedIn members are in jobs that could leverage generative AI (GAI) to automate at least 25% of repetitive tasks and increase productivity. One implication is: how must organizational talent strategies, encompassing hiring and workforce planning, adapt to accommodate evolving work requirements? 3) LinkedIn researchers identified a list of over 500 skills likely to be affected by GAI technologies, including business skills such as financial reporting, email marketing and data analysis. One question this trend raises is: how should organizations integrate these changes into their skills framework or taxonomy? As a bonus, I am resharing a recently published 76-page report by McKinsey Global Institute that comprehensively reviews the impact of generative AI on work, the workplace, and workforce.

The transition from an individual contributor to a managerial role is a common aspiration for many early-career workers. According to this article, about two-thirds of those starting out in their careers hope to move into management. Interestingly, one in five managers eventually come to regret their choice of pursuing a managerial position. Given the evolving and increasingly demanding nature of managerial responsibilities, organizations may encounter a rising number of both aspiring and current managers realizing that the manager role might not suit them well. To tackle these challenges, this article suggests that organizations should help potential managers assess their suitability for the role. This involves evaluating their skill set, relevant experience, and genuine interest in managerial tasks. For instance, WPS Health Solutions offers a case study, presenting a six-month trial self-discovery management program that enables potential managers to explore their fit for the role. The program aims to cultivate a competent pipeline of managers and equip them for the demanding facets of the position. After completing the program, participants have the opportunity for introspection and the choice to step away from the managerial track if they feel it's not the right path for them. The article discusses other ideas for building a pipeline of effective managers.

As work becomes more fluid and less predictable, there has been a much-needed shift in organizing and planning work beyond the limitations of jobs and roles. While this transition remains imperative, it's important to recognize that many organizations still use at least a segment of jobs and roles as the basis for talent practices, such as workforce planning and succession planning. Rather than abandoning jobs and roles completely, many organizations are more likely to adopt a combination of approaches—encompassing jobs, skills, tasks, etc.—to facilitate diverse planning needs. With regard to jobs, this new article introduces two strategies for identifying an organization’s critical roles. The first method employs a data-driven, bottom-up analysis, while the second adopts a top-down approach through inference. The article exemplifies how data can unveil overlooked roles and guide strategic choices. From my experience, organizations often stumble into common pitfalls while identifying critical roles, namely a) pegging role significance solely to job level (e.g., exclusive focus on executive roles), b) gauging criticality based on how difficult a role is to fill, and c) tethering role criticality to incumbents rather than the role's value generation for the organization and its stakeholders. As organizations objectively identify their critical roles, the article provides useful ideas. As a bonus, I'm sharing my critical role risk template—an editable one-page tool for determining four types of risks in critical roles.

Last week, I shared five HR operating model resources to help HR leaders identify opportunities to enhance value delivery through their HR model. While HR operating models contribute to HR effectiveness, multiple factors underlie the creation of HR value. But which factors hold the most significance? This 42-page playbook from the RBL Institute offers a comprehensive review of the factors that drive HR effectiveness. It encompasses important topics such as: 1) HR Stakeholders. Figure 2 outlines seven internal and external stakeholders (such as the Board of Directors, Customers, Employees, Communities) that HR serves, outlining their expectations regarding human capability initiatives that gauge HR's effectiveness. 2) Nine Dimensions of HR Effectiveness. Figure 9 encompasses diverse dimensions of HR functional excellence (e.g., HR reputation, HR purpose, HR design), forming the basis of the rationale for HR value. 3) The Impact of Each Dimension. Figure 10 illustrates the comparative influence of the nine dimensions on five stakeholder groups. 4) Diagnostic Questions. Figure 16 presents diagnostic questions for evaluating existing HR effectiveness across each dimension. The resources and frameworks presented in this playbook equip HR leaders with a research-backed way to assess their HR functions' current effectiveness and pinpoint actions that can generate stakeholder value. (Note. This playbook is being shared with permission from Dave Ulrich. You can also check out Dave’s abridged version of this playbook on LinkedIn).


This PDF includes 5 resources for HR leaders seeking to make insightful and strategic decisions regarding their HR operating models. You can also join the discussion on LinkedIn related to this post.


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:

  • Aetna. CVS Health confirmed it will cut ~500 jobs at Aetna's Hartford, Connecticut headquarters as part of its broader plan to slash 5,000 positions in the company's restructuring.

  • Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) is conducting a new round of job cuts targeting 1,000 positions. The cuts are part of a plan to save $700 million in annual costs.

  • Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) plans to lay off more than 300 employees across three office campuses in California. Cuts will impact software development for GPUs, cloud computing, and AI computing roles.

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

Partial view of the tracker


​​​Western Union (DENVER, COLORADO) [NYSE: WU]—a global money movement and payment services provider—has named Karen Whalen Chief People Officer. Before joining Western Union, Karen served for more than five years as EVP and CHRO for West Corporation (formerly Intrado), a cloud-based communications technology company.



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


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 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