Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #195 Best of August
Includes 15 of the best articles and resources from August. Topics span workforce trends, talent practices, and HR effectiveness and value creation.
Welcome to Talent Edge Weekly!
This special "Best of August" issue brings you the 15 most popular articles and resources from the August issues of Talent Edge Weekly!
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THIS MONTH’S CONTENT
15 resources in 3 categories.
Workforce Trends. The impact of AI on the future of work, ChatGPT restrictions, remote and hybrid work, time-to-hire, and reskilling.
Talent Practices. Manager effectiveness and development, critical roles, contract workers, workforce planning, and organizational design.
HR Effectiveness and Value Creation. Generative AI’s impact on unlocking HR capacity, HR operating models, and attributes of effective HR functions.
Also included are the 2023 Job Cuts and Layoff Tracker and the Chief HR Officer Hire of the Month.
While there is much content in this Best Of Issue, my goal is to provide you with depth and breadth. This way, you can choose which content and level of detail is most relevant to your interests and needs.
Let’s dive in.
THIS MONTH’S EDGE
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I. WORKPLACE TRENDS
The impact of AI on the future of work, ChatGPT restrictions, remote and hybrid work, time-to-hire, and reskilling.
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).
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.
Much has been discussed about how ChatGPT, and AI in general, are reshaping work—helping to expedite tasks and contributing to enhanced performance, efficiency, and productivity. However, new research by Blackberry (NYSE: BB; TSX: BB) based on a survey of 2,000 global IT decision-makers (e.g., Chief Information Officers and Chief Information Security Officers), reveals that 75% of global organizations are currently implementing or considering restrictions on ChatGPT and other Generative AI applications due to data security, privacy, cybersecurity, and reputation concerns. Similar worries were expressed in a Gartner survey, where 249 senior enterprise risk executives ranked Generative AI as the second-highest cited organizational risk out of 20. Despite these reservations, 62% of surveyed leaders from the Blackberry survey recognize the benefits of ChatGPT. Consequently, many are adopting a “unified endpoint management platform (UEM),” which provides controls over which AI-based applications can connect to the corporate environment. As HR leaders assist their IT counterparts in navigating these decisions, I'm resharing two resources: 1) A cheat sheet by Foley & Lardner LLP that shows 10 ChatGPT risks and proposed guidelines for each. 2) Maergo’s Generative AI Acceptable Use Policy. This policy was contributed by Francesca Molinari, Chief People Officer at Maergo and a subscriber to Talent Edge Weekly, for the benefit of Talent Edge Weekly readers seeking to leverage it for their purposes.
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.
The article explores varying perspectives on hybrid work across global regions and their implications for leaders in global organizations. Drawing from a survey conducted by the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute and Universum involving 651 managers from 50 countries spanning EMEA, APAC, and the Americas, the authors uncover differences in perceptions of hybrid work. While some similarities emerged, such as positive impacts on work-life balance and carbon footprint, a few differences are evident: 1) Desire to Return to a Physical Office: APAC displays a stronger desire compared to EMEA and the Americas. The Americas region was more positive about remote productivity. 2) Social Connections. EMEA and APAC respondents are more concerned about missing out on in-person coworker interactions, corresponding to lower engagement scores than the Americas. 3) Ideal Mix of Remote and Office Work: APAC favors fewer home days on average, EMEA favors more, and the Americas favored the most. The article underscores the need for leaders to recognize and address geographical differences in perceptions and preferences regarding hybrid work. To that end, the authors propose five steps to craft hybrid work policies that accommodate geographical and cultural dissimilarities.
II. TALENT PRACTICES
Manager effectiveness and development, critical roles, contract workers, workforce planning, and organizational design.
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.
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.
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.
This article emphasizes the importance of a CEO's leadership in successfully implementing organizational redesign efforts. It notes how "CEOs must take a proactive lead in organization redesign due to its profound impact on culture and employees. Only the CEO possesses the comprehensive view necessary to minimize unintended consequences." The authors present five guiding principles aimed at aiding CEOs in surmounting challenges related to organization redesign, such as prioritizing conceptual design before delving into specifics. Alongside the principles, two frameworks are introduced to facilitate the management of organization redesign through different stages, from identifying catalysts of change to execution. The authors further present a framework outlining four behavioral archetypes, illustrating how CEOs might lean into or impede organization redesigns during distinct phases. The authors advocate that CEOs evaluate their susceptibility to factors potentially impeding their leadership by asking four questions: 1) Do I possess unwavering belief in this endeavor? 2) Will I listen to the right people without letting the process go off track? 3) Am I prepared to make tough decisions where needed and stick to them? 4) Am I in control of all the levers I will need to pull? For those undergoing an organizational redesign effort, this article provides useful ideas for CEOs and leadership teams.
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.
III. HR EFFECTIVENESS AND VALUE CREATION
Generative AI’s impact on unlocking HR capacity, HR operating models, and attributes of effective HR functions.
This article explores the impact of Generative AI (GenAI) on the HR function, highlighting its potential to revolutionize HR into a more strategic and efficient function. According to a BCG analysis, GenAI has the potential to boost HR productivity by up to 30%, achieved through automated tasks or redirected time toward deeper employee engagement and talent planning. The chart below shows the potential time savings across 8 HR areas, pinpointing HR administration and shared services (20-30%) as the prime areas for capacity release. Other segments, such as recruiting and resources (10-20%), performance and career management (10-20%), and learning and development (10-20%), also stand to benefit. HR leaders and their teams can use this framework as they determine current time allocation spent in certain HR areas and identify the potential for Gen AI to unlock time and resources that can be reinvested into high-value activities. As noted in the article, HR leaders play a dual role in driving GenAI transformation for both the enterprise and the HR function; one illustration outlines how HR can play both roles. Here is an additional link to 14 slides that illustrate insights from the article, including use-case examples of GenAI in HR. And if you want 5 additional resources on AI in HR, you can check out my playlist, which includes a summary and links to these sources.
This PDF offers five resources curated for HR leaders seeking to make insightful and strategic decisions regarding their HR operating models. These materials provide comprehensive guidance from reputable authorities, including Gartner, The Talent Strategy Group, Josh Bersin, Deloitte Insights, and AIHR. For example, Deloitte Insights provides +50 questions aimed at unearthing solutions to facilitate the implementation of a forward-looking and purpose-fit HR operating model. Among these queries lies one pivotal question: In what ways can HR drive the change needed to address market and business trends for future success within the function and across the enterprise with regard to the work being done, the workforce being leveraged, and the environment in which workers operate? Gartner covers how to successfully plan and execute an HR operating model transformation, with foundational steps encompassing the creation of a transformation narrative. A few questions to inform this narrative include: Why change the model? What is the vision? What do we do today? What stays the same? What will change? How will the model support the business and employees? Each resource is briefly introduced, and the PDF includes hyperlinks to the source documents, accessible by clicking on the associated image on every page.
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).
2023 JOB CUTS AND LAYOFF TRACKER
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 in August include:
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.
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.
T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS). Is laying off roughly 7% of its workforce, affecting about 5,000 roles at the company. The move will mostly impact workers in corporate, back-office, and technology roles, with those in retail or customer care positions remaining unaffected.
Click here or the image below to access all listed announcements from 2023.
CHIEF HR OFFICER HIRE OF THE MONTH
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
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