Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #196

The augmented workforce, GenAI in HR, skills-based workforce planning, total rewards, and remote work.

Welcome to Talent Edge Weekly!

First, a shout-out to Joseph Delikat, Sr. Director, HR, for Endo Pharmaceutical, for referring new subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly. Thank you, Joseph, 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, check out the 2023 job cuts tracker and Chief HR Officer hire of the week.

Let’s dive in.


This 32-page report delves into AI’s impact on company business models— focusing on how AI integration will affect business operations, job roles, and skills. Drawing insights from surveys involving 3,000 C-level executives across 28 countries and 21,000 workers in 22 countries, the findings reveal that 40% of executives foresee the need for workforce reskilling within the next three years because of AI adoption. Encouragingly, 87% believe that generative AI will enhance job roles instead of replacing them, reinforcing the notion of the “augmented workforce.” This collaborative synergy between humans and machines has the potential to unlock productivity and deliver substantial business value. For instance, as technology becomes more user-friendly, employees can achieve more with less technical expertise (e.g., using no-code software development platforms). And as machines assume routine and mundane tasks, there is a growing emphasis on essential people skills like team management, effective teamwork, communication, and adaptability to change. Figure 2 illustrates how these people skills are becoming increasingly critical for workers to possess, considering advances in AI and technology. Beginning on page 22, the ‘Action Guide’ offers practical strategies for organizations navigating this evolving human-machine partnership. Several other ideas are discussed.

Figure 2 on p.7 of the report.

Generative AI (GenAI) is poised to unlock capacity within the HR function. A recent BCG analysis I shared revealed GenAI's potential to boost HR productivity by up to 30%. To effectively harness GenAI's capabilities, HR leaders and their teams can benefit from the insights in this new article by Josh Bersin. One point Josh emphasizes is the importance of first identifying specific problems that HR wants to solve rather than rushing to adopt GenAI technology. This approach enables teams to think through, refine, and prioritize their requirements, which can help pinpoint opportunities for how GenAI can help solve problems and deliver value. In conversations and social media discussions about GenAI in HR, I have observed a segment of opinions fall into two extremes: some oversimplify GenAI’s benefits as plug-and-play solutions, while others overemphasize pitfalls and risks and downplay its advantages. Nevertheless, most practitioners fall somewhere in the middle and acknowledge the need for thoughtful planning and execution to reap GenAI's benefits. As Josh notes, "this entire domain is both over-hyped and under-estimated." Starting with small-scale initiatives, involving IT teams, and getting hands-on experience, as he suggests, will unveil remarkable business benefits in the various HR use cases of GenAI. To complement this article, you can explore i4cp’s summary of a discussion with 70 HR leaders on how they are experimenting with GenAI and thinking about using it in the future. And as a bonus, here is my playlist of 5 resources on AI in HR.

Many organizations are increasingly embracing skills-based strategic workforce planning (SWP). Nevertheless, transitioning to skills-based SWP can be a lengthy endeavor, particularly as numerous organizations lack a shared language for discussing and organizing skills. And in instances where a common language does exist, tracking skills and their fluctuations can prove to be a formidable task. However, as highlighted in this article, skills intelligence technology offers a solution by enabling organizations to automate the compilation and integration of skills data from internal and external sources, making it easier to update databases as employee skills evolve. This article provides an overview of skills-based technology platforms and explores how one company, Unum, leveraged such a platform to implement a scalable, real-time SWP approach. However, implementing skills intelligence platforms is not as simple as "flipping a switch" and will require organizations to carefully consider their specific needs and goals in this process. Key questions arise, such as: 1) What internal and external data sources will the AI engines of these skill platforms utilize to infer employees' skills? 2) How will skills be verified? Will employees self-assess their skills and rate their proficiency, or will managers and others be involved in assessing the skills of their colleagues? Answering these and other questions can increase the likelihood of successful implementation and adoption of skills-based talent platforms.

This new Deloitte article provides an overview of why and how organizations must continuously adapt total rewards strategies to evolving workforce requirements, primarily focusing on greater personalization. In line with this theme, I'm sharing three resources that provide ideas. 1) Breaking from Tradition with Skill-based Rewards, by Deloitte, introduces a compensation structure where a portion of an employee's compensation is based on the extent to which they possess and demonstrate skills valued by the organization. 2) Gartner’s "Leveraging Employee Preferences to Identify Total Rewards Trade-offsadvises using data sources such as exit interviews and candidate surveys to gather quantitative and qualitative insights into employee preferences. The article presents a four-component decision-making model to evaluate shifts in the employee value proposition (EVP), including categories like "Sunset," where resources are eliminated or divested to prioritize higher-level priorities within the EVP, to "Invest," where organizations expand their budget or offerings to enhance the EVP. It also recommends establishing triggers for EVP reevaluation in response to changes in business or economic conditions, such as financial performance shifts, market disruptions, talent turnover, or new legislation. 3) Organize Your Rewards Package Around Employees’ Critical Life Moments, where Gartner provides ideas for organizing and communicating reward programs by critical life moments (e.g., getting married/engaged, having/adopting a child, taking a big trip, etc.). While there are many other factors that influence total rewards, these examples can spark ideas.

Last week, I shared an HBR article that explored varying perspectives on hybrid work across global regions. 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 results show that while some similarities emerged, such as positive impacts on work-life balance and carbon footprint, a few differences are evident, including: 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. In this additional newly released article, Nicholas Bloom and his colleagues explore remote work from a different angle: senior management perception on the return-to-office push. The article discusses how CEOs are publicly advocating for a return to the office, but privately, they expect remote work to continue growing. A recent survey conducted in July 2023 reveals that senior executives at various U.S. businesses anticipate both fully remote and hybrid work models to increase in the next five years. Several factors contribute to this expectation, such as employees value remote work as much as an 8% pay increase. As the debate on remote work continues, here is my one-page curated playlist of five resources to help leaders evaluate different aspects of remote work. While some resources are more recent than others, they all address essential topics in the ongoing discussion on remote work.


This article provides an analysis of the impact of Generative AI on the HR function, highlighting its potential to revolutionize HR into a more strategic and efficient function. You can also view this post on LinkedIn and join the discussion.


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:

  • Malwarebytes. The cybersecurity company is laying off 100 employees as it prepares for a major restructuring to split its consumer and corporate-facing business units.

  • Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA). The software company is laying off 4% of its staff in a restructuring targeted at customer success positions. This is the second round of layoffs this year following a 4% reduction in January.

  • Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA) is laying off 700 employees, or more than 7% of its workforce, amid a slowdown in sales. It is a significantly deeper cut than previously expected.

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

Partial view of the tracker


​​SAP (WALLDORF, GERMANY) [NYSE: SAP]—a market leader in enterprise application software—announced that Gina Vargiu-Breuer has been appointed Chief People Officer, effective February 1, 2024. She will succeed Sabine Bendiek, who will be leaving the company at the end of the year. Vargiu-Breuer is currently SVP, Global Human Resources, Siemens Energy. READ MORE

Gina Vargiu-Breuer

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This one-page playlist includes 5 articles and resources related to DE&I.


Did you miss the “Best of August” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #195, which includes 15 of the most popular resources from August. 

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Have a great week, and I look forward to sharing more ideas in next week’s Edge!


brianheger.com provides free access to +1,000 curated articles, research reports, podcasts, and more that help practitioners drive better business results through strategic human resources and talent management.

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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 6 PM 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.