Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #198

15 talent resources, HR offsite strategy meetings, GenAI impact on 3 HR roles, employee archetypes, and executive coaching.


Welcome to Talent Edge Weekly!

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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 & Chief HR Officer hire of the week.

Let’s dive in.


Each week, well over 1,000 new subscribers join Talent Edge Weekly. In their new subscriber survey, readers share their top talent and workplace priorities. Despite varying priorities across subscribers, several consistent themes emerge. To enhance accessibility to resources aligned with these common interests, I've compiled a one-page PDF featuring 15 categorized resources addressing five popular talent and workplace topics: Employee Wellbeing, Remote Work, Succession Planning, Workforce Planning, and Internal Mobility. Each category offers three resources with a brief description and a link to the source document. These resources tackle issues such as leadership's impact on employee wellbeing, effective strategies for remote work, succession planning metrics, the role of skills-based talent platforms in workforce planning, and talent movement best practices within an organization. I hope you find this PDF helpful in quickly accessing resources that might be of interest. If you still need to complete the 90-second subscriber survey, please take a moment to do so, as your feedback helps me tailor future newsletter content to your preferred topics and formats.

Many HR leaders and their teams are currently refining, finalizing, and communicating their 2024 strategies. A common practice in this endeavor is organizing an offsite strategy meeting—typically held in person and away from the office—to align HR's direction and priorities. This article focuses on how HR leaders can optimize their HR strategy offsite by intentionally managing three phases of the meeting: 1) Before (e.g., curating prereads, separating strategic from transactional topics, and allocating most time to transformative, strategic topics). 2) During (e.g., establishing a clear narrative between HR priorities and business strategy, aligning the functional deliverables to that narrative, and conducting scenario planning for how HR strategy and tactics may shift if certain scenarios unfold). Figure 4 includes four scenarios that can help HR leadership think through responses to specific scenarios. 3) After the Offsite (e.g., harmonizing and cascading the HR strategy across different HR units or regions to drive performance). While the article is angled toward the HR function, the tactics and approaches are adaptable to any function or business unit. As a bonus, here is an article by Pyn that provides ideas for running a successful HR strategy offsite.

I recently shared a BCG analysis demonstrating how Generative AI (GenAI) could increase HR capacity by 30% through task automation and streamlined processes—unlocking the potential for innovation and value creation. As HR leaders identify capacity-boosting opportunities, this Mercer article explores how GenAI is poised to transform three HR roles: Human Resource Business Partners, Learning and Development (L&D) specialists, and Total Rewards leaders. For instance, L&D specialists invest significant time in program design, delivery, creating training materials, and staying abreast of tech trends. AI automation can assist in scheduling training, managing registrations, providing real-time feedback, and analyzing training evaluation data. The time saved can be redirected towards a heightened focus on learning enablement, curation, and governance. The article underscores that GenAI is more likely to enhance or supplement specific tasks within these roles rather than entirely replace them. Additionally, it stresses the importance of striking the right balance between humans and technology to optimize HR functions. HR leaders can use these ideas to anticipate AI-induced role changes and the skill shifts that will be required of their HR teams. In case you missed it, here is my playlist of 5 resources on AI in HR, including more use cases.

Employee engagement and productivity remain pressing concerns for organizations, especially with ongoing changes in how, when, and where people work. Recent research by McKinsey sheds light on six distinct employee personas, each exhibiting varying levels of satisfaction, engagement, and performance. The archetypes are: 1) The quitters (estimated at around 11%) are those on their way out or already gone. 2) The disruptors (estimated at 10%) are actively disengaged and likely to demoralize others. 3) The mildly disengaged (approximately 32%) are performing at the minimum level. 4) The double-dippers (about 5%) spread across the satisfaction spectrum, including full-time salaried workers who hold two or more jobs simultaneously, often without their employers' knowledge. 5) The reliable and committed (about 38%) consistently going above and beyond. 6) The thriving stars (4%) are the top talent in an organization bringing disproportionate value. While employee archetypes and frameworks have existed in the employee engagement domain for many years, these classifications can sometimes help pinpoint talent risks and strengths, guiding tailored talent actions. The article outlines actions for each archetype. As a bonus, here is my employee retention risk template, which can help identify and address unwanted retention risks.

This in-depth article delves into the limitations and potential reinvention of the executive coaching industry in preparing leaders for future challenges. It identifies four flaws in the traditional coaching model and proposes solutions. One cited flaw is the oversimplification of "effective leadership" within executive coaching, neglecting unique contextual factors in each organization. Addressing contextual questions, such as the particular problem sets leaders need to tackle within a company and the varying stakeholder and cultural considerations, is paramount for providing relevant and practical executive coaching. Additionally, the article stresses the need for coaching engagements that cultivate "collective leadership capabilities" essential throughout an organization's leadership ecosystem, rather than solely focusing the engagement on individual needs. My 2016 article, "Identifying Leadership Capabilities That Drive Business Performance," discussed the importance of building collective leadership capability. Given the escalating demands on organizational leaders, pinpointing the required leadership capabilities and leveraging them as a competitive edge will be critical.


I share my curated list of resources that help answer 10 questions as organizations transition to skills-based talent practices.

The illustration is from Deloitte.


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:

  • Airtable. The cloud startup once valued at $11B, announced its second round of layoffs in less than a year. This round will impact 237 employees. In December, the company cut 250 positions.

  • Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Is laying off hundreds of employees from its global recruiting team as hiring has slowed down at the company.

  • Joann Inc. (NASDAQ: JOAN). The craft retailer confirmed this week that an undisclosed number of people were let go as part of a corporate restructuring. The company, which is still operating without a permanent CEO, is “exploring every opportunity” to drive growth and operate more efficiently.

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

Partial view of the tracker


​​​Grainger (CHICAGO) [NYSE: GWW]— the leading broad-line distributor of maintenance, repair, and operating products serving businesses and institutions— announced the appointment of Matt Fortin as SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, effective Wednesday, September 13, 2023. Matt joined Grainger in 2006 and most recently served as the Group Vice President for the Merchandising and Supplier Management function, leading the team responsible for building and publishing Grainger's product assortment. READ MORE

Matt Fortin

  • If you want access to +3000 (and growing) detailed announcements of CHROs hired, promoted, and resigning, join CHROs on the Goa digital platform that offers a 3-month and annual subscription. It’s a one-stop shop for CHRO announcements.

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A popular resource from a past issue.

A 74-page paper research paper with several ideas for helping leaders make various shifts that enable effectiveness in a hybrid work environment.


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!

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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