Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #217

2024 workforce trends, succession planning, talent review process, internal talent movement, and hybrid work.


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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 job cuts tracker & Chief HR Officer hire of the week.

Let’s dive in. ⬇️



Gartner has recently released its nine workplace predictions for 2024 and beyond, outlining key trends that HR leaders should focus on to attract and retain top talent while driving business outcomes. These predictions are categorized into four themes: 1) The shifting employee value proposition (EVP), 2) New manager necessities, 3) The collapse of career assumptions, and 4) AI reshaping work. One prediction related to the shifting EVP is: The Cost-of-Work Crisis Reaches a Breaking Point. This prediction emphasizes that return-to-office mandates are leading workers to be more acutely aware of the expenses incurred in the process of going to work. One implication is that employees may look for EVPs that help offset expenses through offerings such as caregiving benefits, housing subsidies, financial well-being programs, and more. The impact can be even greater in organizations that are opting for a return to five days in the office. Another prediction is the collapse of career assumptions, signaling a reduced stigma around candidates taking "career breaks" or those who choose not to pursue typical progressive career trajectories. Consequently, organizations are expected to embrace talent models that draw from diverse talent pools, incorporating candidates with varied and unconventional backgrounds. To complement the article, Gartner has shared a 28-minute podcast episode delving deeper into these trends.


This one-page template includes a sample of 11 succession planning (SP) questions that can help organizations think through various aspects of their SP practices. The questions do not represent an exhaustive list but provide a foundation to build on. Sample questions include: Scope. Based on our SP purpose, what is the scope of our SP? Do we focus on roles at certain levels, critical roles regardless of level, or something else? Role vs. Pool. Are there areas where SP will be based on ‘successor pools’ —where similar roles are grouped together and share a talent pool of potential successors? If so, what are they? Future Focused. How will our SP process go about planning for roles or capabilities that don’t exist today but will be needed in the future? Development. If a successor is on multiple succession plans, how do we determine what plan takes priority in terms of successor development? For each question, there is an editable comment box where you can track notes. As a bonus, I am resharing my one-page editable PDF template, which includes a sample of 10 SP metrics that organizations can refer to as they track and measure the effectiveness of their SP. The metrics represent a sample of available measures and may not be the right ones for an organization. Organizations should determine which talent outcomes they are trying to achieve and then identify the metrics (whether or not on this list) that are the best indicators of progress.


Many organizations conduct talent reviews—with the primary goal of identifying and developing employees with the greatest potential. However, certain factors can detract from the effectiveness of these reviews, such as using less predictive criteria for evaluating potential. In this new article by Marc Effron, he shares several insights into how organizations can make their talent reviews more effective. One key point emphasizes the common confusion between high performance and high potential among managers during talent reviews. According to Marc, the main purpose of talent reviews is to predict how far and how fast someone can advance into a larger, more complex role. Potential must be defined in this way, focusing on the ability to grow beyond one’s current role. Another suggestion is to focus on the talent review discussion rather than the tools used. Organizations often grapple with which tool to use, ranging from 4-box to 28-box grids. Marc suggests that any tool separating the discussion of performance from potential is helpful. The critical component lies in the descriptors used to define potential, guided by research and science. To support this effort, I am resharing a book chapter from the SIOP Professional Practice Series book Strategy-Driven Talent Management by Allan Church and Rob Silzer. It provides robust and research-based criteria on indicators of potential, and you can download it directly through ResearchGate.


Internal mobility, the movement of employees across different work opportunities within an organization, is crucial for effective talent management. However, organizations encounter barriers to internal talent movement, with talent hoarding posing a significant challenge. Talent hoarding, where managers discourage employees from pursuing other internal opportunities, may offer short-term benefits to managers but hinder their ability to attract internal talent in the long run. Recent research published in the Academy of Management, analyzing 96,712 internal applications across 9,896 jobs in a large organization over five years, reveals that managers who frequently help to promote their direct reports attract a greater number of high-quality and functionally diverse internal applicants. This finding underscores the importance of managers fostering a culture of talent mobility instead of hoarding. Given managers' potential unawareness of talent-hoarding behaviors, cultivating self-awareness becomes crucial. With that in mind, I am resharing my post, Five Indicators of Manager Talent Hoarding. I am also resharing the HBR article by Kevin Oakes (CEO of i4cp), Let Your Top Performers Move Around the Company, where he covers how firms can create a culture that encourages internal mobility, such as having managers develop a performance goal of consistently rotating internal talent (especially top talent) out of their team and into other internal groups.


As many leaders reassess their organizations’ remote and hybrid work policies, this 13-page paper offers several insights. Page 11, in particular, emphasizes the importance of using "moments that matter" as a foundation for determining when employees need to be in a company-designated office location. Aligning with this perspective, a previously shared Microsoft WorkLab article, In the Changing Role of the Office, It’s All About Moments That Matter, underscores the significance of establishing "in-person" office expectations based on these meaningful moments rather than enforcing a minimum number of office days. It highlights research identifying three scenarios where in-person connections offer distinct advantages: 1) Strengthening team cohesion, especially vital in the context of increasingly dispersed organizations. 2) Facilitating effective onboarding for new roles, teams, or companies, as face-to-face interactions foster trust and relationship-building during the initial stages of a new job. 3) Initiating a project, particularly in its early phases, to align team members, stimulate innovation, and share tacit knowledge. Both the Deloitte and Microsoft WorkLabs resources can help organizations think through the question: “What are the moments that matter for us?” The answers can provide guidance for determining when in-office interactions are likely to be meaningful and deliver value.


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This 8-page paper shares ideas for becoming a skills-based organization. One case study highlights Ericsson's journey towards becoming more skills-based, emphasizing the importance of developing a compelling case for change and using simplified language to communicate advantages. Figure 1 shows an example of how Ericsson built its case by drawing from both industry trends and internal pain points.


Partial view of tracker on brianheger.com

Check out my tracker of announcements from a segment of organizations that have conducted job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023.

A few firms announcing job cuts this past week include:

  • Citigroup. (NYSE: C). Announced plans to lay off 20,000 employees over the next two years. The reduction comes after the company reported a $1.8 billion net loss for the fourth quarter of 2023, its worst quarter in 15 years.

  • Google. (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Has cut 808 jobs in California, impacting employees from several teams: corporate divisions, design and services, knowledge and information products, core engineering, and Google Assistant.

  • Twitch. The streaming platform company, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, is laying off more than 500 employees, or 35 % of its staff. In March 2023, Twitch cut 400 roles as part of larger layoffs at parent company Amazon, which saw 18,000 job cuts.

Click here to access all listed announcements.


​​The Honest Company (LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA)—a digitally-native clean beauty and lifestyle brand founded by actress Jessica Alba— has named Dorria L. Ball as its new Chief People Officer. Ball has served in this role on an interim basis since August 2023. She will report directly to Carla Vernón, Chief Executive. Before joining Honest, Ball was the Founder and President of Global Ballance Group, specializing in leadership and organizational development for C-Suite executives from Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that work, she held vice president of human resources roles at Mondelez and Kraft Foods.

Dorria L. Ball

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Presents 35 questions that Chief HR Officers and their teams can consider while helping to establish guidelines for utilizing generative AI in their organizations.


Did you miss the “Best of December” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #215, which includes 13 of the most popular resources from December.


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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