Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #218

Examples of skills-based talent practices, CEO 2024 priorities and concerns, new template for critical role identification, GenAI in the workplace, and remote 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. ⬇️



Numerous resources have been shared on how organizations are shifting more toward skills-based talent practices. While these resources offer valuable insights, they often lack real-world examples of how organizations are translating these skills-based ideas into action. The World Economic Forum addresses this gap in its new 48-page report, part of which showcases 13 case studies referred to as "Lighthouses." Starting on page 16, these case studies highlight how eight employer-based organizations and five more from the government and education sectors are implementing skills-based approaches based on various purposes. A few examples include Natixis, which revamped its internal mobility policies to align jobs with future skill demands, and the London Stock Exchange Group, which streamlined ~25,000 jobs into 1,100 distinct profiles with requisite skills and proficiency levels. As an internal HR practitioner, I find this resource helpful in translating skills-based ideas into action. With this in mind, I also look forward to sharing my upcoming book chapter in the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Professional Practices Book Series, where I discuss insights and learnings from a real-world example of skill-based talent practices.


The Conference Board and PwC recently released reports on CEOs' outlooks for 2024, providing insights into talent implications. According to the 29-page PwC report, 25% of CEOs anticipate a 5% or more reduction in headcount in 2024 due to generative AI. This raises organizational questions, such as: which areas of our business will AI most affect in terms of job changes, and how can we redeploy affected talent to meet our organization’s other talent needs? On average, CEOs report that 40% of time spent on meetings, administrative processes, and emails in their organizations is inefficient. A key question for organizations to ask: what changes in our ways of working can reduce inefficiencies, unlock workforce capacity, and promote employee wellbeing? The 35-page Conference Board report notes that global CEOs' top overall priority is to attract and retain talent due to concerns about labor shortages and rising costs. This prompts questions, such as: How can we tap into less obvious talent pools to find overlooked and “hidden” talent? What changes can be made to our internal mobility strategies for swift talent redeployment? Page 22 (shown in the post image) also examines the alignment of CEOs and CHROs on human capital priorities. CEOs and CHROs agree on the top two priorities for human capital: developing leadership and workforce capabilities and strengthening organizational culture. Other ideas are discussed.


An organization’s ability to identify and plan for its critical roles is an important aspect of workforce planning and talent management. However, organizations often encounter common pitfalls in identifying their critical roles, including basing a role's criticality solely on its job level, overlooking non-executive roles; determining criticality based on the difficulty of filling a role, which may not accurately reflect its criticality; and assessing role criticality based on the incumbent rather than the role's impact on creating value for the organization and its stakeholders. Against this backdrop, I am sharing my new one-page editable template aimed to help organizations identify critical roles based on their impact on enabling strategic capabilities. The template allows an organization to list 4 to 5 strategic capabilities vital to its business strategy and evaluate roles against them. By placing a checkmark for each role that has a disproportionate impact on the strategic capabilities, the visual output can provide a foundation for further discussion. While other factors contribute to role criticality, strategic capabilities play a crucial role. Nonetheless, this tool serves as one of several ways that organizations can identify critical roles.


Both strategic workforce planning (SWP) and AI in the workplace are currently commanding the attention of numerous organizations. Despite being frequently addressed separately, there is a strong interconnection between both topics. For example, AI has the potential to automate specific work tasks performed by workers, creating an opportunity for organizations to free up worker capacity. Said differently, while one SWP strategy aims to increase capacity by acquiring new talent, another tactic involves unlocking the capacity of a firm’s current workforce by offloading some of their tasks to AI, subsequently reallocating capacity to tasks better suited for humans. Within this context, this new 48-page report provides valuable insights, with Figure 10 on page 37 illustrating how work and roles can be reallocated to AI. As organizations assess the impact of AI on various roles and tasks, Deloitte AI Institute's report, Generative AI and the Future of Work, is also a helpful reference, presenting a framework for categorizing four types of impacts that AI can have on jobs and work tasks. These impacts range from Automated Tasks (machines or AI perform the task best) to Augmented Skills (Humans working with machines/AI perform the task best). Other ideas are discussed in both reports.


This article explores the growing disparity in remote work opportunities, particularly emphasizing its prevalence in higher-paying roles that demand more experience, full-time employment, and advanced education. Drawing insights from a U.S. online job advertisement database, key research findings include: Work experience. Only 3% of entry-level jobs offer remote work options, while over 25% of positions requiring at least seven years of experience embrace remote work. Education. Only 1.9% of jobs requiring a high school education provide remote work, compared to 29% for roles demanding a post-graduate degree. Full-time vs. part-time. A mere 3% of part-time job ads feature remote work opportunities, contrasting with over 10% for full-time job ads. Pay Level. Higher salaries are associated with an increasing prevalence of remote or hybrid work options. In 2023, around 10% of $60,000 jobs, 20% of $100,000 jobs, and over 30% of $200,000 jobs offer remote or hybrid work. The authors, which include Nick Bloom, a Professor of Economics at Stanford University who has been studying remote work for over two decades, urge managers and executives to consider how to close this gap (e.g., offer alternative forms of flexibility, such as a four-day workweek; offer pay adjustments to offset the uneven benefits associated with remote work). As leaders think through multiple implications of remote work decisions, I am resharing my one-page playlist of five resources to consider.


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Here is my one-page template that includes a sample of 11 succession planning (SP) questions that can help organizations think through various aspects of their SP practices.


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:

  • Macy’s (NYSE: M). The department store chain is set to lay off 13% of corporate staff (3.5% of overall staff) and close five stores in an effort to shed costs, eliminate management layers, and redirect spending toward improving customers’ shopping experience. Job cuts will begin on Jan 26.

  • UBS (NYSE: UBS). The company has rolled out another round of job cuts within its investment bank as the Swiss lender looks to strip out thousands of roles after its acquisition of rival Credit Suisse.

  • Wayfair (NYSE: W). The e-commerce company announced it would lay off 1,650 employees, or about 13% of its workforce. The cuts will affect 19% of its corporate employees.

Click here to access all listed announcements.


​​Gap Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA) [NYSE: GP]—the largest American specialty apparel company—announced the appointment of Amy Thompson as Chief People Officer, effective January 22. Thompson will join Gap Inc.'s executive leadership team and report to Gap Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard Dickson. Ms. Thompson most recently served as Chief People Officer at Mattel, and before that, as Chief People Officer at TOMS and in HR executive roles at Starbucks and Ticketmaster.

Amy Thompson

If you want access to +3400 (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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One enabler of effective performance management (PM) is ongoing and frequent PM conversations between managers and employees. This article offers five crucial questions for managers to pose during one-on-one meetings to ensure appropriate time allocation to topics of interest to both managers and direct reports.


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