Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #222

Why organizations overhire, HR initiative prioritization template, 2024 Deloitte Human Capital report, work-from-home and working mothers, and AI in the workplace.


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Below is a glance at this week’s content. A deep dive follows. 

Also, check out the job cuts tracker & Chief HR Officer hire of the week.

Let’s dive in. ⬇️



Shares five tactics for mitigating overhiring in organizations.

One indicator of ineffective workforce planning is the tendency to overhire, where organizations mistakenly employ more workers than needed. Overhiring results in increased costs, diminished productivity (as revenue per employee declines), and heightened pressure on managers and teams tasked with supporting a larger workforce. This supply and demand imbalance often leads to reactive measures, such as job cuts and hiring freezes, only to resume hiring during the next surge in demand. In this article, Josh Bersin shares five tactics for mitigating overhiring, one of which involves HR and recruiters engaging in strategic discussions with hiring managers who want to open a job requisition, asking questions such as: Should this hire be filled by an internal candidate? Should this job be full-time, or is it part-time and could be shared? Should this work be outsourced because it’s not strategic? Does this team have a high turnover? If so, should we discuss why this position is even open? I would add that organizations can unlock capacity within their current workforce by asking questions such as: How can AI be used to automate specific work tasks performed by workers, freeing up worker capacity for tasks better suited for humans? How can we remove inefficiencies and barriers to getting work done? How can we utilize internal talent marketplaces to flow internal talent to where we have work demand? Implementing these strategies can help organizations mitigate overhiring and strengthen workforce planning.


My one-page template for reevaluating HR priorities and initiatives. Can be used for non-HR functions.

Most organizations are well underway in executing their goals and objectives for 2024. While it is still early in the new year, it is not uncommon for organizations to be faced with changing circumstances (e.g., layoffs, talent shortages, a shift in the business environment) that require them to reevaluate priorities. As HR leaders face decisions throughout the year to reprioritize talent initiatives, here is my one-page template that can be used to facilitate conversations and decisions. The editable template provides space to list all HR initiatives, evaluate their impact on delivering stakeholder value, and assess the complexity and level of investment for each initiative. Leaders can then decide whether to stay the course, deprioritize, or further reevaluate objectives. Like all templates I share, this tool aims to jumpstart discussions and dialogue that can help teams make informed decisions. If you have not received my 2024 HR Goals and Priorities template—which helps to document and track progress for your 2024 objectives—you can take 2 minutes to complete your Talent Edge Weekly subscriber survey and get the template emailed to you in 5 minutes after you submit. The template can also be used by non-HR functions.


Deloitte’s new 122-page report on the most pressing workplace issues. One topic is “microcultures.”

Excerpt from p. 83 of the report

Each year, HR practitioners and business professionals eagerly anticipate Deloitte's annual Global Human Capital Trends report, a comprehensive analysis of key trends reshaping work, the workforce, and the workplace. Released this past week, the 2024 report identifies seven trends. With insights drawn from over 14,000 survey respondents across 95 countries, the report explores topics such as redefining worker performance metrics beyond productivity, scaling human capabilities like curiosity and empathy, fostering "microcultures" within organizations, and the rise of the boundaryless HR function. The section on microcultures, beginning on page 79, emphasizes that organizations should embrace a "culture of cultures" rather than pursue a singular common culture. This approach tailors cultures to the unique needs of local teams while aligning with overarching organizational values. The authors submit that the prevalent practice of assessing “cultural fit” during interviews often overlooks the existence of “microcultures” within specific parts of an organization, leading to post-hire misalignments in cultural expectations. The image of this post provides indicators of when an organization should adopt a microculture approach. Other topics are discussed in this robust 122-page report.


Research on the impact of work-from-home opportunities on working mothers.

According to the LeanIn and McKinsey & Company's 2023 Women in the Workplace Report, the largest study on women in corporate America, flexibility, such as the option to work from home (WFH), is highly valued by working mothers, with 57% stating they would leave their employer or reduce work hours without it. In a recent study by researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California, it was found that “on average, a 10% increase in WFH is associated with a 0.78 percentage point (or 0.94%) increase in mothers’ employment relative to that of other women. This result is even more pronounced in fields traditionally considered less family-friendly. These findings underscore the pivotal role of WFH in talent attraction and retention, especially for working mothers. I am resharing insights from a recent study on return-to-office (RTO) mandates, which examines 137 S&P 500 firms that publicly announced RTO mandates, analyzing their financial performance before and after implementation. Glassdoor employee reviews for these organizations were also scrutinized. Key findings include: 1) No significant changes were observed in the financial performance or stock market value of these firms after RTO mandates. 2) Glassdoor data suggests that RTO mandates adversely affected employee satisfaction. While the study is not without limitations, part of these findings challenge the notion that in-person office attendance drives company performance.


Insights for organizations to consider as they develop and implement strategic plans for integrating AI into the workplace.

Many workers and leaders are optimistic about the transformative impact of Generative AI (GenAI) on productivity and how we work. According to this in-depth article derived from Oliver Wyman Forum’s new 99-page report, How Generative AI is Transforming Business and Society: The Good, The Bad, and Everything in Between,” it took the internet 17 years, and smartphones 21 years to achieve global adoption. However, in just months, ChatGPT and new GenAI tools have captured the attention of approximately half of the global workforce, who report using GenAI weekly at work. The article highlights that in some nations, GenAI has become as ingrained in daily tasks as checking email, with India boasting an impressive 83% weekly adoption rate. Nevertheless, "mass adoption of GenAI does not automatically guarantee mass productivity." As illustrated in this post’s image, GenAI’s impact on productivity is likely to occur in three phases: 1) Individual Benefit (e.g., employees learning GenAI on their own and incorporating it into their daily work; up to 1 year), 2) Scaling Up (e.g., a growing number of employees and teams incorporating GenAI into workflows, some jobs are restructured; 1-5 years), and 3) Workplace Maturity (e.g., full enterprise integration, 6-10 years). The article provides many other insights and data points for organizations to consider as they develop and implement strategic plans for integrating AI into the workplace.


Did you get the 2024 HR Goals and Priorities Template? If not, take 2 minutes to complete your subscriber survey to get this resource! The template also includes a section for documenting “what won’t be done.”


Provides insights into which talent and workforce-related topics boards are prioritizing.

The Deloitte Global Boardroom Program conducted a survey involving nearly 500 board members and C-suite executives in over 50 countries, spanning various industries and company sizes. Only 36% of respondents believe the conversations within the board are sufficient to fully explore the talent agenda. The top two talent and workforce-related priorities for boards are: 1) aligning workforce-related investments with strategic priorities. 2) maximizing the benefits of combining tech and the workforce.


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

Partial view of tracker on brianheger.com

A few job cuts announced this past week:

  • DocuSign (NASDAQ: DOCU). The electronic signature solutions company will cut roughly 6% of its workforce (about 440 employees), as part of a restructuring plan. The cuts will mostly affect Sales and Marketing employees.

  • Estee Lauder (NYSE: EL). The cosmetics maker will be cutting its staff by 3%-5% or roughly 3,000 positions. The company is undertaking these layoffs to cut its expenses.

  • Snap (NYSE: SNAP). The Snapchat parent company will be undergoing a 10% workforce cut as the tech company announces layoffs, equating to around 529 employees.

Click here to access all listed announcements.


Walgreens Boots Alliance (DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS) [NASDAQ: WBA]—an integrated healthcare, pharmacy, and retail leader —announced the appointment of Elizabeth Burger as its new EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer. Prior to joining WBA, Burger served as SVP and CHRO at Flowserve, a leading provider of flow control products and services for global infrastructure markets. Before Flowserve, she held the role of CHRO for Hanesbrands Inc.​​

Elizabeth Burger​

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Provides ideas for implementing an ITM and covers topics such as determining what ITM data to leverage and how to incentivize participation.


Did you miss the “Best of January” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #220, which includes 18 of the most popular resources from the month. You can also access this issue on LinkedIn and share it with others.


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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. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, X, and brianheger.com