Talent Edge Weekly - Issue 234

Enabling workforce planning through internal talent marketplaces, AI-based skill inferences, transitioning to a new Chief HR role, employee retention risk template, and deploying GenAI in HR.


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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. ⬇️



My slide on four SWP capabilities, the talent challenges they address, and how ITM enables the capabilities.

Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a priority for many organizations. Simultaneously, organizations increasingly use internal talent marketplaces (ITM) to deploy internal talent more effectively. While SWP and ITM are often discussed separately, ITM is an important enabler of workforce planning— necessitating a clear connection between the two. This PowerPoint slide illustrates four SWP capabilities, the talent challenges they address, and how ITM enables each capability. The slide is from my book chapter in Strategic Workforce Planning: Best Practices and Emerging Directions (The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Professional Practice Series—published 3/29/24). Two examples of how ITM enables SWP include: 1) Broadening the internal talent pool. Identify ”hidden” internal talent with the skills and the desire to take on new opportunities. 2) Unlocking workforce capacity. Release “trapped” capacity by enabling workers to flow to areas where their skills and interests add value. For those who want a chance to win a free copy of the new SWP book, I will be awarding copies to the top 10 readers who refer the most subscribers to Talent Edge Weekly over the next 14-day period (everyone starts at 0 referrals beginning now!). Just copy and paste your referral link to your preferred social media channels when recommending Talent Edge Weekly. The 10 winners will be announced in an upcoming newsletter issue. Here's your referral link! https://talentedgeweekly.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER (Note. Make sure you are signed in with your email and password to ensure that your referral code shows).


A case study on how Johnson & Johnson leveraged AI to assess its workforce's current skills and determine skill gaps.

This article presents a case study detailing how Johnson & Johnson (J&J) leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) to assess its workforce's current skills and their alignment with future requirements for organizational success. The organization followed a three-step process: 1) Developing a skills taxonomy by identifying skills crucial for future business plans, initially piloted within J&J’s Digital Talent team, resulting in 41 skills across 11 capability areas. 2) Collecting skills evidence by selecting and preparing employee data sources to analyze. The company used four data sources: the organization’s HR information system, recruiting database, learning management system, and one of its project management platforms. 3) Conduct a skills assessment, for which a machine learning model is trained to measure the skills proficiencies of each employee. Proficiency scores ranged from 0 (no skill detected) to 5 (thought leadership). Although more details are provided in the article, the result of this process yielded workforce insights that guided employees’ personal development, and the organization’s enhanced strategic workforce planning (SWP), both of which reduced skills gaps at J&J. J&J’s AI-driven skills inference process is exclusively utilized to offer personalized career development paths for employees and, at an aggregate level, to assist leaders in SWP. Other use cases are currently not permitted by J&J’s Privacy function. For more on this topic, check out my book chapter in Strategic Workforce Planning: Best Practices and Emerging Directions (The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Professional Practice Series—published 3/29/24).


Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood share insights on how new Heads of HR can accelerate their transition during their first 90 days.

The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) role continues to gain prominence in many organizations. Over the past 90 days alone, I have posted hundreds of new CHRO appointments on CHROs on the Goa subscription-based digital platform that provides insights into hires, promotions, and resignations in the CHRO role. These appointments range from first-time CHROs to seasoned heads of HR transitioning to a new CHRO role. As HR leaders make this transition, this article by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood shares critical questions that newly appointed CHROs should ask and answer during their first 90 days. The five main questions are: 1) Do I walk the talk about our business? 2) Do I have a broad map of the HR activities being done? 3) Do I have a sense of the key HR priorities? 4) Do I have the right team in place? 5) Do I clearly demonstrate my priorities and values through the transition? For each of the five main questions, there are sub-questions to help HR leaders go deeper into each topic. For example, for the main question, ‘Do I walk the talk about our business?,’ a few sub-questions include: Do I know how we make money? Do I see how (and how well) the business operates from multiple points of view? Do I have firsthand experience with the product/service? The article also provides actionable suggestions to help Chief HR Officers accelerate their transition.


A one-page template that helps managers assess employee retention risk.

Employee retention remains a top concern for many organizations. This one-page template provides a way for managers to evaluate the retention risk of their employees on 13 retention risk indicators. These indicators, based on a previously shared article by JR Keller, Timothy Gardner, and Brad Winn published in The People + Strategy Journal, form a Cues of Turnover Scale (CoTS).  A few indicators include: 1) Their productivity has decreased more than usual. 2) They have acted less like a team player than usual. 3) They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual. I have integrated the 13 statements into this editable template by listing the statement in the left column. 1) Managers can then use the first row of empty columns to enter the names of employees to be assessed. 2) Managers can then respond to each risk statement by putting a checkmark in the box if they believe the employee has shown the behavior over the last 2 to 3 months. Clicking the box will automatically insert a check mark. Upon completion, the visual will show where the most significant risk exists (i.e., more check marks indicate high risk). The insights can inform actions for mitigating employee retention risk in the most critical areas.  


Outlines five primary approaches to deploying GenAI in HR and shares seven questions to evaluate vendor capabilities.

This article outlines five primary approaches to deploying GenAI in HR, each with its own advantages and considerations, spanning from simplicity to customization. Regardless of the approach, all require HR to collaborate with IT teams on topics related to compliance, security, and alignment with organizational requirements. Further, as HR leaders and their teams engage with HR tech vendors to understand vendor capabilities and limitations, it’s important to ask the right questions to avoid overpromising and misunderstanding vendor capabilities. The article includes seven questions HR teams can ask vendors, including: 1) What mechanisms will ensure the accuracy of the generated output, and how can we actively monitor and verify its correctness? 2) How does the tool access and interact with our HR data and knowledge bases? What security measures safeguard this sensitive information? 3) How can we jointly engage in corrective actions if a generative AI tool provides false information? 4) How does the system manage highly sensitive HR data? Are certain use cases restricted to ensure data protection? As a bonus, I am resharing this 33-page toolkit developed by the World Economic Forum in partnership with GEP. It offers a framework to help internal practitioners navigate the AI procurement landscape and ask relevant questions during the evaluation process.


My one-page worksheet for thinking through workforce planning responses to different scenarios.


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:

  • McKinsey & Company. Is preparing to cut around 360 jobs across its design, data engineering, cloud, and software divisions. The move comes in response to a slowing demand for consultancy services.

  • Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). Is laying off more than 10% of its global workforce, equivalent to at least 14,000 roles, as the electric carmaker reacts to slowing demand and pressure on prices.

  • Toshiba Corp (OTCMKTS: TOSYY). Is reportedly planning to reduce its workforce in Japan by 5,000 employees, amounting to approximately 10% of its total headcount. 

Click here to access all listed announcements.


BNY Mellon (NEW YORK) [NYSE: BK]—a global financial services company — has appointed Shannon Hobbs as Chief People Officer. Ms. Hobbs will join the company on June 3, reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer, Robin Vince, and will be a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Ms. Hobbs joins BNY Mellon from GEICO, where she most recently served as Chief People Officer. Prior to Geico, Ms. Hobbs was the Chief Human Resources Officer for American Century Investments.

Shannon Hobbs

If you want access to +3600 (and growing) detailed announcements of CHROs hired, promoted, and resigning, join CHROs on the Go—a one-stop-shop for knowing who is moving in and out of the Chief HR Officer role.

If you are already a subscriber to CHROs on the Go, log in here.





In this article, Josh Bersin shares five tactics for mitigating overhiring, including HR and recruiters engaging in strategic discussions with hiring managers who want to open a job requisition.


Did you miss the “Best of March” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #230, which includes 15 of the most popular resources from the month.


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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