Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #239

Performance management, skills-based hiring, return to office updates, 8 resources on internal mobility, and HR transformation.


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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 research findings on whether the removal of academic degree requirements from job postings leads to the hiring of more candidates without degrees.

Many organizations report an increasing focus on skills-based hiring, where they prioritize candidates’ skills over traditional credentials such as academic degrees. However, does eliminating degree requirements from job postings lead to increased hiring of candidates without degrees? A new study analyzing 11,300 roles at large firms, covering at least one year before and after the removal of degree requirements, found that for every 100 job postings without a college degree requirement, only fewer than four additional candidates without degrees are hired. One barrier is that hiring managers still rely on degrees as a proxy for skills due to the lack of alternative evaluation tools, perpetuating traditional hiring practices. Sectors like healthcare and IT succeed in skills-based hiring due to established certifications that serve as credible alternatives to degrees. The authors note, “Without practical guidance on how to evaluate a candidate’s skills, many hiring managers will naturally continue to use degree attainment as a convenient means for sorting through applicants and distinguishing among the final candidates, regardless of what their job ads actually require.” The research underscores that merely removing degree requirements isn’t sufficient by itself to bridge the gap between the intent and impact of skills-based hiring. The authors provide six practical steps to give managers the tools to make skills-based hiring a reality. As an additional resource, here is the 18-page report on which the article is based.


Offers ideas for designing four key components of an organization’s PM: goal setting, performance reviews, ongoing development, and rewards.

Despite years of redesigning and modifying performance management (PM), HR practitioners still report barriers to effective PM, such as inconsistent approaches and "shadow" PM practices. This new article offers insights for practitioners to consider as they strengthen the impact of their organizations’ PM. It emphasizes the need for a "fit-for-purpose" PM design focused on four areas: goal setting, performance reviews, ongoing development, and rewards. Exhibit 1 illustrates these areas and the critical design choices they entail. For example, one choice in goal setting is whether to focus on individual or team goals or both. One mentioned European online retailer intentionally focuses on team goals: goals are set for the team, feedback is provided to the team, and they conduct team performance appraisals with metrics like project completion timelines, cross-functional collaboration success, and collective milestone achievements. This design choice was determined to be right for this organization. The article presents three questions that organizations can use to assess the effectiveness of their PM efforts, such as: Are we getting the expected returns from the time invested in PM, and does it drive higher performance and capabilities? To further help practitioners evaluate their PM design choices, I am resharing the Talent Strategy Group’s 2023 Global Performance Management report, which offers several ideas.


My updated summary sheet on how 14 organizations are modifying their RTO guidance.

Organizations continue to announce updates to their return to office (RTO) mandates, encompassing changes such as increasing the number of required in-office days, restricting specific days to work remotely, and incorporating workers’ compliance with RTO mandates into their performance reviews. A few recent RTO updates include: Walmart is asking most remote workers to work from company offices. The organization will still allow staff to work remotely part of the time, as long as they are in offices most of the time. In addition, workers in small tech-focused offices in Dallas, Atlanta, and Toronto are being asked to relocate to other central hubs like Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., Hoboken, N.J., and Northern California. Cognizant, a leading IT services company, has issued a warning to its employees that those who continue to ignore its RTO mandate despite repeated reminders could face severe disciplinary actions, including termination. Dell, which updated its RTO in February requiring most of its employees to work from the office three days a week and work a minimum of 39 days each quarter, has more recently started tracking its employees via their badge swipes and VPN connections—using a color-coded rating system to indicate compliance with RTO guidelines. To help you keep track of RTO announcements, here is my cheat sheet with announcements from 14 organizations.


My curated one page PDF with resources on internal mobility— from case studies to research on the benefits of IM.

Internal mobility (IM), the movement of employees across different roles and opportunities (e.g., projects, assignments, etc.) within an organization, is a critical component of talent management. However, despite its well-documented benefits, IM remains an underutilized talent strategy. As I continue to receive several requests for resources on the topic, I’ve created this one-page summary of eight resources. Two of the resources are case studies, including an article that shares Booz Allen's experience in launching an internal talent marketplace (ITM), sharing key lessons learned during the project's first year. One takeaway emphasizes the necessity for significant cultural shifts to effectively overcome ITM challenges, such as managers' reluctance to release their talent to other parts of the business. Another article details how Johnson & Johnson (J&J) leveraged AI to assess its workforce's current skills and alignment with future organizational success requirements. This process yielded workforce insights that guided employees' personal development. Other resources address various practices that enable IM in organizations, such as a culture of talent sharing, and academic research showing the benefits of IM.


Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood share four common pitfalls in HR transformation and provide tips on overcoming them.

This article by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood highlights four common pitfalls in HR transformation and provides tips on overcoming them. One pitfall (#2) is defining the structure of HR before understanding what makes the business distinctive. To help HR leaders grasp this distinctiveness and organize the HR function to support it, the article distinguishes four types of work. 1) Advantage Work directly impacts customer value and distinctiveness. 2) Strategic Work leverages advantage work. 3) Essential Work includes the necessary day-to-day tasks that keep the business running smoothly and must be done well enough. 4) Non-essential Work should be eliminated. While HR does not directly perform Advantage Work (the business does this), it should identify and build capabilities around the strategic work that supports Advantage Work (e.g., talent acquisition, development, compensation practices, etc., are strategic when applied to the Advantage work of the business). Dave and Norm advise that HR should organize itself by separating strategic work from essential work: "If the types of work are not separated, it’s virtually impossible to get strategic work done." As a bonus, I am resharing my 2016 article, Linking Talent Strategy With Business Strategy, which ties into how business capabilities are the link between business and HR strategies, one of Dave and Norm's other insights mentioned in their article.


Better understand the transformative potential of moving to skill-based in Josh Bersin’s The Journey to the Skills-Based Organization What Works, providing guidance for industry leaders on a new approach to HR and talent management. READ HERE




My new template to help identify critical roles, estimate related risks, and inform talent planning.


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 were announced this past week:

  • HelloFresh (OTCMKTS: HELFY). The meal-kit company plans to shut down its distribution center in Newnan, Georgia, resulting in 727 job cuts. The company makes the cuts as the strong demand it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has declined.

  • Indeed. The job search giant announced that it will be letting approximately 1,000 people go, representing ~8% of the company. The cuts are mostly concentrated in the US and are more focused on R&D and some Go-to-Market teams.

  • Walmart (NYSE: WMT). The retailer announced it is laying off several hundred people from its home office and global tech operations.

Click here to access all listed announcements.


Tory Burch (NEW YORK)—the American luxury fashion and lifestyle brand —has appointed Beverly Morgan as its new Chief People Officer effective June 3. Ms. Morgan succeeds Keisha Smith. Morgan joins from LVMH where she was most recently the Chief People Officer of Benefit Cosmetics, an LVMH global beauty brand. Before that, she worked for brands including Alexander Wang and Hugo Boss. Tory Burch also announced it is bolstering its leadership team with a new President of North America, Chief Merchandising Officer, and Global Supply Chain Officer. 

Beverly Morgan

If you want access to +3500 (and growing) detailed announcements of CHROs hired, promoted, and resigning, join my CHROs on the Go subscription—a one-stop-shop for knowing who is moving in and out of the Chief HR Officer role.

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The PDF includes 17 people analytics questions related to six categories: 1) Recruiting, 2) Performance / Productivity,  3) Internal mobility, 4) Employee Retention, 5) Employee Wellbeing, and 6) Diversity and Inclusion. The PDF includes an editable text box that you can use to answer the questions/add questions.


Did you miss the “Best of April ” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #236, which includes 16 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