Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #244

Employee alumni networks, new hybrid work study, return-to-office conversations, HR prioritization template, and organizational culture.

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Welcome to this week’s issue of Talent Edge Weekly!

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THIS WEEK'S CONTENT

If you just want links and a brief description of the topics covered, below is a glance at that information. If you want my deep dive, read the rest of the newsletter.

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

Let’s dive in! ⬇️

THIS WEEK'S EDGE 

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

Shares the benefits of alumni networks—former employees who actively maintain a connection with an organization after their employment ends. One benefit is talent acquisition.

Is re-recruiting former employees part of your talent strategy? Many organizations recruit from untapped talent pools to gain a competitive edge, yet they often overlook rehiring former employees. This is a missed opportunity, as a study in the Academy of Management Journal found that former employees often outperform new hires, especially in roles requiring strong relational skills and internal coordination. While not all former employees should be re-recruited, some may wish to return, bringing in-demand skills. How can organizations make it easier for former employees to return? As noted in this article, one way is to make employee exits a natural part of the employee experience (EX). Traditionally, EX has focused heavily on hiring, onboarding, and retaining employees but less on offboarding. This oversight is noteworthy, as the ‘peak-end rule’ indicates that people remember experiences based on their ‘peak’ (i.e., its most intense point) and their ‘end’ rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the experience. A less-than-optimal exit process can leave a poor impression and detract from a well-crafted EX strategy. The article advocates establishing alumni networks to help integrate employee exits as part of a strong EX. I’m also resharing the HBR article, Leave the Door Open for Employees to Return to Your Organization, which shares an example of Bain’s alumni program.

HYBRID WORK

A new study by Nicholas Bloom and his colleagues on the impact of hybrid work schedules on turnover, job satisfaction, and performance.

As leaders navigate return-to-office (RTO) decisions, a segment of them increasingly relies on research-based studies for guidance. A new study by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom and colleagues investigated the impact of hybrid work schedules on turnover, job satisfaction, and performance through a six-month randomized controlled trial involving 1,612 employees at a tech firm in China. The trial compared two groups: 1) one working from home two days a week and in the office three days, and 2) another working full-time in the office. Key findings reveal a significant reduction in turnover rates (by one-third) and enhanced job satisfaction among employees on hybrid schedules, with no detrimental effect on their performance compared to those exclusively in the office. I am also resharing: 1) A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh that showed no significant changes in S&P 500 firms’ financial performance or stock market value post-RTO mandates but identified a decline in employee satisfaction. 2) Research from the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California shows a 10% increase in work-from-home opportunities corresponds with a 0.78 percentage point (or 0.94%) increase in mothers’ employment relative to other women. Empirical research studies like these can contribute to more informed decision-making that reduces reliance on trends, biases, and anecdotal information.

RETURN-TO-OFFICE

Amy C. Edmondson and Mark Mortensen address the importance of “framing”—how an issue is presented— when holding RTO conversations with workers.

I recently shared an update on how 14 organizations have modified their return-to-office (RTO) mandates. These updates include increasing the number of required in-office days, restricting specific days for remote work, and incorporating workers’ compliance with RTO mandates into performance reviews, to name a few. Organizations have communicated their RTO announcements in various ways, with varying degrees of effectiveness. A new HBR article by Amy C. Edmondson and Mark Mortensen discusses the importance of “framing” when communicating RTO. “Framing refers to how an issue is presented; it’s the meaning layered onto an issue or situation that shapes how people think about its objective facts. More precisely, it’s about re-framing: deliberately replacing taken-for-granted cognitive frames with more helpful ones.” The article shares three steps for how leaders can reframe their narratives as they create and communicate flexible work policies. One step is approaching the RTO process as data-driven, co-created, iterative learning. With this as the backdrop, I am resharing a white paper and 2) a PDF presentation by Cisco, which describes the company's data-driven approach to inform, communicate, and evolve their decisions on RTO and hybrid work.

HR EFFECTIVENESS

My one-page editable template for reevaluating HR priorities and initiatives. It can also be used for non-HR functions.

As we reach the midpoint of 2024, it's a natural time to reflect on progress toward the organizational goals and objectives set at the start of the year. While many organizations, teams, and individuals are well on their way to achieving these goals, some goals may need to be reprioritized due to changing circumstances, such as layoffs, talent shortages, or shifts in the business environment. As HR leaders and their teams face decisions about reevaluating HR priorities and initiatives, here is my one-page template to facilitate these conversations. This editable template provides space to list all HR initiatives, evaluate their impact on delivering stakeholder value, and assess the complexity and level of investment required for execution over the remainder of the year. Teams 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 help teams make informed decisions. Tailor it to your needs and enhance it by adding criteria for ‘business impact’ and ‘investment & complexity’ that fit your organization. The tool can also be used for non-HR functions.

CULTURE AND WELLBEING

Discusses how a "covering culture"—where employees feel pressured to downplay their identities to fit in—can undermine well-being and performance.

This new article discusses how a "covering culture"—where employees feel pressured to downplay their identities (such as race, gender, or sexual orientation) to fit in—can undermine well-being, performance, and productivity. In the US alone, 60% of surveyed workers reported feeling this pressure, with 74% experiencing negative impacts and 60% reporting reduced well-being; the impact is more pronounced for nondominant groups. The article proposes strategies for leaders to address the underlying cultural issues that lead to covering. Additionally, this supplemental 29-page report, Uncovering Culture, dives deeper into the topic. Page 3 includes 12 examples of ways survey respondents report “covering," such as Education: “I try to avoid conversations about education because I'm the only person I work with who doesn't have at least one degree.” Caregiver status (dependent adult or child). “I've covered the fact that I'm a working parent at work ... having to spend mindshare on kids (and parents as a caregiver), might give the impression I'm not fully committed to the work at the office. I don't want to miss out on promotions or a chance to lead, so I downplay my roles at home.” Is your organization’s employee listening channels tapping into aspects of a “covering culture?”

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MOST POPULAR FROM LAST WEEK 

INTERNAL MOBILITY

My template to help organizations evaluate the impact of their internal mobility (IM) guidelines on internal talent movement.

Many organizations have internal mobility (IM) policies and guidelines to support career development. These guidelines are intended to facilitate better decision-making, streamline internal processes, ensure compliance with laws and regulations, and minimize business disruption. While guidelines can be helpful, certain types can impede internal movement by overly regulating the rules and conditions under which these moves occur. To support your effort, here is my template to facilitate a discussion on the topic.

JOB CUTS AND LAYOFF TRACKER

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:

  • FedEx (NYSE: FDX). Is planning to trim its workforce in Europe to reduce "structural costs."  The cuts are estimated to impact between 1,700 and 2,000 employees.

  • Medtronic (NYSE: MDT). The world’s largest medical device company announced it will be reducing roles across its global workforce. The number of cuts has not been provided.

  • Onsemi (NASDAQ: ON). The semiconductor company has announced plans to cut ~1,000 jobs. The job cuts are due to the slowing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), where the company’s chips assist drivers in EV drive trains.

Click here to access all listed announcements.

CHIEF HR OFFICER HIRE OF THE WEEK

Accenture (DUBLIN, IRELAND) [NYSE: ACN]—a leading global professional services company—announced that Angela Beatty, Global Lead, Talent, Rewards, and Employee Experience, will become Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer on September 1, 2024, and will join the Global Management Committee. She succeeds Ellyn Shook, who is retiring after 36 years of service with Accenture. Shook will step down as Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer and member of the Global Management Committee on August 31, 2024, and retire on March 1, 2025. She will then become an Accenture Luminary.

Angela Beatty

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FROM X

REMOTE WORK

TALENT EDGE WEEKLY REWIND

INTERNAL MOBILITY

This article delves into internal talent hoarding among managers, who obstruct their direct reports’ growth within the organization by withholding support for promotions or discouraging their direct reports from seeking other internal roles. Shares ways to incentivize managers to share talent.

THE BEST OF MAY 2024

Did you miss the “Best of May ” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #241, which includes 16 of the most popular resources from the month.

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OUR RESOURCE LINEUP

brianheger.com provides free access to +1,300 curated articles, research reports, podcasts, and more that help practitioners drive better business results through strategic human resources and talent management.

CHROS on the Go is a subscription that provides the easiest and most convenient way to stay informed about Chief Human Resources Officer hires, promotions, and resignations in organizations of all sizes and industries.

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