Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #245

AI in HR, strategic workforce planning, HR innovation, Chief HR Officer, and 100 people analytics questions.

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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 a quick overview with links and brief descriptions of the topics covered, check out the summary below. If you want my deep dive, continue reading 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 

AI IN HR

IBM’s CHRO, Nickle LaMoreaux, shares how the company started its AI journey by gaining some quick AI wins.

AI has significant potential to enable productivity in HR. A BCG analysis suggests that AI can boost HR productivity by up to 30 percent across the value chain. To tap this potential, HR leaders must carefully choose which AI use cases to explore to add value for organizational stakeholders. In this article, IBM's Chief HR Officer, Nickle LaMoreaux, describes how IBM started its AI in HR journey by eliminating inefficient processes, leading to quick wins. The HR team targeted high-volume, repetitive tasks, processes that employees find tedious, and critical moments where accuracy and speed are crucial. This focus resulted in the introduction of AskHR, a digital AI assistant that now answers 94 percent of HR FAQs and policy questions worldwide, reducing task completion time by over 75 percent. The article covers five lessons learned in implementing AI in HR, including the importance of leading with use cases rather than technology. Nickle also advises HR leaders not to wait for “the perfect time” or “that perfect project” to start taking action simply because it doesn’t exist; delaying AI implementation only puts teams further behind. As HR teams consider use cases to explore, here is my editable AI in HR use cases worksheet as an additional resource. Also, here is a web version of the IBM article as an alternative to the PDF.

WORKFORCE PLANNING

My one-page playlist of 5 resources addressing different aspects of SWP.

As HR leaders and their teams continue to prioritize strategic workforce planning (SWP), I've curated a one-page playlist featuring five SWP resources. Some resources include: Can You Answer These 6 Questions Related to Your Organization’s Strategic Workforce Planning?—my one-page slide posing six critical questions to guide SWP efforts. How to Leverage Data for More Influential Workforce Planning—a Gartner report outlining three steps to assess talent risks and use insights to inform SWP. Scenario Planning Worksheet for Workforce Planning—my one-page template to help organizations adapt their workforce plans to different scenarios. Talent Acquisition and Strategic Workforce Planning: A Powerful Partnership—a paper by The Conference Board discussing how enhanced collaboration between SWP and talent acquisition teams can close gaps in workforce planning. You can also check out the recently released book from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Professional Practice Series, Strategic Workforce Planning: Best Practices and Emerging Directions, which features 16 chapters on SWP. I’m honored to have authored one of the chapters!

HR INNOVATION

Shares three ways that HR can enable greater innovation within the function, including defining the value of each HR innovation.

The HR function continuously seeks innovative solutions to address both ongoing and emerging workforce challenges. However, as highlighted in this Gartner article, HR often faces significant barriers to innovation, such as insufficient collaboration among HR teams and a lack of a clear process for proposing new ideas. The article suggests three strategies to overcome these challenges: 1) defining the value of HR innovation, 2) embedding innovation networks, and 3) establishing structured innovation processes. Concerning the first strategy— defining HR innovation’s value— Figure 1 presents a framework of seven critical dimensions to guide the focus and scope of innovative initiatives. At the company level, these dimensions include novelty, market impact, timing, and scale. The program or initiative level encompasses focus, participation, and breadth.  Each dimension provides a range of options, such as the Novelty dimension, which spans from "something we haven’t done" to "something nobody in the world has done," and the Scale dimension, which ranges from "small/incremental" to "large/radical." This framework could be helpful to HR leaders and their teams as they evaluate and articulate the scope, benefits, and value of their innovations.

CHRO EFFECTIVENESS

Addresses how the CHRO role increasingly requires a blend of business savvy, technological understanding, and deep HR expertise.

The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) role continues to grow in importance in many organizations. In this new article by Josh Bersin, he emphasizes how the CHRO role is becoming increasingly multifaceted and vital, requiring a blend of business savvy, technological understanding, and deep HR expertise. This evolving landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for current and aspiring CHROs. Key areas include: updating HR technology, where CHROs must modernize complex legacy systems and leverage AI to enhance efficiency and employee experience; organizational redesign, as companies shift from traditional hierarchies to more agile, cross-functional structures, requiring CHROs to lead changes in job roles, pay structures, performance management, and career development; and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), where CHROs are crucial in integrating new acquisitions, aligning leadership, and managing potential downsizing. Ideas are discussed for these and other areas. As a bonus, I am resharing the 37-page Accenture report: The CHRO as Growth Executive. It covers how a new type of CHRO is stepping up to lead their C-suite peers in connecting data, technology, and people, and cultivating collaboration—referred to as High-Res CHROs.

PEOPLE ANALYTICS AND METRICS

A 16-page paper listing 100 questions across 9 categories that organizations can use to assess and measure their most important talent issues.

HR leaders and their teams continue to refine their 2024 priorities and underlying metrics and measures. However, a few challenges that arise when selecting the most effective measures include 1) Just selecting measures that are obvious and basic, 2) Only selecting measures that are currently available3) Treating all measures of equal importance and, as a result, having too many measures (information overload), 4) No clear line of sight between the talent metrics and execution of business strategy5) Selecting metrics without starting with the question the organization is trying to answer. To help HR teams overcome this challenge, this 16-page reference includes 100 questions to help HR teams decide which few vital questions are most important to their organizations. It provides criteria for selecting key performance indicators (KPIs) that can show progress toward addressing these questions. The questions span nine talent categories. A few include: recruiting, onboarding, employee experience, compensation and benefits, mobility, career development, and more. This resource is invaluable for HR teams aiming to start with the essential questions and then determine the core talent metrics and measures that matter most to their organizations.

MOST POPULAR FROM LAST WEEK 

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.

According to Amy C. Edmondson and Mark Mortensen, “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.” This article shares three steps for how leaders can reframe their narratives as they create and communicate flexible work policies.

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:

  • Care/of. The personalized vitamin packs provider says it canceled all subscriptions as of Monday, June 17, and will no longer accept new orders. The company announced it will lay off all 143 employees by July 3 due to a “funding loss.” Pharmaceutical giant Bayer acquired a 70% stake in Care/of in 2020.

  • Chegg (NYSE: CHGG). The digital-education learning platform provider announced a restructuring plan that will reduce its global headcount by 23%, or 441 employees.

  • Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). The chipmaker has announced that it will lay off an unspecified number of employees to cut costs and improve margins. In April, Intel laid off an unspecified number of workers in its sales and marketing unit.

Click here to access all listed announcements.

CHIEF HR OFFICER HIRE OF THE WEEK

Virgin Atlantic (WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND)— a British airline— has announced a crucial appointment to its senior leadership team, as Becky Woodmansee takes up the position of Chief People Officer. She will report directly to CEO Shai Weiss, playing an important role in the Virgin Atlantic Leadership Team. Becky joins from Whitbread plc where she has been People Director of Premier Inn & Restaurants UK for the past five years, a business with £2.8 billion in revenues and a workforce of 37,000 people.

Becky Woodmansee

If you want access to +3700 (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.

Also, here is my PDF that includes summaries of seven Chief HR Officers who were hired or promoted in April through May 2024.

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

FROM X

RETURN-TO-OFFICE

TALENT EDGE WEEKLY REWIND

SKILLS-BASED HIRING

An 18-page report that examines the impact of removing academic degree requirements on the increased hiring of candidates without degrees.

This report, based on a study of 11,300 roles at large firms, spanning at least one year before and after the removal of degree requirements, revealed that, on average, firms only saw a 3.5 percentage point increase in the hiring of workers without a BA. In essence, the promised expansion of opportunities through skills-based hiring materialized in less than 1 in 700 hires last year. However, 37% of the analyzed firms, classified as Skills-Based Hiring Leaders, managed a nearly 20% increase in hiring workers without BAs. Some of these leading firms include Koch Industries, Walmart, Apple, General Motors, Target, Cigna, Tyson Foods, ExxonMobil, Yelp, as well as government employers like the State of Minnesota and the City of Denver.

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