Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #214

Consolidated view of 2024 talent trends and priorities, new GenAI and future of work report, deconstructing jobs, E&Y's work index report, and leadership development.


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The skill-based organization is growing in popularity, with Booking.com, GSK, United Airlines, Emerson, HSBC, and others adopting it. However, less than 20% of companies have been able to implement a skill-based approach.

During this session, you will be joined by Mikael Wornoo from TechWolf in conversation with Christophe Cabrera, Head of IT Talent & Company Reputation at UCB, to explore the practical tips on starting your skill-based approach, plus examples of how leading organizations are putting this into action today.

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Here’s a glance at this week’s content. A deep dive is in the section that follows.

Also, check out the 2023 job cuts tracker & Chief HR Officer hire of the week.

Let’s dive in.


Every year around this time, I create a one-page cheat sheet consolidating talent and workforce trends reported by various sources for the upcoming year. While some practitioners may not find value in reports on trends and priorities, I find them helpful for gaining insights into external perspectives on prevalent talent and workplace topics. To assist HR practitioners and leaders in distilling these insights, I've started to merge 2024 priorities and trends from a few sources into a single snapshot. Although these sources don't encompass all available reports (as some are yet to be published), they offer a sample from reputable organizations like Gartner, McLean & Company, i4cp, and Glassdoor Economic Research. You can click the company logo to access the source report or learn how to obtain it (a few require you to download the report directly). I will update this cheat sheet with more resources as they become available and then add my typical color-coded format (see 2023 version)—where I show common themes across the different reports. For now, this one-page draft can help you gain directional insights into the various trends and priorities being reported by multiple sources.

This newly released report by the Deloitte AI Institute provides a comprehensive review of the impact of GenAI on the future of work. While there are various insights in this 43-page report, the section beginning on page 20 delves into fundamental distinctions between 'work,' 'jobs,' 'tasks,' and 'skills’ and the interplay between each in the context of GenAI. 1) Work represents the outcome achieved (e.g., achieving sales targets, increasing customer satisfaction) through the utilization of human capabilities and tools. 2) Jobs (e.g., sales representative, account manager) have been the traditional construct to describe the work humans do to achieve the work outcomes. 3) Tasks (e.g., writing a report) are specific activities performed to achieve work. 4) Skills (e.g., problem-solving, data analysis) enable the execution of tasks. In viewing these four components within the realm of GenAI, it's crucial to acknowledge that a) both humans and GenAI have skills that can perform tasks to achieve work outcomes and b) some tasks are best performed by humans, others by GenAI, and some are performed best through a blend of both. To help determine which work tasks can be best delivered through which option, page 23 (image of this post) and page 24 provide practical frameworks.

This forthcoming manuscript, slated for publication in the 2024 issue of the Journal of Academy of Management Perspectives, covers the emerging concept of "job deconstruction," which involves breaking down roles into tasks and projects to match workers based on their skill sets. The article addresses several challenges (and paradoxes) in deconstructing jobs into tasks and examines how organizations can navigate these challenges. While there are numerous insights to point out from this 44-page manuscript, one point raised is that job deconstruction exists on a continuum, as evidenced by companies such as Zappos, Unilever, Schneider Electric, and Seagate Technologies. For instance, Zappos operates without fixed jobs, emphasizing temporary functional roles based on projects and tasks rather than hierarchy or job descriptions, while Unilever's U-Work Program blends the flexibility of contract roles with the security of permanent positions; individuals work varying assignments and are paid a monthly retainer and get benefits whether they’re working on an assignment or not. Page 32 summarizes the four company examples. As a supplement to the academic paper, here is also a shorter version that was just published in Forbes and based on the Academy of Management Perspectives version.

Ernst & Young (EY) just released its third annual Future Workplace Index, which tracks C-suite and executive sentiment and behavioral data around the workplace of the future. One of the topics covered in this 23-page slide deck is remote and hybrid work: 88% of surveyed companies report that they require or encourage 3+ days a week back in the office. Almost 60% of surveyed companies have assigned employees to in-office days—meaning their employees are required to be in the office on specific days of the week. When asked about the reason for bringing employees back into the office, the most commonly cited response was increasing productivity (29%). As organizations continue to evaluate their return-to-office mandates, I am resharing this article by Microsoft WorkLab, which discusses the practice of setting “in-person” office expectations based on “moments that matter” instead of enforcing a minimum number of office days. The article highlights research identifying three scenarios where in-person connections offer distinct advantages: 1) Strengthening team cohesion, especially vital in the context of increasingly dispersed organizations. 2) Facilitating effective onboarding for new roles, teams, or companies, as face-to-face interactions foster trust and relationship-building during the initial stages of a new job. 3) Initiating a project, particularly in its early phases, to align team members, stimulate innovation, and share tacit knowledge. What are the moments that matter for in-person interaction in your organization? 

Many organizations incorporate leadership development programs as a critical component of their leadership development strategy. However, as organizations find ways to maximize their talent investments, proving the tangible return on investment for these programs has grown increasingly essential. This article highlights the limitations of current leadership development programs and underscores the need for a more evidence-based and results-focused approach. The authors emphasize the necessity for buyers of leadership programs (or developers of in-house programs) to ask better questions when determining the program's vision, learning, and impact. The image of this post shows examples of what organizations are probably asking versus what they should be asking. The article delves into each of these questions in more detail. As a bonus, this article by Heidrick & Struggles offers five key success factors for an evidence-based approach to measuring the impact of leadership development and learning programs. The second factor— defining success in tangible terms—suggests starting with questions such as: What business problem(s) are we trying to address? How can learning assist? What business outcome(s) are we seeking to achieve? Which business key performance indicators (KPIs) should we target? When can we expect to see significant movement in these KPIs?


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Let’s dive back in.


This 10-page paper shares insights for transitioning to a skill-based organization (SBO), outlining the 6 Pillars crucial for an SBO. You can also check out my post about this report on LinkedIn.

Also, here are 10 Q&A’s I’ve curated from different reports on SBO.


Partial view of the tracker

Here is my tracker, which includes announcements from a segment of organizations that have conducted job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023.

A few firms that announced job cuts this past week include:

  • Cruise. The GM self-driving car subsidiary is laying off 900 workers to slash costs and revamp the company. The cuts are expected to impact non-engineering jobs, particularly those people who work in commercial operations and corporate staffing.

  • Etsy. (NASDAQ: ETSY). Announced it is laying off 225 employees — about 11% of its workforce — and restructuring its executive team. The 225 positions being eliminated span all functions, levels, tenures, and locations and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

  • Hasbro. (NASDAQ: HAS). The toy and entertainment giant is cutting roughly 1,110 jobs, or nearly 17% of its workforce, citing a softer market for toys. The layoffs follow a reduction of 800 jobs at the company earlier this year.

Click here to access all listed announcements from 2023.


PVH Corp. (NEW YORK) [NYSE: PVH]—one of the world’s largest and most admired fashion companies— announced the promotion of Amba Subrahmanyam to Chief People Officer at PVH. Subrahmanyam joined PVH in February 2022 and currently serves as Executive Vice President of People for PVH Americas and Calvin Klein Global. Prior to PVH, Subrahmanyam held HR leadership roles at Tapestry, Tory Burch and Coach. She succeeds Julie Fuller, who joined the company in 2020 and is leaving PVH to pursue other opportunities. This succession will be effective February 5, 2024, to allow time for a seamless transition.

Amba Subrahmanyam​ ​

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This one-page editable PDF includes a sample of 10 succession planning metrics that organizations can refer to as they track and measure the effectiveness of their succession management practices. While 10 metrics are provided, organizations can select the vital few (or include others) for which they want to track progress.


Did you miss the “Best of November” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #211, which includes 16 of the most popular resources from November. 


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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 with a Fortune 150 organization. Brian holds responsibilities for Strategic Talent and Workforce Planning. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, Twitter, and brianheger.com 3