Talent Management part 2: exploring the employee journey – it’s a marathon, not a sprint

Talent management: the employee journey marathon


In my last article we concluded that Talent Management (TM) was not a stand-alone activity that can be ‘done’ to people.  It is the compounding effect of people practices, leadership and thoughtful execution. As a definition TM is having robust people and culture structures, practice and initiatives that when combined add value to the employee journey while enhancing organisational brand.


Talent Management

In this article I’d like to focus on the employee lifecycle, or what’s more commonly referred to as the ‘employee journey and experience’.

One way to look at this journey is through the lens of time. There is significant anecdotal evidence that indicates that it takes between 18 – 24 months for a new employee to reach peak performance.  Once there, it is short-lived and with each passing year we see a steady decline in engagement levels if we abandon our leadership post. Employee abandonment results in engagement levels trending downwards which increases the ‘employee flight risk’ for a short time before everything starts to flat line. It is this flat line that leaders should fear the most. This is what I call the ‘stay risk’. Employees are so entrenched in their mind sets that they feel stuck in a job that they possibly no longer enjoy.  They become change resistant and blocks for the organisation to manoeuvre during times of significant change. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this happening or at least minimising both ‘flight’ and stay’ risks.

  1. Understanding your organisations employee journey and experience

While generic models help us understand the various stages, each of our organisations are infinitely different as each journey reflects the culture within. For this reason, I encourage my clients to understand what journey they actually have on the table for their employees.  This requires a combination of brave leadership together with core HR metrics to analyse the joint effects.

  • What retention trends are our employees showing at significant milestones during their career?
  • How much and what type of L&D do we provide our employees at various stages of their careers?
  • Do we focus across all levels of our organisations, or are L&D opportunities for the lucky few?

These are just some of the rich questions we need to uncover to discover the real ‘experience’ that we are offering.

  1. Identify the critical path – our must hit targets for developing talent

With trends analysed by hard data we can start to paint a picture of the key risk times as well as key risk situations where employees are likely to disengage or exit the organisation. This becomes a ‘critical path’ of sorts where we need our P&C initiatives and practices to intervene or manage the risks. These are the things we must get right in our organisation to ensure that our people avoid boredom, feelings of being stuck, overlooked or developing closed mindsets.

  1. What do we offer at each critical step?

Having a range of options for employees adds value to their own ideas of what type of development they should receive. L&D budgets are not bottomless pits – if you are lucky enough to even have a budget. Innovative ways to develop talent need not be expensive nor be formal traditional types of learning activities. The use of the 70:20:10 model for L&D is a case in point. So why not invest more time and effort in the 70:20 ratio – it actually perpetuates the notion of talent management as internal experts become mentors and leaders which also helps to develop them as well. You get double the benefits!

The employee journey has many twists and turns, starts and stops, forward and backward momentum. To truly add value to our ‘most valuable asset’ we need to nurture our employees and provide them with options for their development as they run the marathon that is their career.

In my next article, I will focus on how our employer brand affects the way we attract and develop talent in our sector.

If you would like more information about how to implement or enhance you talent management processes, please contact our Senior HR Consultant, Andrea Collett.

Andrea Collett


Andrea Collett
Phone: 0422 437 153
Email: acollett@cbb.com.au

Takeaways from Better Boards conference 2018

The Better Boards conference 2018 was on the theme of customer-centric governance. Inevitably, as a conference for not for profit boards, there was also broader discussion about boardJane Arnott presenting at Better Boards Conference 2018  performance and behaviours. Here’s our top takeaways from Better Boards conference 2018

Customer centricity

  1. Employee experience determines customer experience: a recurring theme from conference speakers (including our own session) was that employee engagement is the pre-requisite for high quality customer experience. Unhappy, uncommitted, disengaged employees cannot deliver high quality customer interactions. This message was neatly summarised by Charles Weiser of Optus and Campbell Page “Your customer experience can never be higher than your employee experience”.
  1. There are reality – or perception – gaps in customer engagement. These apply in two contexts. The first is that organisations’ understanding of what customers feel or think is rarely an accurate reflection of what they actually think – our perceptions are laden with assumptions, generalisations or misunderstandings. The second is that customers themselves will say one thing, but do something else. This is why survey results can be very unreliable. Both Charles Weiser and Amantha Imber (Inventium) raised this issue. Which leads us to….
  1. Observe rather than ask: you will learn more from observing what customers do, than simply asking them what they think. Observation will tell you more about customer behaviours and frustrations, and then you can test your thinking or new ideas by experimentation – for example by testing your minimum viable product – rather than by surveys or focus groups. Again, this was a message echoed by both Amantha Imber and Charles Weiser.


Board and leadership behaviours


  1. Shadow values: we talk about our explicit organisation values, but we also have shadow values that define the way we work in our organisations, but may not be openly discussed. These can be positive – such as a passion for our work – but they can also be negative, such as unwritten rules that drive internal, unhealthy competition between teams. It’s important to surface and address the shadow values in order to truly deliver cultural change (David Burfoot, The Ethics Centre).
  1. Listening: Professor Grace McCarthy (University of Woolongong) led us through an exercise in uninterrupted listening, with one person sharing a problem or challenge and the other listening, and perhaps paraphrasing, without interrupting or advising. It was a powerful demonstration of how we can solve our own problems, if we simply have time to think them through by verbalising them.
  1. 72 hour rule: Malcolm Dix of Bullshift asked us if we often have ‘conversations in our head’ when we think through all the things that we should have said, or would like to say, but we never actually verbalise. He suggested the ’72 hour rule’ – if you’ve been brooding on an issue for three days, move the conversation from your head to the outside world and actually address the issue with the person in question.
  1. Decision fatigue: Amantha Imber (Inventium) took on poll on when we made most of our important decisions, and then introduced us to the concept of decision fatigue, likening our decision making capability to a battery that is charged overnight, but runs down during the day, leading to us making thoughtful decisions in the morning, but selecting the easiest option as the day progresses. Her advice: make all your important decisions in the morning. Now that will be a challenge for all those boards that meet in the evening…

CBB works with not for profits on organisational culture, employee behaviours and customer experience.  If you’d like to know more about how CBB can help you built an engaged, customer-centric workforce, contact Jane Arnott, General Manager Consulting and Business Services.


Jane Arnott
General Manager, Consulting and Business Services
Email: jarnott@cbb.com.au
Phone: 1300 284 364

Marketing dashboards:know your numbers or you’ll fail

“Know your numbers, or you’ll fail”. 

These were some words of advice I received during my first week as a marketer.

marketing dashboards on a computer screenWorking in a big business, I had a large budget to access market research and analytical tools to dissect the data. When it came to measuring marketing results, the possibilities were endless.

But what can you measure without those resources? Quite a lot!  The most important thing is to choose what to measure. In this article I’ll help you get to know your numbers, by creating a simple marketing dashboard to keep track of whether your marketing strategy is working. It’s all about making your data work smarter, not harder.

Making a marketing dashboard

What’s on your marketing dashboard will vary from organisation to organisation, depending on your marketing strategy:

  • what you are trying to achieve
  • who you are trying to reach
  • which action you want people to take.

Your marketing dashboard should measure the overall performance of your organisation’s revenue-generating activities, as well as monitoring marketing activities across three, separate domains:

  1. Branding/reputation
  2. Direct marketing activities that aim to drive a particular response (e.g.: sign ups to an event, sales enquiries)
  3. Overall engagement with your organisation.

Because each of these domains plays a very different role in your marketing mix, be careful not to make direct comparisons between their results. For example, because the aim of a brand campaign is to build awareness and create a positive sentiment toward your brand, it might not generate as many enquiries as a direct marketing activity – but without it, your direct campaign may not have delivered the same number of enquiries. Remember a smart strategy will have both kinds of activity. Deciding a few key measures to include in each of these three domains will make it easier to spot your successes and problems.  Below are some suggestions to get you started.

Choosing your marketing measures

Overall performance of your organisation’s revenue-generating activities

  • Total sales – compare year to date sales against your budget. If your sales are seasonal, make sure you compare the same period this year to last year.
  • Enquiries by source – call centre, visits to locations, website forms etc.
  • Marketing expenditure – how much have you spent to achieve these results?
  • Marketing cost per sale – Marketing expenditure/number of sales – this will help determine your marketing budget for the year and each campaign
  • Marketing cost per enquiry – Marketing expenditure/number of enquiries – again this will help guide your budgeting decisions

Performance of marketing activities in three separate domains:

  1. Branding/reputation building activity
  • Brand awareness and reach– Ideally you’d have a survey conducted by a market research firm to determine brand awareness in your market, but for most the cost puts this out of reach. The next best thing is to track how many people each of your campaigns had the potential to reach.
    Use data from the media to estimate, for each campaign:

    • The total number of people who could have seen it
    • Cost per person/per thousand people reached
  • Brand sentiment – Measuring what the general public think and feel about your brand is also a job for market researchers. If you can’t afford that, some other sources of insight include:
    • Google Alerts (https://www.google.com.au/alerts).
      By setting up alerts you can track the number of news articles and whether mentions are positive or negative.
    • Customer feedback.
      Customer surveys will offer insights into existing customers’ sentiments, but won’t track your brand’s reputation among your potential customers. If you have a small customer base and rely on word of mouth for new enquiries, track customer complaints. It’s likely that if they are complaining to you, they are complaining about you to others.
    • Social media.
      You can manually monitor social media channels for mentions about your brand, try a free search tool or take advantage of listening tools available within some social media management programs like Hootsuite.
  1. Direct marketing activity for each campaign

    • The response rate (the definition of a “response” will be different per campaign, it may be a newsletter subscription, an enquiry, or even interaction with a piece of content on your website or social media.)
    • Cost per response
  1. Overall engagement with your organisation

Here’s where you measure overall interaction with your organisation that’s not linked to any specific campaign. Comparing these measures over time against marketing activity can show up correlations between marketing activities and overall interaction with your organisation.

  • Website traffic – if you don’t already have a free Google Analytics account, sign up and link it to your website. If you’re not sure how here’s a free course:   https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6
  • Social media interactions – total interactions with your pages and content.
  • Inbound phone calls/email volumes
  • Outbound email list signups, opens and engagement

Next steps with numbers

There are many other figures you should be tracking at a campaign level, but do they need to be on your marketing dashboard?  If in doubt bring it back to your strategy. What do you need to measure in order to know if your strategy is working, or needs adjusting?

For support in measuring the success of your marketing activities, or designing a new marketing strategy, get in touch with our marketing consultants at marketingteam@cbb.com.au


Tom Rippon
Marketing Consultant
Email: trippon@cbb.com.au
Phone: 1300 763 505


The characteristics of social entrepreneurs

Over recent months we’ve spoken to a number of social entrepreneurs and innovators, and observed some in action. In last month’s blog we talked about what established organisations could characteristics of social entrepreneurslearn from innovators, this month we’re reflecting more on the personal, leadership characteristics of social entrepreneurs. These are some of the common themes we’ve observed. Continue reading…

Thinking for a change part one – playing with the rules

  • thinking for a changeChange is the only constant.
  • Innovate or die.
  • Fortune favours the bold.

No doubt you’ve heard all of these before. They’re noble sentiments, but ultimately a bit useless when you find yourself confronted with a very real, very turbulent, and very unpredictable 300ft giant tsunami of change.

Think about a time when you’ve been faced with change as scary as that. Perhaps you’re in this position right now. Are you feeling bold, or burnt-out? Inventive, or introverted? Ready for change, or desperately clinging to whatever constant you can find in the chaos? Continue reading…

What can established organisations learn from social entrepreneurs?

social entrepreneursIn recent months we’ve been engaging with a range of social entrepreneurs and sharing some of the learning from their experience in our Foreword articles. This month we will distil some of the themes that have come through from an organisational perspective, and consider how they can be deployed in established organisations. Next month we’ll look at some of the characteristics and behaviours of innovative leaders. Continue reading…

Talent Management Series – Part one

Do you have a lack of talent? It could be a reflection of the leadership culture

Often in my consulting work I am asked to help ‘fix’ the culture of a team, unit and in some instances, a whole organisation. So as I listen to leaders describing the unproductive behaviours, workforce issues and customer problems, I ask questions that help to uncover why these issues have arisen in the first place. Continue reading…

Top 5 marketing insights from NDIS rollout

Over the past 12 months we’ve provided support for marketing strategy and planning to over 25 organisations working through NDIS transition. We’ve viewed the disability marketplace from many different perspectives, and seen the various approaches organisations are taking to NDIS. Whilst the landscape is changing rapidly, there are some general principles that seem to be holding true, so here’s our top five insights to guide marketing strategy in the NDIS. Continue reading…

The Bread and Butter Project: turning inspiration into a viable social business

Turning a personal passion into a viable social business might start with an inspirational story but it certainly won’t end there.

Bread and Butter

For Paul Allam, founder of Sydney’s Bread and Butter Project and the Bourke Street Bakery, the inspiration came from a visit to the social business Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border and a project led by nuns to train and employ refugee women to bake bread to sell into the local community, which included a significant NGO presence. Continue reading…

Customer loyalty – it’s simple yet complex

Loyalty is hard to come by these days – even in the not for profit sector.  Our communities are becoming more sophisticated, informed and savvy about the services they chose to engage in.  For community based organisations the issue with developing customer loyalty is not attracting new customers – it’s more about how we retain them.

Our regular customers need to walk away from every type of interaction feeling better than the start.  Think about it this way – every time you meet someone’s expectation you have only partially engaged them for their next visit.  If something newer or different comes along they may tempted to ‘check them out’.  We need to continually exceed expectations so when other options come their way they think – ‘nah I love where I am now’ or the best case scenario is that they don’t even see your competitors – it’s not even on their radar to try something else.

Loyalty is about creating a sense of allegiance in your customers where they become your advocates rather than a transactional customer.  Here are five ways to promote a sense of allegiance in your customers. Continue reading…