Evolving Talent Experience – Making Top Talent Stick

Town Hall Insights
Australia CHRO Community

Jess Moore

Director of Strategy ANZ

SAP SuccessFactors


Michelle Williams

Chief People Officer

The Lottery Corporation


Rebekah Donaldson

Executive Manager, People

Qantas Airways Limited


Jodi Paton

Chief People Officer

The Hoyts Corporation


Sarah Elliott

Chief People Officer

John Holland


Maxim Tambling

Head of HR, Australia

Vanguard Australia


Peitta Dyball

Chief People Officer

Yarra Trams


Vesna Garnett

Chief People & Culture Officer

The Iconic


As the talent landscape continues to evolve, CHROs are adjusting their talent strategies to ensure the right employees are in the right roles to drive growth for the business. Having a holistic view of the employee lifecycle can help HR leaders develop and execute on these strategies - enhancing their ability to attract and retain top talent and manage talent risks. Still, it can be challenging for CHROs to identify the proper metrics to do this effectively.

Recently, CHROs in the Australia community came together for a Town Hall to discuss how to make talent stick. Jess Moore, Director of Strategy ANZ at SAP SuccessFactors, moderated the program with the following as discussion leaders:

  • Michelle Williams, Chief People Officer, The Lottery Corporation
  • Rebekah Donaldson, Executive Manager, People, Qantas Airways Limited
  • Jodi Paton, Chief People Officer, The Hoyts Corporation
  • Sarah Elliott, Chief People Officer, John Holland
  • Maxim Tambling, Head of HR, Australia, Vanguard Australia
  • Peitta Dyball, Chief People Officer, Yarra Trams
  • Vesna Garnett, Chief People & Culture Officer, The Iconic

During the gathering, HR executives shared the talent insights pertinent to their organizations, addressed the critical moments in the employee lifecycle that predict tenure and collaborated on how to create a sustainable approach to development that helps employees connect to the organisational purpose.

How to Indicate Turnover

Moore kicked off the program by sharing research from SAP SuccessFactors on misconceptions about turnover and what managers can realistically do to retain top talent. She introduced the organizational equilibrium theory, which states that employees have an ongoing internal “cost-benefit analysis” of whether they should stay with their employer or not, and moreover, she cited how the recent talent shortage has brought this even more to the forefront. The research indicated that the “race for talent” is one of the new HR meta-trends for 2022, and as the workforce has more opportunities, they are evaluating if the benefits of their current job outweigh the personal and financial costs, i.e., salary and growth limitations, burnout, unfulfilling work, etc.

Moore expressed that not all turnover is bad, but it’s important to be aware of the “warning signs.” According to the research, withdrawal behaviors and attitudes are the strongest indicators, and they can be assessed via employee engagement or pulse surveys. Job characteristics and attitudes can also be significant predictors of turnover, but fortunately they are easier for managers to improve upon.

One CHRO provided some context into the turnover indicators they are using within their organisation. They shared, “We have a lot of interest in moving from lag indicators to more predictive data and analytics to predict and prevent turnover.”

When it comes to retention, Moore shared four key areas that help with employee retention: organisational entry, training and development opportunities, compensation and rewards and engagement factors. Addressing all of these areas can seem overwhelming, but one CHRO shared how peers can get started. They mentioned, “You might want to do many things, but do what's relevant for your company today. Know your workforce and what drives them, and use that insight to help you.”

Key Takeaways from the Discussion

  • Build trusting employee-manager relationships, no matter the location. One theme from the discussion centered on a new HR meta-trend for 2022, “the rise of the people-centric manager.” CHROs discussed the challenges they face both identifying and fulfilling the needs of a disparate workforce - overseeing in-office, remote and hybrid environments. The CHROs agreed that they need to “get back to the basics” and invest in leaders’ capabilities so they have both the hard and soft skills to motivate the workforce, develop organisational culture and manage conflict resolution.  

  • Optimise the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). With such a dynamic talent landscape, it has been difficult for HR leaders to offer the right EVP, especially if flexibility is not an option. One HR leader noted the scope of this issue, and they stated, “There is fatigue and burnout from the industry, not just our organisation. How can we optimise our Employee Value Proposition to mitigate those?” To address this, another CHRO shared that peers should aim to identify any barriers to entry that exist, so they can solve for them to ensure a better employee experience. Additionally, CHROs shared how properly communicating their EVP is just as important as optimising offerings, and one HR leader stated, “Increase the focus on communications to celebrate what we do - simple, bespoke and removing clutter so it resonates with employees.” 

  • Create a sense of belonging - starting with onboarding. Throughout the Town Hall, CHROs stressed how onboarding is critical to building trust and belonging, and it starts on day one - regardless if the position is remote or in-person. Research from SAP SuccessFactory specified that if there is ineffective communication on the first day of an employee’s onboarding experience, there is overall lower job satisfaction at the one-month mark - and ultimately, a higher rate of turnover. One HR leader suggested that peers should think about onboarding as a journey, and that it can take upwards of three years. Another said, “Focus on maximising onboarding and creating belonging in the first 12 months as many see increased turnover during this period.”

  • Emphasize development and internal mobility. Offering lateral development opportunities, not just upskilling, is important for retention, and many CHROs are developing strategies to match strengths and interests with training and internal movement. From a growth perspective, one HR leader noted how this “encourages depth and breadth of experience” and that lateral movements can be used as an alternative to a promotion when salary increases are limited. Another CHRO shared how they are using open training to help departments struggling most during the talent shortage - specifically for tech and data needs. Employees feel valued when their company invests in them, and many CHROs conveyed the need for transparency about their development and internal mobility opportunities so employees feel this value and take advantage of them. When it comes to internal hiring, one HR leader shared that they are gathering insights on former employees who applied for internal roles and were unsuccessful, to better their processes. 

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